One of the unwanted things that Multiple Sclerosis (MS) has given me is the loss of my reasonably good memory. Well, OK maybe my memory was never that good, but I am definitely sure it is getting worse and worse. Or it could be caused by age, or maybe menopause. Who knows, really. All I know is that my memory is causing issues at home, and issues at home are never good things, not when they’re negative issues like this one.
After I was diagnosed I had my mental abilities tested by a person skilled in such things. His assessment was that I now had mild cognitive issues because of the MS. I was studying at the time, and while MS had stopped my for the moment in continuing with my studies, he certainly felt I would be able to continue with them, once I walking abilities had improved. (actually that may last bit may have been my interpretation of what he said …) The important thing was he definitely said I could continue to study.
I in fact went on to complete my studies, and attained the Certificate 4 in Community Services Work. Even though I haven’t gained regular paid employment in this industry, I have used the skills I gained from this study in the volunteer work I do with the writing group/s I am involved in, and in the paid workshop work I have done. I certainly hope to find more work in this line – I am skilled at helping others with various modes of Creative Writing, with a particular interest in the Therapeutic Benefits from this insightful way to write, thinking on ourselves as a topic on which to write.
And now back to my most recent memory problem, the one that started mt writing this piece …
My most recent memory related oops was neglecting to pay something that should have been paid several days ago. This failure to pay could well lead to another member of the family getting a fine, all because of me not paying a bill, which was in the appropriate place, and we had the appropriate money. I just forgot to check.
I apologised, and said I will pay the fine when it comes. I hope that is good enough in the eyes of the affected person, and that I will be forgiven. I have since taken action on another account that requires payment, for another family member, and I certainly hope my actions mean the account gets paid on time. One might think perhaps relying on me to pay bills for the family isn’t a great idea. But paying the bills is my job, and it’s something I can easily do, as long as I remember …
When one is limited somewhat by their disability, holding on to the things you can still do becomes more and more important. When you do things, and are thanked for them, appreciated for what you do, it adds to your self-esteem. Having MS could easily have completely destroyed my self-esteem, but I’m still doing things I did before my diagnosis back in 2010, and in fact doing more of the things I love doing the most.
Being able to be involved with my various community things is important to me, and I am so glad I have great people involved in the things I do, who can help by taking care of some of the tasks required. For many people with disabilities, they can end up discarded, and ignored where they used to be involved. This is something I am very much aware of, and I am fighting for myself, and looking for ways to help others in similar situations.
Multiple Sclerosis may not kill people who have it, but being left out of things because you have MS can make you feel you might as well not be there, if you are really badly off. Many with MS have diminished mobility, and have to rely on others. I am glad I am still able to walk almost as well as I could prior to having MS, on a good day. I can still drive my car too, and if I lost that ability, it would affect me badly.
I live in a small country township, with no public transport at all. My car is my lifeline to the things that bring me out into the community doing the things I love to do. I sincerely hope this situation remains as it is for a very long time, or my quality of life will take a fairly steep downhill track.
There are other things that bring me joy though, things that are close to my home. I love the trees and the birds that live in and around them, I love watching the clouds, I love our four dogs (most of the time), I love my husband and son who live here with me. Both of them help out with the things that have to happen around our home, cooking, cleaning, outside work and so on. If these two fine men were not here with me, I know I would suffer from their absence.
So even though I may have lost some of my cognitive abilities, I am still able to write, to talk, to plan things alone, and with others, and I am still, very much, an important member of my communities!
If you have similar stories about ill health and its affects on you, I would love to hear about how, or whether, you have coped with it. Please feel free to leave a comment – changing details if needed …