1st March 2003
Shelley Peterman Schwarz
Real Living with Multiple Sclerosis
Ready to Roll
When I first had trouble walking, I could barely make it from the parking lot to my parents' condominium. I was stubborn and refused to use a wheelchair. My father suggested that we use a kitchen chair on wheels to wheel me down the long hall. It solved the problem and gave me time to accept this new limitation. When I was "ready," we bought a wheelchair to use at my parents' and whenever I had to walk long distances.
I have limited strength in my hands and arms. I had trouble opening a refrigerator door because the seal was too tight, so my husband placed electrical tape across the bottom gasket of the refrigerator door. The door opens much easier now. The downside is that the tape keeps the door from sealing tightly and slightly reduces the efficiency of the appliance.
I found it's easier for me to spread peanut butter on a slice of frozen bread. The bread doesn't tear and it's also easier for me to grasp. The bread defrosts so quickly that by the time I get to the table, it's ready to eat.
Redecorating your home? Keep a piece of wallpaper, a swatch of floor covering, an arm cover from the chair or couch, and a color sample of the paint in a plastic bag. Take it with you when you shop for window coverings, wall hangings, linens, or decorative pillows.
Shopping for new clothes can be an exhausting experience. When I can't put off shopping any longer, I ask my girlfriend to go with me. She wears the same size I do. She tries on the clothes I like and if they fit her, I know they'll fit me.
Mesh biking gloves are helpful for people who propel their own wheelchairs. The gloves dry quickly and have padded palms that protect your hands. For added warmth in cold weather, wear a pair of regular gloves under the biking gloves.
Spice Up Your Garden
Use an empty salt shaker or spice bottle to hold seeds you want to plant in your garden. Simply dig a hole and give a little shake of the spice bottle.
No paper handy to write down things you need to remember? Try this: Create a word from the first letter of each item on your list. C-R-O-W, for example, might mean: Call for theater tickets, Return library books, Order birthday cake, Water plants.
Mom's Little Helper
When I was about 5 years old, I wanted to help my mom carry laundry baskets to the laundry room. But I was too small and the baskets were too heavy. One day, I decided to try pulling the baskets. I took a rope and put it through a few of the holes on the side of the basket. I tied a knot to make sure the rope didn't come loose, Then I put the rope over my shoulder and pulled the basket behind me. To make it more fun, I used belts to link three baskets together. My mom said it kept me busy and I was a big help.
When I travel, I often wear old clothes enroute, and then discard them when I arrive. This makes room to carry new things I buy along the way.
© 2003 Real Living with Multiple Sclerosis