Is MS Forcing Me To Live With Someone?
For much of my adult life, I have lived alone. While I am someone who craves social interaction, I very much need “me” time as well. I’ve also prided myself on my independence. However, in recent years, I have lived with a roommate, though I’ve never considered the decision to do so as caused by my MS. Despite that, my roommate is a person who I’ve described as a type of caregiver, even if it’s not in the traditional sense. Even living with this person and with her being extremely helpful to me, I still have always thought, “I don’t really need a roommate or a caregiver”. Well, my roommate just took a week-long vacation out of town, and now I’m questioning that sentiment. I’m now worried that maybe, even at just 40 years old, I might need someone around.
Simple tasks really added up
Honestly, most of the time I was alone, I was OK. I lucked out because the heat and humidity dropped significantly while she was away. Even so, by the end of the week, I was in rough shape. Simple tasks likes walking and feeding my dog, preparing food, cleaning up, etc, really added up. I ended up in bed early each night, and often laid there in pain. Even just feeling like I had to be more vigilant, because I was the only person home, added some stress that affected me over the week. My fatigue was through the roof towards the end of the week. Still, I may not have thrived, but I survived, and I was proud of that.
Until the temperature left me couch-ridden
Until the heat and humidity came back on the final day, which left me couch-ridden with extreme weakness and pain in my legs. My fatigue was such that even trying to go to the bathroom became a dangerous adventure which on at least one occasion ended in a nasty fall. Sure, some of these effects were cumulative from the week, but wow, I can never truly explain just how big of an effect temperature changes have on me and many others with MS. I was lucky that my brother was able to visit and help me with the dog and a few other things; otherwise, I would have survived, but not nearly as well as I had. I probably wouldn’t have eaten, my dog wouldn’t have gotten out, and I might have forgotten to take my medication.
A hit to my pride
The whole experience really made me start to think. “How can this be? How can I be just 40 years old and be so dependent on others? What happened to me?” I, of course, know that it’s because I’ve lived nearly two decades with this disease. All the damage done during the exacerbations over that time has added up. Still, I can’t help but be puzzled by it sometimes. Back when I was diagnosed, I don’t believe I ever thought I would get to this point, at least not at this age. I’ll be honest, thinking that I can’t possibly live alone while still being somewhat young is kind of crushing. I mean, talk about a hit to my pride.
It's okay to need help
Even if it’s an unpleasant thought, I still tell myself that I did do OK by myself for nearly a week. Who knows, if I lived in a cooler or less humid environment, maybe I wouldn’t have had any problems. I also have to remember that, hey, I like people being around anyway. Mostly though, I have to remember to not let my pride crush me. It’s OK to need and accept help, that doesn’t make me a lesser person, that’s just one way of fighting this disease. We beat this disease, not by being stubborn, but by adapting and figuring out new ways to live. For me, one of those ways may just involve having someone around, and that’s OK, because I’ll accept that and continue to live my life.
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