By: Willeke van Linden Tol, Member MGABC
Over the last 20 months I have learned to “manage” my daily activities around my MG and I wanted to share some of them. They are true for me, but, it could be different for you. I just hope it creates some awareness in your own daily life.
1.How dirty are you? Unless you have been wallowing in mud, a sitting bath for all the strategic places should be sufficient.
2.Or, if you have slightly more energy; the WW2 ration of a 5 inch bath is enough to splash yourself to get clean.
3.If you do take a real bath, do not use hot, and do not stay too long. A little oil will save you body lotion appli- cation. Just be safe getting out of the slippery bath.
4.Forget expensive 300-thread towels, they are too heavy. Cheap thin towels save your muscles. At bath – and laundry time. Also, do not go for the heavy luxurious bathrobe either, it will weigh you down.
5.Rest after washing, otherwise you are behind the eight ball from the start.
6.Eat a hearty breakfast; it might be the only meal you can swallow that day. Eat little portions during the day.
7.Do not waste energy getting to places. Use a car to get to your destination. Wheelchairs are also for Myas- thenics, as are Handicap stickers.
8.Most valued tools on weak days & in hospital: Eye bag & iPod! My eyes are the first to get tired, making reading, computer or TV impossible. I lay down with a good book on my iPod & get lost in the story with an eye bag to still my eyes. Sometimes it only takes 1⁄2 hour to recover,. If I would have tried to push myself Iend up in bed full time.
9.Light & noise are a huge issue for me. I carry earplugs & sunglasses for noisy places and restaurants.
10.When having a conversation, ask people to sit down. Ensure you’re on same height or place them lower. “Looking up” is a sure way to get tired eyes & a fallen face with drooping mouth. As soon as I start to feel like I am looking from under a baseball cap; I know I have to rest. Do not apologize. Go and retreat. Friends do understand.
11.I avoid big dinner parties with multiple conversations. A group of 4 at the dinner table is more manageable. I often ask to have one conversation at the time. Big lesson with MG is to learn to be assertive.
12.Do not look up to television. You’re wasting energy. Slightly downward gaze with your eyes is more comfort- able.
13.Reinvent yourself! Due to medication (prednisone) I was swollen to twice my size, a nice round moon face with a good red flush. Nothing fit, and dressing was an ordeal. I re- arranged my closet and went out to buy or borrow clothing without zippers or buttons. I choose new colours to suit my new face . Changed my hair colour & make up to suit my new complexion. Beautiful scarves hide my buffalo neck. These are ideas to turn some- thing negative into positive; you can embrace the change.
14.Ask for help. You do need a good advocate who can speak on your behalf on bad days and in hospital. Also, friends & family will be happy to actually be able to do something for you. I have re- organized my pantry, closet & kitchen for easier access. I wipe but do not scrub, and sweep but do not vacuum. I have friends & family (thank you, Kees & kids) who do the heavy cleaning.
15. Be your own Advocate. Be aware of your triggers. Keep a journal for medications, treatments & symptoms of a weak day. It took a long time for me to connect the dots, to realize the consequences of my actions. I thought I would save you some time so to have some extra muscle for the fun things in life. A journal is a good place to get the bad thoughts off your chest! It might help with difficult days.