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When MS Means Mighty Stubborn /
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When MS Means Mighty Stubborn
By Cheryl Ellis, Staff Writer
“I’m glad my MS isn’t too bad. My
life is too busy to have it interfere!”
These words could be uttered by many individuals with
MS, regardless of how severe the affliction has become
in their lives. Caregivers may shrink in horror whenever
they are said, dreading the inevitable outcome of an
event preceded by this statement.
Husbands may growl and curse, mowing lawns and doing
other chores around the home, refusing to admit that
they may be putting themselves in harm’s way. Stubborn
to the last, arguing with family, the unsinkable MS
patient may end up in an emergency room when MS double
vision meets hammer and nail.
The same is true for the female side of the equation.
Rather than delegate chores to family caregivers, she
will forge onward, through laundry, floor cleaning, and
other activities, only to find herself withered before
When caregivers attempt to slow down the “busy” MS
patient, the most important resource they have is their
bond with the loved one. By communicating how important
their relationship is, the caregiver may be able to get
the MS patient to be the one to call a halt to “over the
Diplomacy only goes so far in dealing with anyone
experiencing a change in their life and body’s habits.
Tactful reminders about health, promises made, or
doctor’s orders can only rasp on the nerves of both
parties after a time. Sometimes, being direct about the
relationship and what it needs to maintain continuity
becomes the order of the day.
“Human beings are not things needing to be motivated and
controlled; they are four dimensional — body, mind,
heart, and spirit.” This statement comes from Dr.
Stephen R. Covey’s “Eighth Habit,” a follow up to his
“Seven Habits of Highly Effective People.”
The bitter experiences caregiving can offer sometimes
fall into the “motivate or control” category. Doctors,
family, even friends and strangers expect the caregiver
to “deliver” on a number of levels. Not only is the
patient supposed to be cared for and about, it’s
sometimes an occasional expectation that the patient not
present a problem. The neat and tidy world the caregiver
is expected to maintain is a mighty illusion crafted by
humanity’s fear of illness.