In my unprofessional experience with multiple sclerosis, I thought that I was doing fairly well. I’m still mobile, and I’m still quite coherent in my speaking abilities. I still drive myself around to my two volunteer roles; one in Santa Clara at the Senior’s Center, the other in downtown San Jose at the Second Harvest Food bank. Getting from A to B is sometimes challenging, but with the help of my trusty GPS I manage.
Today I was told that because I use a cane on a fairly regular basis to get around, I’m not as able as I had assumed, due to my reliance on friendly wooden balance aid.
I did manage to complete my 600 meters walk WITHOUT my cane, mostly because I was so angry. This is the only exertive part of the EDSS, thank goodness. By the time I arrived back at the exam room, my recently bruised knee was throbbing.
To say that I was taken aback would be an understatement! I have never, ever, been told NOT to rely on these assistive devices when needed. Knowing how much someone with MS relies on these tools, WHY would these knowledgeable professionals discourage their use by people that really NEED them?
When I queried this curious conclusion, he shrugged, and said merely that it was ‘noteworthy’. Hardly a satisfactory response! I didn’t know whether to feel shame, embarrassment or irritation, but settled on the latter. It certainly felt the most credible to me!