Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Mobile Calendar

Janet writes: I think Tim and I would be lost without his cell phone. He has made it a habit to enter every appointment, meeting and event into his cell phone calendar. Whenever we need to check a date or a time, he just pulls it out, opens the function, and the information is there. He doesn’t have to try to remember everything we have going on, and neither do I! How convenient!

Tim doesn’t have an iPhone or a Blackberry. He has a Samsung flip phone that is somewhat better than your basic freebee, but doesn’t require the add-on PDA plans or extra fees for apps. The calendar was included with the tools already loaded on the phone. You do have to know how to type text using a number pad, but he has managed that well enough for our purposes. He always sets the reminder for every event, so if something is coming up in the next hour, we know it.

There are a couple of disadvantages to this system. The main problem is trying to schedule something when Tim is talking on the phone and can’t look at the calendar! Well, they do still manufacture paper and pens, so he just writes it down and checks when he hangs up. There is also the issue of forgetting the phone at home. That can happen with any planning device and Tim doesn’t forget often, but when he does, it’s back to the paper method. Thank God for sticky notes!

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Mental Effects of MS

Here is a short, comprehensive article on the psychological and cognitive effects of MS and how these effects affect relationships with family and friends. The points in this article help clarify why some problems occur and may help you direct your efforts when working with your family or your physician to determine why some problems occur.

Or, if you are fully aware of the mental effects of MS and just want a good laugh, check out the jokes on this website:

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

What Are You Talking About?

Janet writes: We apologize for the lapse in posts lately. We’ve been very busy and the resulting chaos has caused us to lag behind. One result of this hectic schedule is that Tim’s brain has been working in overdrive lately. He has so many ideas swirling around that they keep him up at night. When he is telling me about an idea or opinion he has, the thoughts come so fast that he often leaves out a portion, and it’s usually an important part. I end up getting about 75% of what he is talking about, but that other 25%, the part that contains information critical to the main idea, is missing and causes me to either totally miss his point or just become really confused.

It’s at this point that I will stop Tim and say “What are you talking about?” Tim will then stop and tell me, which usually clarifies his point and clears up my confusion. If I still don’t get it, I will tell him what I don’t understand and he will usually realize what fact it was that he left out. I then have 100% and can participate in the conversation without feeling like I’m driving in fog.

I think many misunderstandings between couples happen because a little piece of information is left out. Big fights can occur when all that really needs to be done is to stop and say “What are you talking about?” When cognitive problems are at the root of the misunderstanding, it’s all the more important to stop and clarify the conversation. Conflict, frustration, and hurt feelings can all be avoided by following this simple little step.

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Questioning Ourselves

Tonight we were supposed to attend a class at our church. We thought we were signed up and we had received an email confirming our attendance, but when we arrived, no one was there to lead the class. We waited for a while and another person attempted to locate the leader of the class, but she found no one. We finally left, questioning ourselves on whether or not we had our information correct.

This type of questioning happens frequently for people wrestling with the cognitive symptoms of MS. Did I hear that correctly? Did I write it down? Is this right? Where is that email, anyhow? It is perplexing to question yourself like this every day. You feel like your head is surrounded by a whirl of question marks that pound at your brain until you have a headache!

Fortunately, it’s not always your cognitive meltdown causing the problem. Sometimes the rest of the world makes mistakes, forgets to write things down, and forgets to forward messages. This is very confusing, but it’s not your fault and not within your control. It’s comforting to know that maybe you are not the only one with a short circuit in the brain – and these people don’t even have MS!