Get Stirring — You Never Know What Kind of Soup You’ll Make

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by John Connor |

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In my cooking days, I always had a stock simmering away. Nothing was wasted.

What had been frugality spurred on by self-imposed poverty — first as a student, then in the struggling life of a garret writer — later became the general political point of not wasting resources. It hurts my wife, Jane, just as much to have to throw food away. Now that I no longer cook, Jane always has a stock going. Not at my prompting (like I’d dare), she just feels the same, perhaps even more so. Except the soups she turns out are excellent, whereas mine always had the brown pallor of prison chow — or in my actual experience, hospital offerings.

Last month, I mused about this in my column “A Winning Belt Turns Into WrestleMania.” I started that off with a consommé analogy. Heck, chefs write loads of cookbooks. Why shouldn’t I use another soup recipe?

Until you start stirring up the MS pot, things change slowly. Resources are wasted — in this case, the energy both my carers and I exert.

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The belt (a strap for my Molift assistive device that allows a carer to lift me for standing transfer) has worked out beyond expectations. It wasn’t a tool that was offered to me, as I learned about it online, and no one seems to have heard of it. Hurrah and all that, but this is not a self-congratulatory slap on the back — something I can still manage with my left arm. Good for me, too, as it’s exercise.

I haven’t had an occupational therapist (OT) come ’round in a couple years, but the one who assessed the belt and trained my carers in its use has made an amazing difference. Her presence has had two further ancillary benefits.

Firstly, and extremely simply, she demonstrated a way for my carers to help me fully sit back in my wheelchair while transferring me from the shower chair via the Molift. In the past, I’d shuffle back while my carers held my arm and foot to keep them from flying off in different directions. If I was heavily fatigued, this would be agonizingly slow.

Now one of them only has to hold my right knee and push the top of my right calf and I’m in place in seconds. This saves them oodles of time, and they don’t have to hear my daily plethora of frustrated profanities.

This new strategy also has the added benefit of ensuring I’m placed in my wheelchair at the proper angle. I no longer loll over on my weaker right side, even when someone forgets to insert the rolled up towel that helps to prevent this.

Secondly, the OT changed the make of my shower chair. I’ve been using it for so long I’d only be guessing at the number of years. Structurally, it wasn’t very strong and had to be replaced innumerable times. The new one is sound and manages to glide over the bumps between doors. No more grunting from anyone trying to get me to or from the wet room.

resource utilization | Multiple Sclerosis News Today | A photo shows John's old and new shower chairs side by side.

Flimsy blue shower chair out, rugged gray one in. (Photo by John Connor)

The new chair also has proper footrests so my legs can’t just fly off on their own. When this once happened to my right leg, I was stranded in the wet room — the epitome of a beached whale.

I can’t kick with my legs anymore, but I can still figuratively kick up a fuss.

If you’ve ever watched the Russian historical comedy “The Great,” this warrants a definite “HUZZAH!”

Note: Multiple Sclerosis News Today is strictly a news and information website about the disease. It does not provide medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. This content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this website. The opinions expressed in this column are not those of Multiple Sclerosis News Today or its parent company, BioNews, and are intended to spark discussion about issues pertaining to multiple sclerosis.


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