"MS and a very positive thing" - Jerry's story

12 February 2018

Wheelchair basketball

‘Will I end up in a wheelchair?’ is often one of the first questions people ask when they are diagnosed with MS. For most people, the answer is NO, but if your mobility is affected by MS, you may find that a wheelchair - or other walking aid – actually gives you the freedom to continue doing the things you love and overcome some of the barriers MS presents, as Jerry explains in this guest blog.

I want to communicate a positive aspect of something that can be seen as negative

Having followed many blogs and comments regarding MS, I have always wanted to communicate a positive aspect about something that can be considered very negative. It is however hard to start something like this without alienating the people that might need or get help by hearing it - hence the vague title.

So imagine for a minute that your mobility has suffered and your walking range has decreased and is more difficult.

If you did get to that stage would you be interested in:

  • Something that gave you back a normal walking range and a full day outside
  • An item that can enable you to park further away and still get to where you are going comfortably
  • Something that made you faster than everyone else walking and got you to the toilet quickly
  • Something that made you look perfectly stable
  • Something that enabled you to carry things and move things
  • Something that could make you more active, and as a result feel better and get fitter
  • Something that enabled you to go back to the gym and get to all the machines again to train
  • Something that helped you take part in sport again, including basketball and for me a triathlon
  • Something that means you can make and take a cup of tea for your wife, clear the kitchen and put washing on (and similar chores!)
  • Something that means you can go shopping again and get all the way round a supermarket
  • Something that can enable you to go to car shows and the Goodwood Festival of Speed

OK this device does have a few disadvantages, but many can be overcome and others need a little planning. In addition, you do need a good version of the device and not a standard heavy and unwieldy one.

What is the device? A wheelchair.

In my case it has really helped, and I know many people will not want to hear it, but at a certain stage (if you were to get there) it is a great bit of kit. People’s preconceptions often delay wheelchair use, which can be a mistake allowing loss of fitness and strength.

It does upset me when I see statements like “Will I end up in a wheelchair?” – I have not ended up as yet and use a chair, but I am still “in progress”! My chair has given me all the advantages listed above which I could not have done any other way.

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