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A woman in an electric wheelchair racing up an incline with a cape flowing behind her.

I Have Progressive MS, but I Still Can Save the Day

It is understandable to assume that my husband Dan often is seen as the caregiver in our relationship. After all, I’m the one using the wheelchair, and he’s the one walking, working and driving despite his Multiple Sclerosis.

My importance as his caregiver

Plus, it has become fairly common for him to help me finish the last few bites of my meals because I’m too weak to lift the food to my mouth. OK, for the most part, this assumption about Dan being the caregiver is correct, but every once in a while I demonstrate my importance as his caregiver.

Leave it to our recent flight to San Francisco from Detroit’s Metropolitan Airport to prove that point and inspire me, in true Mighty Mouse fashion, to belt out, “Here I Come To Save The Day!”

We were all prepared, except…

Our nearly six-hour flight to San Fran was scheduled to board at 12:15 p.m., and we were all prepared. Well, except for Dan’s Dramamine.

He doesn’t get airsick because he is proactive. Dan normally takes this medicine before we fly and then, no trouble. I carry a bottle of these pills in my purse, but of course, before our first trip to the West Coast, there were none to be found. And Dan’s reaction to the empty container? “Oh, I’ll be fine.“

Oh really? Sure, it was a little before noon and the airport was busy with Spring Break travelers, but it was an almost six-hour flight! Not exactly the ideal flight to test the strength of Dan’s stomach.

I wasn’t going to let a packed airport stop me

I understood his thinking that he could tough it out because he didn’t want to deal with the Dramamine shopping hassle or frustration. But I knew he needed it. This trip was going to be epic! I wasn’t going to let a packed airport stop me.

“Give me some money,” I somewhat forcefully barked. Dan didn’t hesitate and put a $10 bill in my left hand. I jacked up the speed my power wheelchair and I was off.

Ten dollar bill whipping like a flag in the wind, I quickly drove through the crowded airport concourse dodging daydreaming tourists and their small suitcases.

Queue the Mighty Mouse music here.

Zooming through the airport

The first store was simply newspapers and magazines, no soothing sundries. Don’t stop, just keep moving. I zoomed past another Spring-Break-traveler-filled boarding gate and quickly glanced at a concourse clock. Better hurry! But just then, there in the distance, was a gift shop that looked promising.

I zipped over to it and was surprisingly winded, but I was able to wave my $10 bill and breathlessly exclaim, “Dramamine?”

The helpful and friendly clerk understood my request and handed me the valuable package. She placed it and the change in my left hand, and I was on my way.

I did save the day

I hurriedly and victoriously drove back to our departure gate. Proving that yes, I did save the day.

This shopping adventure was intended to help Dan, which it did, but it also helped me. While I may not be able to do as much as I used to, it reminded me that I still am an important part of our team. And no MS can take that away from me!!

This article represents the opinions, thoughts, and experiences of the author; none of this content has been paid for by any advertiser. The MultipleSclerosis.net team does not recommend or endorse any products or treatments discussed herein. Learn more about how we maintain editorial integrity here.

Comments

  • DiPW1
    6 days ago

    You’re a champion, Jennifer!

  • Tbellagirl
    7 days ago

    Such a great mindset and a good reminder . Sometimes it’s hard to remember that we are a valuable part of a team!

  • Nomdeplume
    1 week ago

    @Dan and Jennifer Digmann

    Jennifer,
    I loved your story! So much fun! Your writing style is very entertaining, even when covering poignant topics. I was so happy to read about your triumph!!

    There is great power in a wheelchair, isn’t there?! I remember fondly a remark that a coworker made when she saw me exit an elevator while using my walker. She said, “You could part the Red Sea with that thing!” She was right!! Everyone jumps out of the way when they see it, and that makes a clear path for me to travel. I love it, while I demurely say, “I’m sorry, thank you, excuse me.” It might not be as effective in a crowded airport, though, as there are those travelers, whom you mentioned, who are wandering haplessly, and might walk directly INTO your chair.

    At any rate, congratulations on your victory! I’ve no doubt that you did save the day!!

    I also don’t doubt that, despite your husband’s greater physical ability, you are mutual caregivers in every sense of the word. While I cannot imagine being a couple, where both of you have MS, I am certainly glad that you have each other! You seem like a great team, even without the Dramamine!

  • mickims
    1 week ago

    You make us all so proud.

  • teddy s.
    2 weeks ago

    I really enjoyed reading this story. I’ve been away from this site for a while, but I like returning every so often to see what’s going on. The image of a wheelchair warrior zipping around a crowded airport brought to mind a similar incident with my fiancee Tracey, then a 12 year survivor of SPMS who was quite the terror on the streets of Manhattan in her power chair.

    We were at her apartment on the Upper West Side and needed to get to my house in New Jersey for a party that afternoon. We needed to take a bus to Midtown so we could catch a train from Penn Station. I thought we had given ourselves plenty of time, but the traffic was very heavy, and by the time we got off the bus we had only about 15 minutes to catch the train, and several blocks to get to the station.

    Tracey was a big Dallas Cowboys fan, so as we started started our “run” to the station, I told her that I was Emmitt Smith, and she was Moose Johnson, and she needed to run interference for me. So I grabbed the back of her chair and we plowed along the sidewalk in front of Macy’s while she layed on her horn. She was a pretty good driver, so no one got hit, and we made our train.

    I lost Tracey a little over two years ago, and anything that brings back a memory that makes me smile is greatly appreciated.

    Thank you

  • Dan and Jennifer Digmann moderator author
    2 weeks ago

    Thanks for checking in and sharing your story with us, @teddys. It had to be such a rush (no pun intended, Emmitt!) barreling through pedestrian traffic in NYC together. Sounds like you had an incredible relationship with Tracey. So humbled to hear this story made you smile and remember such great times with her. Please stay in touch and continue sharing your experiences. These make us smile as well 🙂 -Jennifer and Dan, @multiplesclerosis-net moderators

  • Shelby Comito moderator
    2 weeks ago

    Thank you so much for sharing this sweet memory, @teddys. I can so vividly picture the two of you laughing and racing down the streets of NYC and it warms my heart, especially being a Cowboys fan myself. You must miss Tracey so much, and I appreciate you sharing a bit of her story with us here. We’re thinking of you and so glad you checked in today. – Shelby, MultipleSclerosis.net Team Member

  • Kim Dolce moderator
    2 weeks ago

    Great story, Jennifer! You did indeed save the day. Love the reference to Mighty Mouse, he’s my go-to hero/role model, too. I so enjoy you guys and look forward to every article. –Kim

  • Dan and Jennifer Digmann moderator author
    2 weeks ago

    You just made our day, Kim! We have such respect for you and your writing that it’s nice to hear our words connected with you as well 🙂 May we continue to save the days in great Mighty Mouse fashion! -Jennifer and Dan

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