How many times have you been in a situation where it turned out it could have been easier if you had just known or thought to ask (fill in the appropriate question here)? This happens to me quite frequently – I will struggle through a task, thanks to my Multiple Sclerosis slowing me down or hindering my movement – and I just push on. After I’m done I think to myself – why didn’t I just ask?
A recent example – I have a yet- undiagnosed problem with my foot and the podiatrist sent me for a CT scan at the local hospital. Confidently familiar with the facility, I parked at the far end of the building, but immediately once inside at the nearest information desk, I was told I would need to walk just down this corridor, to the right and then turn left by the elevator. About a half-mile later from the door, I arrived at the registration desk. Now mentally I could picture I had quite the walk, but trudged on, leaning on my cane to keep the brunt of my weight off my foot. How else was I going to get there? As I got on the table for the scan I mentioned the long walk to the technician and she immediately said I should have just asked for a wheelchair transport.
The return trip to the exit door and my car was much easier – I only had to wait a few minutes for the transport person to arrive and wheel me away. I thanked him profusely and I know my foot appreciated it as well. It was so simple, and all I had to do was ask for the help.
Traveling solo can present unique obstacles for anyone, but especially those of us with MS. Juggling a cane, a suitcase, a purse or bag, and my laptop can be a struggle. It took me a few trips to recognize I just have to ask to make it easier. Now I ask in advance of the airlines, the hotels and wherever else I might be going for assistance. That could be transport help in the airport, a special room in the hotel closer to the elevators to cut down on the distance I have to walk, or other accommodations.
Often I don’t even know for sure what I need to ask – but I’m getting better at thinking through the tasks at hand and speaking up. Sometimes I will even ask someone if they can think of anything else I should ask… perhaps from their experiences they know other ways to make my life a bit less complicated. If I’m going to a new place I always ask in advance for the best directions possible because there’s nothing more frustrating or exhausting than parking my car in the wrong lot and wandering around a building looking for the right office door but it took me several years to realize I just have to ask.
It was hard at first to ask for the additional assistance – it required setting aside my pride and sense of independence . In exchange for each time I just ask, I get that extra help that allows me to have more energy, better physical well-being, and strength. It’s been hard to learn, but I’m getting better at recognizing there are a lot of ways to make my activities more manageable, I just have to ask, and I wonder if you are at that point, too. What do you ask for that makes your life easier? I’m just asking ….
Wishing you well,