Since I have been waging war against MS the biggest battles that I have fought have been in my own ‘back yard’.
I’m a kind of ‘glass half full’ person and I couldn’t see MS ever getting the better part of me. I’m living my life to the best and mostly, having a great time. I have been on some adventures and experienced a LOT of good events.
Over the past 40 years I have travelled in airboats through the Everglades, jumbo jets around the world and helicopters over the top of and to the bottom of The Grand Canyon, but it is a constant challenge in East Sussex to carry out the simplest things, like finding out my own weight.
Every so often my GP carries out a routine health check on me, you know the sort of thing, blood pressure and diabetes testing, withdrawing small phials of bodily fluids for scrutiny and some obvious questions, ‘how tall are you?’ Well, last time I stood up I was 5’3″, but I am 4’2″ in a wheelchair! That’s the sort of answer the flippant me would like to say, but I have to respect my GP, so I won’t. The next question is, “Do you know how much you weigh?” Well, that’s a bit of a sore point with me, because it’s almost impossible to find anyone who can help somebody who is just unable to stand of scales. I have been trying to find out my weight for a while now, and I come up against brick walls every time.
I know that it is possible to attach a set of digital weighing scales to a hoist. I have experienced these scales in previous visits to hospitals regarding measuring my weight to know how much anaesthetic to administer before an operation, but that was a while ago, and my weight has changed since then. I know that it has, but because I don’t need to wheel myself around any more and because I have stretchy clothes, I don’t notice the weight going on around my middle. Asking my local hospital, which is what I did yesterday, is farcical. I started with the phlebotomy department and they suggested that I ask at the main reception. I headed over to them and much as they tried their best to be helpful, they directed me to the physiotherapy department. “If you go down the corridor, right to the end, turn right, go down one floor in the lift and then turn left out of the lift, you’ll come to the physiotherapy department.” So off I trek and reach the department where I am met with blank stares and questions of “Why do you need to know?” Well, because I haven’t found out for a few years and I’m inquisitive. “Our therapist is with another patient at the moment but can I get her to call you when she’s finished?” Time is running on for me now, and I have things to do and places to be so I asked very nicely if that would be possible, and give her my telephone number. “In the mean time, perhaps you could try East Dean ward, and I’ll get them to give you a ring as well.” One out of two rang me back that afternoon, and I was fairly optimistic that perhaps there would be a possibility that someone would know the whereabouts of the elusive hoist. The matron of the ward insisted when she rang me that her ward did not accept outpatients and she could not help me. “But I’m not a patient,” I said. “I just need to find out what I weigh.” “We don’t do outpatients,” she said, and after she’d told me four times, I just gave up.
My weight wouldn’t be an issue in itself if I knew that it was within a reasonable ratio, but my waistline tells me it is not. I know I need to watch my weight, my blood pressure is normal and my diabetes measurement is within the correct parameters, but if I knew what I weighed, I might feel more inclined to embark on a healthy eating regime. As it is, because I am unable to find something so simple, I carry on eating chocolate.