Knowing Your Limitations

Do you know your limits? Everyone has them for one reason or another. Multiple Sclerosis limits my ability to do what has become quite a long list of tasks. I know what those things include. I can’t run from someone if they chased me. I can’t walk around the block, even with my cane. I can’t close my eyes while standing and not fall over. I could go on, adding all types of actions that I can’t accomplish because of MS.

Knowing your limitations is quite different. After over 15 years with MS, I’m still struggling to come to terms with mine. As I sit here writing this post, I am at home on a regular work day nursing several cuts, scrapes, and sore muscles. Why? Because as I was leaving for work I noticed the garbage can. It smelled. It’s garbage day. So, I thought, I’ll just take it to the curb. It has wheels. And as I wheeled it down my sloped driveway I went down with it landing on the pavement. I scratched up my elbow, my knee, my ankle. Since it’s the morning when I have more energy I was able to get up. I was able to put the can upright. I slowly walked up the driveway and into the house.

I wanted to go into work early today. I was off to a great start too. But now I was bloody, in pain, and in tears from defeat. One bad choice had changed the direction of my day. What did I think I was doing? Answer: What any normal person would do on garbage day; take out the garbage. The flaw in my thinking was not first asking if this was something that I should be doing.

In all honesty, it did cross my mind. Briefly and then the thought departed. The part of me who wants to do regular daily tasks without care just did it. And that’s where the problem lies. I might know what my limitations are, but do I always accept them? Clearly not.

Cleaning and dressing my wounds, I engaged in a couple hours of self-loathing. Ridiculing myself for bad choices. But if you think it’s easy to give in, to admit your inability to do something, it’s not. It may be, for me, one of the most difficult parts of having Multiple Sclerosis. I just want to go. I just want to do. I don’t want anything in my way.

I’ve adapted in so many ways to live a life with MS. Clearly I should be able to make this adjustment as well. I pledge to keep trying.

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