Tuesday, January 31, 2006

Caregiving: meandering through time

     Photographs are keys. Old doors creak open on a freeze frame moment in time. Multiple Sclerosis symptoms of visual impairment have prevented Patti from use of these keys for too long. 

     Part of my home-made cognitive rehabilitation therapy has been to scan photographs into our PC then burn to DVD so she can view on a large screen TV. 

     Prospecting through piles of old pictures sometimes you strike gold.  

     Finding these two pictures “opened” doors to memories of our last evening playing together as a family BEFORE “living with MS”, Thanksgiving Evening 1989. As photographed our then 18 month old daughter and the frozen Butterball turkey took turns going down the sliding board in our front room. 

     Patti went to bed with NO MS symptoms. (She had a DX of “probable MS” from a brief episode of finger numbness and slurred speech from years earlier, bordering on forgotten.)

     Patti awoke unable to see, walk, or even talk.

     Patti would spend the next week in the hospital recovering from her first major MS exacerbation and I was thrust into my journey as a spouse/caregiver and basically a single parent.

      What's also interesting about these pictures is the ‘appearance’ of that dish towel. Rather than the soft and cuddly "blankies" of other kids, that green and white dish towel evolved into our daughter's security blanket. Makes me wonder, now, if her offbeat choice didn’t somehow “reach back” to before Multiple Sclerosis?

     Fast forwarding to this past Saturday I was visiting a college campus with Megan. It was impossible not to spend a reflective moment thinking what a long, strange trip it has been "living with MS" in our family.

    Photographs are locked in time. Memories meander through time.

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