Wednesday, July 12, 2006

Caregiving: the "dog days"

     Ah! The “dog days” of summer have settled in and that is never good for trying to live with Multiple Sclerosis in our heat and humidity. Fortunately air conditioned facilities are abundant in the United States

     As a family it is also a time of year when we are more different than other families. Family traditions such summer vacations, travel, beach, pools, and such have, with Patti's MS progression, increasingly fallen into that “parallel universe”. <grin>

    If you are committed to survival then you adapt. We’ve both adapted and split time between living with MS as a family and raising our daughter to eventually live as an able bodied young person.

     Not every caregiving story will be like ours. Our family story involved simultaneously caregiving and parenting, one declining and one growing up. (Both too fast in my opinion <grin>)

     We would carve out time for Megan and me to “do” family summer traditions.  For example, at the beach, is the freedom to run in the surf, build sand castles, spend a whole day in the sun, jet ski, and more that we believed she should experience. Patti’s MS progression quickly erased her from any sunny picture.

     We did try “beach” wheelchairs, hotels directly on the boardwalk and such in the earlier years. These attempts were too all consuming and one way or another the sunny “dogdays” only flared or exacerbated MS symptoms and trips ended up aborted.

     We’ve learned and grown. The last couple “dog days” we’ve been able to enjoy family time with Patti while doing air conditioned activities such as attending “Pirates of the Caribbean”. Movie theatres are not only blessedly air conditioned but offer 30+ ft images, perfect for Patti’s visual impairment symptoms. And of course, there is always the local ice cream parlor!

     (I was surprised to discover what with all the movie tie-in’s these days, that no one has marketed an ice cream with a "Caribbean” or “Pirate Rum Chocolate” flavor. <grin>)


  1. I had a friend in Montana with MS who strongly disliked summer because of the heat and found herself staying inside more and at home more in the air conditioning than venturing out during the dog days of summer. She was always thankful when fall and cooler weather came about. Thankfully, like you said, so much of the United States has air conditioned facilities that summer fun can still be enjoyed. Glad to hear an outing to see Pirates was undertaken and I would imagine enjoyed by all. Rum ice cream; yum.

    enjoy the days ahead as they go so fast and you will blink and Megan will be starting college and blink again and she will have graduated. Time does go by too fast, you are right.


  2. aha ice cream yum:) and a movie what a treat:) yes enjoy the time as they do grow up to fast in my opinion.


  3. Going to the movies sounds a brilliant idea to me especially with the two good movies you've mentioned.  'dog days'  I like that :) Rache


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