Searching For A Fulfilling Purpose
“When you're surrounded by people who share a passionate commitment around a common purpose, anything is possible.” ~ Howard Schultz
One of my life goals is to stay active. So instead of just sitting at home doing nothing, I try to participate in fun pastimes like going to the movies and concerts. I even count something as simple as getting the mail as being active because I look forward to doing it everyday.
But not all my activities are all fun and games. That just isn’t fulfilling enough. I need a purpose. So I also try to stay involved in my community. And since multiple sclerosis has made such a large impact on my life, I’ve decided to focus on helping the population of people who are affected by MS.
Seven years ago I started volunteering a lot of my time to my local Multiple Sclerosis Society. And I have been a member of the Louisiana MS Society Government Relations Committee for five years. I'm not some big political guru but I found getting involved in government relations keeps me busy and sometimes my efforts can be beneficial to others. But it also satisfies my search for a purpose. Recently I went to the Louisiana State Capital with the MS Society for my state action day. I was there speaking to the state senators and representatives about a bill that dealt with ADA home modifications. This topic is very important to me because it’s a big part of living independently. I started having problems utilizing my bathroom. I knew some changes had to be made. Consequently I did some research. I found that ADA modifications were very expensive. So I held off on getting an upgrade.
One day I was using my bath/shower. I was washing myself when I lost my balance. My instinct was to grab something. So I held onto the shower curtain. But it didn’t hold me up. I tipped side ways out of the tub and ended up face down on the tile floor. I also pulled down the shower curtain, the rod and a picture off the wall.
I screamed and my husband rushed into the bathroom. I had cuts on the inside and outside of my bottom lip. Blood was flowing and quickly filled my mouth. I felt a little lightheaded but the feeling was fleeting. My husband grabbed a towel and removed some of the blood from my face. As he sat me up on the floor, I ran my tongue around in my mouth. I could feel something was out of place. I glanced around the bathroom and saw what looked like a tooth next to the sink. Before I could panic, my husband instructed me to smile. My grin revealed I had chipped my front tooth.
I went to the emergency room and everything checked out okay. The next day we called around town to get estimates on a bathroom upgrade. The prices came in between $7,000 to $10,000. We didn’t want to take any more chances so three weeks later we hired a company to do the work.
It could have been worse
I was lucky my fall just led to a broken tooth. Things could've been so much worse. But it did affect my psyche. While waiting for the work to begin, I was so scared to shower. My husband had to stay in the bathroom with me when I took a bath. I lost all privacy and independence. But thank goodness we now have an ADA modified restroom in our house. Complete with grab bars and a place for me to sit while showering. And I regained my independence.
We ended up paying $9,000 for the modification. That’s a huge expense for my family. And even though it was a couple of years ago, we are still paying for that upgrade.
I was so excited to learn the proposed bill would allow Louisiana residents to recoup some of the costs of ADA home modifications by receiving financial relief in the form of tax credits.
And guess what?
The bill passed!
My story was used to convince legislators how important this initiative was to their constituents. I feel so good about participating and making a difference. I’m so happy I have found my purpose.
What are your fulfilling activities, despite having to deal with MS?
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