Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Change It Up

Janet writes: Tim and I had an argument the other day over a project we are working on. The argument started because I was attempting to explain something to Tim and he was feeling overwhelmed by how I presented the information. He responded by plugging his ears, which ticked me off, of course. The project ended up thrown in his lap.

After we were both cooled down, we left the house so we wouldn’t be disturbed and tried again. Tim still didn’t understand me, so instead of talking, I proceeded to write everything down and had him read it. Success! He understood what I was talking about. He had questions, I wrote down the answers as well. More success! We were able to resolve our argument and finish our project in about an hour.

This strategy is used by teachers every day when teaching students, and can be very useful in your house if you deal with the cognitive symptoms of MS. We all know that MS acts differently from day to day. Your ability to take in and process information may also differ from day to day. One day, you may understand what you hear right away but have to read the same sentence five times to understand it. The next day it might be the opposite – you feel overwhelmed by anything you have to listen to, but can scan a page of writing and understand it just like that. And there are some days where you just have to do it before you get it.

If you feel like you are having difficulty understanding something important, try changing the way you get the information. If you can’t read it, have someone read it to you. If you can’t listen to it, get it in writing. If both are escaping you, have someone help you with a sample or demonstration. One way or another, that information will get into your brain. Oh, and a helpful hint – don’t plug your ears when your spouse is trying to talk to you. You will not have any trouble understanding their reaction!!!!


  1. This is a great ideal for me and my husband to do, write it down...

  2. Of course over in our world MS symptoms of memory loss and legally blind demand a whole new set of "change it ups". :) Though regardless of MS obstacles you make an excellent point about communication, the sender MUST find a medium that works.

    Caregivingly Yours, Patrick

  3. I am new to Cognitive MS. I'm struggling with how to care for my husband, and I appreciated your post. Thanks.