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Bandaid Solutions

  • By mario lobo

    A friend who is caring for her elderly mother recently mentioned in passing that a particular thing she’d done to help her mother was “just a bandaid”. It was a temporary solution that won’t work for long and that doesn’t really address the underlying problem in a lasting way. It struck a familiar cord with me.
    My wife’s 30 year course of MS changed from remitting relapsing to progressive about 15 years ago. As I consider the last 15 years, my “toolbox” for dealing with her symptoms and issues, has been like a box of bandaids.
    The cane and then the walker were bandaids. Now she’s in a wheelchair.
    The stair lift was a bandaid. Now she can’t transfer onto and off of the stairlift chair, so we’ve got a wheelchair ramp.
    The device that I formerly used to help my wife transfer from the wheelchair into and out of the passenger seat of the car no longer works so that was a bandaid. We’re getting a wheelchair accessible vehicle – I’m still working on that.
    The “user friendly” clothing is just a bandaid, because she’s unable to negotiate her way into and out of them anymore.
    The occasional “visitors” to the house who help out when I’m at work were a bandaid, as she now needs daily helping visitors.
    The timer that shuts off the microwave after 3 minutes no matter how many minutes you set it for, and my daily shutting off the circuit breaker that powers the electric stove to reduce the chance that my cognitively compromised wife will burn down the house, are bandaids, until things get so bad that she can’t be at home any longer.
    The issues and the bandaid solutions seem endless!
    When you’re dealing with progressive MS, it never gets better, and to “successfully” navigate through it, all we have at our disposal are a bunch of bandaids, all of which, usually sooner rather than later, no longer do the trick.
    Over the years, I’ve heard a few analogies from people about what it’s like to have MS or to be the caregiver for a person with advanced MS. I’ll add needing a bottomless box of bandaids to the list.

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  • By Erin Rush Moderator

    Thank you so much for sharing this, Mario lobo! I think you described the caregiving experience in a heartbreakingly eloquent manner. It sounds like you are a pretty amazing caregiver and I hope you and your wife can still find some joy on this MS journey you are taking together. Thank you again for sharing. You have a way with words and I am so glad you posted! Best, Erin, MultipleSclerosis.net Team Member.

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  • By GeneK

    Boy did you Hit the nail on the head.Your analogy is spot on. I’m a caregiver for my wife who was diagnosed in 1974. She is in a wheelchair and on oxygen so I’ve used a lot of bandages over the years but the bandage I need now is coping with increasing cognitive problems (recent memory, sustained attention, verbal, problem solving). I’ll find them but this is another cruel aspect of the disease. I miss having good conversations with her.

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