“Living with MS” as a family has always been challenging but the future of “family” is enigmatic with Patti’s increasing progression in 24/7 care and Megan now living away at college. In another year who knows? ... Why not try a FAMILY 'road trip'?
Why Philadelphia? ... One reason is that among all the many celebrations of Christmas is that “we the people” seem to forget that our freedom pivots on Christmas and the Delaware River. On Christmas Day 1776 American rebels crossed the Delaware River just north of Philadelphia in freezing snow blind weather and reversed the tide of our Revolutionary War. … How different was your Christmas Day in freedom 230 years later?
Traveling with Patti is about traveling with Multiple Sclerosis. More specifically MS with a level of disability creeping ever closer to 8.5 (MS is measured on a scale of 1 to 10).
At her care facility she is assisted in activities of daily living by two attendants and a variety of cool mechanical lifts. “On the road” it’s just me and ever changing unknown environments.
Frankly the most intimidating to travel are MS symptoms of total bowel and bladder incontinence Once a person crosses a certain threshold of cognitive challenges catheters are no longer an option. Patti once ripped out a Foley catheter with no memory of how or why. And while obviously a guardian angel kept her from rupturing herself, it did end the catheter era.
Incontinence caregiving demands physical strength and creativity. It also centers your day around both the periodic and spontaneous need to change Depends, change clothing, and often shower. You need to find a way and the time to do laundry on the road. Keeping in mind that Patti can never be left unattended, it may seem overwhelming.
If you want a family activity you accept family for all that it is. As a caregiver you do not simply “fit a square peg into a round hole”, or “think outside the box” … you have to constantly reinvent the damn box. <grin>