As a nurse and an avid reader I am well aware of the downhill trajectory of multiple sclerosis. But it’s an entirely different ballgame when it happens to you.
This particular Saturday had been dubbed as a day for my best friend, her 2 -year-old daughter and me in my new pimped out wheelchair. Well, my friend came to get me around 3ish. She made sure I would be able to propel myself. She literally asked me.(Mistake #1)
I assured her it would be fine. Mistake #2 (I had my fingers crossed.)
First of all any day out with old friends is a big break from my everyday reality of physical therapy and doctor visits. I really wanted to see both of them, but leaving that late in the afternoon in this Louisiana heat would physically wear me out. I knew this. But I carefully neglected to tell my friend for fear of the date being cancelled. I couldn’t pass up an opportunity to shop at the Tanger Outlets with my goddaughter.
So what happened? Picture this. By 6pm my friend was trying to manage me in my chair and the baby in her stroller at the same time! My left arm just checked out. It was if I don’t lift 10lb dumbbells daily.
The wheelchair would roll left. The stroller would go right. We tried letting the baby walk and push her stroller with my help. But that was almost laughable as well. People were just walking by as if this scene was normal. We felt like this was something out of that ABC TV show “What Would You Do?”. I’m not quite sure what I expected them to offer, but we just needed help. It was pure comedy to see us struggling with the shopping bags, the stroller, and the wheelchair as on-lookers walked casually by us.
I knew this could happen. I just looked away and hoped for the best. Really kind of selfish if you think about it. (Mistake #3)
We were past desperate. My friend asked a complete stranger for help with pushing me into a nearby store. I was mortified, the stranger was mortified, but in the end, we needed help and he provided it.
We were troopers!! We both have a great sense of humor and we have been through so much over our 20+ years of friendship that in the end we could laugh about it and make plans to be better equipped for our next outing.
I’m glad I’m right handed!
After a good night’s rest I’m confident it’ll get better.
Next time I’ll start the day earlier, I’ll be honest about my capabilities, and I’ll consider everyone involved.
But if that doesn’t work I’ll give ABC a call.