Just Ask!

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,

Laura

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

View Comments (5)
  • north-star
    5 years ago

    Great insights! Help is almost always there, it turns out. My family badgered me into using wheelchair transport at the airport, for example. Much, much, much better vacation when I’m not exhausted for three days.

    From my wheelchair transport I’ve met the most interesting people. They’re often immigrants to the US. I tip as generously as I can.

    When I’m on my own, sometimes help happens. I now think of myself as someone’s good deed for the day and I have a moment of grateful joy, thanking them, even if the good deed doer pulled open the door I was pushing on, causing me to lurch forward. Sadly, not every good deed goes unpunished, I have yelped a couple of times, making me look ungrateful. Oh well …

  • Laura Kolaczkowski author
    5 years ago

    north-star , I love the idea of letting others gather joy from helping us! I’ve heard variations of that before, but always forget that we are being selfish by denying others the chance to help. 🙂

    As for the airports – I agree completely. I have met world citizens, mainly from Africa and Eastern Europe, in many airports. Those tips make a big difference for their income and I try, too, to be generous. I will never forget the petite woman from Somalia (but had lived in the US over 10 years), probably older than me, who maneuvered me through the Denver airport at breakneck speed so she could get me to a place to buy a coffee before my morning flight. We had a delightful conversation. thanks for affirming my experiences.

  • Laura Kolaczkowski author
    5 years ago

    I love the idea of letting others gather joy from helping us! I’ve heard variations of that before, but always forget that we are being selfish by denying others the chance to help. 🙂

    As for the airports – I agree completely. I have met world citizens, mainly from Africa and Eastern Europe, in many airports. Those tips make a big difference for their income and I try, too, to be generous. I will never forget the petite woman from Somalia (but had lived in the US over 10 years), probably older than me, who maneuvered me through the Denver airport at breakneck speed so she could get me to a place to buy a coffee before my morning flight. We had a delightful conversation. thanks for affirming my experiences.

  • Kim Dolce moderator
    5 years ago

    I can so relate to this, Laura. Asking for help is still the hardest thing, and I’m getting better at it, too. When I do, I’m always glad I did. Pride and independence, yes and yes. But I’m getting wearier as time goes on, and gosh, help is more and more of a necessity. One of these days, I hope the asking becomes second nature.

  • Laura Kolaczkowski author
    5 years ago

    Read north stars thoughts, Kim. The idea that we are letting others experience the joy they get from being helpful might ease the need to hold on to the independence.

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