Stopping by Giant Food last night with Patti it occurred to me that grocery shopping is a common denominator task anyone can relate to and might serve to help understand living with Multiple Sclerosis for our ‘alternative’ MS Awareness Week.
In the earliest years of MS, while still walking, Patti’s shopping would be disrupted by sudden fatigue or problems of balance while trying to stand or reach for an item on a shelf. Facing long check out lines could lead to an abandoned cart because fatigue was overpowering.
With the advent of the scooter era, Patti would actually ride her Rascal Scooter to the local grocery store. Her visits were not only restricted by the capacity of her scooter basket but by logistics of a store built and designed for people walking upright.
Before today’s ‘super stores’, aisles were so congested with displays that they were nearly impossible to maneuver through with an electric scooter. Patti would find herself navigating through a tightening maze … and more than once rammed a display. Intentional? I can only speculate. <grin>
At your next visit to a grocery story just look at how few items are really within reach of someone in a sitting position. When you notice an unattended shopper in a wheelchair or scooter looking up at a shelf, have you ever asked “Can I reach something for you?”
With visual impairment progressing to legally blind the era of independence ended. Additionally transferring Patti to and from her wheelchair to our car became increasingly challenging and undependable. Patti’s visits to a grocery store simply ended and disappeared from Patti’s experiences for years.
Hunter gathering became solely a caregiver task.
Patti as a formerly able-bodied able-minded person fought valiantly to adapt and survive as the metamorphosis of MS enveloped her body and mind.
Grocery shopping is only one simple common denominator activity to help translate MS. In reality ‘every thing’ you previously took for granted changes.
That was ‘then’ … tomorrow I’ll share about ‘today’.
P.S. If ever considering an electric scooter? … Patti’s Rascal Scooter is over 15 years old and runs like a champ. She used to travel on local roads driving sometimes 10 miles a day or more on errands. She’s pulled sleds through snow, and been able to be part of family activities on all terrains.