Give and take is bi-directional

The first 2020 blog!  Hello lovely people and again let me be the first to wish you a happy Easter! I was jotting bits down over Christmas and was filling up my brain (all 8 kBytes of it) with things to write about in this 1st 2020 blog. Then yesterday I was doing my usual browse of Facebook and came across an entry that at first reading sounded heartbreaking, but on reflection, I realised that the person posting was not on his own!!! The ‘poster’ – I’ll call him Steve from now on - was noting that since having MS plus other problems that can be associated with it, some of his friends now found themselves either ‘too busy’ or ‘otherwise indisposed’ and unable to come round to see him. They had said that HE could go round to see THEM if he wanted. There are three things going on here. Firstly, my friend cannot drive at all now and would have to ask his carer to stop doing everything to give him a lift, wait for him and then drive him back home. As if carers don’t have enough running around endlessly, cleaning the house and caring for sufferers in various ways anyway. This situation needs to be looked at from both sides of the argument. There is no doubt that everybody who has a job, a young family, plus the myriad of other calls on their time can be stuck in a life-rich but time-poor situation. This can be so difficult to manage and any downtime scraped out of the day is as valuable as platinum filled Haribos. On a par but on the opposite side to this is the fact that many people living with MS are sat in one place for many hours of the day. This is not through choice for many of us but because getting out of the house can be a fuss with everything we have to be aware of and plan for such as steps, gardens and steep slopes doors too narrow for wheelchairs etc. Add on to that fatigue management and wheelchair-friendly toilets and hopefully, you can see a few of the difficulties we have to overcome Obviously, these are not exhaustive lists for either situation but hopefully highlights difficulties from both sides of the argument. I suppose that it could be said that we are all stuck between a rock and a hard place. I could say but I would be wrong. That phrase should be left to describe flint and steel and not people with hearts, minds and thought and decision-making skills. OK, you fit and healthy but time-poor people, please try to be a little flexible and forgiving towards those with mobility problems. Often a ‘let’s nip to the shops’ comment can take a days energy out of someone with MS. I’ll include myself in that one. A five minute phone call from you to give a near housebound friend for a quick chat can be life-affirming and make someone’s day. If you live nearby, why not ask if they need something from the shops when you are going anyway and having a quick cuppa with them when you drop their chocolate, gin, brandy, case of Shiraz, cakes and more chocolate to their house. If you are stuck in the house with that horror called M S (Minor Setback) remember that your friends do not necessarily have the time to come round twice a week for coffee etc. Don’t Facebook them, phone them, be interested in them. There may even be something you can do for them during your awake periods when you are on your own. Try to remember that If you talk to them by phone or face to face that your MS isn’t high in their life priorities so, yes, if they ask, be honest and talk about it. If they don’t, ask them how their like, work family are. Sometimes because we have the time to sit and listen we could be giving something to them which is so undervalued nowadays – a listening ear. All of their other friends may be too busy to listen so you have something special and valuable you can give them; your time. Well, that’s it for today nothing more to say except EVERYBODY has difficulties in life. MS has invisible symptoms, a healthy working life also has invisible hard stuff nobody else can see. TTFN