As multiple sclerosis progresses, so does your assistive needs. The first thing I got was the handicap parking permit. I’ve had this for many, many years. I got this early in my disease when I use to work in NYC and had to take a train. The parking at the station was insane and even back then walking that long distance in a rush to catch a train was very difficult. I was never able to run or skip again after my first attack. So I got a handicap pass. Over the years I’ve tried to never abuse my privilege, if there was a close non-handicap spot I always left the spot open for someone else.
The next thing that came was the cane. The cane was used very limited for me. I never walked correctly with it which was the first problem. Mind you I worked in a nursing home, friends with the entire therapy department who worked with me many times on the cane. The other issue with the cane was it really didn’t help for my balance. If I lost footing, the cane wasn’t stopping a fall.
The first and my main motorized wheelchair came next. This came because my dogs, I couldn’t walk them anymore between my balance and gait issues. I was having too many falls and I didn’t want to put all the burden on my daughter. I was lucky at the time insurance covered most of the cost. The wheelchair is great but it’s not portable without a lot of help and space in a car. So it became pointless unless I was home. Then of course the travel wheelchair had to come. This became vital for anywhere I went that had any walking. It gave me freedom. I remember going to the mail with my daughter for the first time in maybe 8 years where I could go around with here throughout the mall. In my last year of work it was crucial to me getting around the building. However therapy from work also gave me my first rollator to get around with some aid when it was close enough but didn’t really need to use the wheelchair. Now I have 2 rollators, travel wheelchair and main wheelchair.
The last thing was the stair lift. With two sets of stairs, my mother and stepfather paid for the first one up the larger set and next week they are installing the second one. That one I got through grants from the National Multiple Sclerosis Society and the Multiple Sclerosis Foundation http://Www.nationalmssociety.org. http://Www.msfocus.org. They also gave grants towards my travel wheelchair.
It takes a lot to stay independent on the outside probably more then you’d realize. This doesn’t even touch upon the mental aspect of having to realize you need these things now. The financial, physical and emotional part of multiple sclerosis is exhausting. It isn’t just one part of the disease that is tough. Sometimes it’s very difficult to smile, but you do. Everyday you smile to the new day that awaits you because you can.