Disabled and can’t walk unaided, welcome to my world
The pernicious creature multiple sclerosis affects me more and more as time goes by. I do have two legs but one of them is virtually useless. My brain cannot send messages to all the muscles in my left leg. Also, my left leg does not tell my brain everything that it has done. Messages cannot pass up and down the nerves, this is not good news. Disabled, I can’t walk unaided but there is more to this story than the official statistic.
Disability benefits and bilateral support
I receive enhanced rate mobility allowance; I’m unable to walk more than 20 metres safely, securely, frequently and in a timely way. I also receive standard rate daily living allowance; there are important jobs in the house that someone else must do for me. My MS consultant says that I must use bilateral support when I walk. Take those three sentences and try to appreciate the implications. I must hold onto something with both hands when I walk otherwise I will fall over. My world is restricted to a slow shuffle and shuffling demands full concentration.
Muscle weakness and stiffness as well as problems with balance. cause my mobility problems
How do you see me
Too many people struggle to really appreciate how this disease affects every moment of my life. If you want to understand the full impact of this disability caused by multiple sclerosis I suggest you come and live in our house for a week or two. Whilst I am fiercely independent and have created a new life for myself this disability hugely restricts what I can achieve.
The untrained eye will not see the problems or fully understand the impact of MS upon my life. No sense of balance and this affects almost everything I do. Getting dressed, going downstairs, even turning a corner arr the tip of the iceberg. Is this a hidden disability?
I cannot put a coat on without leaning against a wall. The same goes when I look down to do up a zip. Walking any faster that uber slow is impossible, I have tried but my legs won’t play ball.
Disabled can’t walk unaided
I cannot reliably stand up from a chair, pick up a cup of coffee and carry it across a room. I cannot put my clothes on standing up, balance is the culprit. The glorious sensation of standing under a shower is history. I yearn to stand up and dry myself with a towel pulling it to and fro across my back. Walking demands full concentration.
Yup, I am physically disabled in so many other ways as well. I also have a few cognitive problems but right now I will not go into the details. Multiple sclerosis has changed my life in many ways. My big redeeming feature is that I am an optimist. I am lucky because I have found fresh challenges and new opportunities. So I am disabled, I can’t walk unaided but that is not the end of life.
Put me on The Trike and I still enjoy a ‘red light dash’. Mainstream life is exhausting and I am foolish to pretend otherwise but I will always try to keep up.