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Department of Neurology
University of Colorado Health Sciences Center
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Thursday

 

MS Has Made Me a One-Armed Man
























By Trevis Gleason

MS can make one side of the body weak.In my early days in the U.S. Coast Guard, I learned to carry things in my left hand. It’s important to have your right hand free to salute when you’re in the military, you see.

For years now, with multiple sclerosis (MS) doing its deeds to my left side, I’ve had to fill that right hand with a cane to aid my walking.

As I get on with my daily living, I’ve found that this constant handful of walking stick has effectively rendered me one-armed if I want to get anywhere.

Now of course, literally I have two arms and two hands. But it’s a bit of a pain that the hand occupied with my walking is the stronger of the two. Using both hands while walking or standing for any period of time has become impossible.

Now that spasticity has begun to take even more control from my left hand and arm, I’m able to do less with them than I was previously. That my “good” hand must be used to keep me standing and walking seems to be adding insult to the injury of MS.

Time to Improvise, Again

I’ve found that bags with long straps I can hoist over my shoulder (and sometimes use as a sling for that left limb) can help me carry a few things when I really need to. They can’t be too heavy, though, as the left leg is also weak, and the delicate balancing act that can be walking with MS is easily upset.

Perhaps it’s time to consider a rollator for walking when I need to carry something, as many of them have baskets (as well as a handy seat if one gets tired while walking). The old folding walker that I use when needed doesn’t have such modern conveniences. Besides, the old thing is pretty ugly and makes me feel even more disabled than I am.

So I’ve got one good leg and an arm on the same side that are doing the lion’s share of getting me around. Asking the left arm — the only one left free these days — to help out seems futile much of the time. So I’m once again left to figure out a way to improvise and overcome this growing hurdle.

Story Source: The above story is based on materials provided by EVERYDAYHEALTH
Note: Materials may be edited for content and length

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