“Move Forward–not Backward or Not at All!”
One of the National MS Society’s famous phrases is “MS stops people from moving”. Not me! MS may have stopped my legs from moving but it didn’t stop me from moving. And it shouldn’t stop you either.
I never hesitated to use any assistive device and actually sought them out on my own. This is what I say:
Goodbye fatigue and mobility problems. Hello freedom and happiness!
Recently I mentioned to a person with MS that I was getting ready to go do some leisurely shopping at the Mall. She said, “I am so envious that you can go shopping in this heat.” I told her it was time to think about using a scooter. Buy one, rent one, or borrow one.
Through the years, assistive devices have allowed me to be less fatigued, elevating my moods and enabling me to do more. I didn’t overheat as fast since I struggled less in trying to walk. Since I was walking better using the devises, I experienced less muscle and bone stress on my body parts.
Twenty-five years ago when my son was only four years old, I got my first scooter (insurance covered 80% of it). I was still able to walk, but only for short distances. Wanting to keep active, live life and enjoy my son, the scooter enabled me to go to zoos, amusement parks, Disneyworld, shopping malls, etc.
Goodbye danger. Hello safety.
Weakness, poor balance, fatigue, incoordination, foot drop, spasticity…. These symptoms increase your probability of falling and suffering an injury—risking a flare-up and residual damage. Not to mention the pain and inconvenience while you heal if you fall.
Goodbye pride. Hello common sense.
Most people at some in their lives have to use corrective lenses for their vision problems. They don’t think twice about getting them. Eyeglasses are so fashionable these days, and people love the styles and colors available. Others prefer contact lenses instead of glasses for personal reasons; plus, it gives them the ability to have several pair of designer sunglasses to wear.
So what’s the difference if you need to use a device for mobility? In the days when I started using a cane, I had four of them in different colors and styles to match my outfits.
In addition, in today’s world, the stigma of using wheelchairs is going away. The attitude and awareness about using medical devices has changed since the eighties when I first had to use them. People of all ages are often seen in movies and advertising brochures using a wheelchair. You see more people out and about using them. Grocery and retail stores like Target or WalMart have scooters available now for their customers to use. Many places like amusement parks rent wheelchairs and scooters.
Besides, who cares what people think? I do what is best for me. Sometimes I just look at the way people dress, look, and act today….and I should worry about how they look at me?!
And added bonus? People—family and strangers alike—treated me differently when I started using a mobility devise. I looked disabled and received many more offers for help!
A word of caution, however. When you find how relieving it is to use a scooter or wheelchair, never stop your exercise regime. The old saying that “if you don’t use it, you will lose it” has truth to it. I’m a full-time power chair/scooter user, but I still do my daily stretching, balance and strengthening exercises. I use a pool regularly to practice standing and walking—things that I can’t do on land.
So technically, the Society’s phrase is correct in the sense that MS does stop people from moving in the physical sense. But MS shouldn’t stop people from moving forward in life. If you look hard enough, there is a solution to almost everything.
P.S. See my video “Mobility Scooters: Tips on How to Buy” http://youtu.be/TfLtgb2ybb8