Tag Archive | household accidents

Short-Term Memory and Cordless Phones

Cordless phoneLike most people who still have land-lines, Ken and I have cordless phones. They are so portable the darn devices never seem to be where we are!  Needless to say, this is a perplexing problem, especially for Ken because it takes so much effort on a good day to get up and try to answer Mr. Bell’s invention before the caller hangs up.

A few months ago, Ken thought he had a solution to this problem. He felt good, so he decided to do the laundry and took one of the cordless phones with him to the basement. Because his balance is so “wonky,”  he threw the  phone in the laundry basket and carefully made his way down the stairs. By the time he got to the basement, his short term memory forgot the phone was in the laundry basket. He went through his normal routine of checking the washing selections, measuring the soap, turning on the machine, and dumping the clothes in the washer. Then, he returned upstairs to work on something else while the machine went through the cycle.

About an hour later, Ken went downstairs with another basket of laundry, and to switch the first load from the washer into the dryer. As he took made the switch, he discovered the phone in with the washed clothes. Of course, his first thought was, “Oh, God! Barb’s going to kill me!”  So, he dried the phone, brought it upstairs put it on the kitchen charger to dry out, and prayed it would still work, and he wouldn’t have to confess his sin.

When a friend called a day later, I answered the phone which had had this deep sea adventure. The caller couldn’t hear me, but I could hear him. I thought we must have a bad connection, so I told him I would call him back, but I had the same results. Then I tried the other phone in the bedroom and that one worked just fine. I nonchalantly told Ken I thought the phone in the kitchen must need a new battery. It was then Ken confessed his bone-head phone washing incident.

My first reaction was, “You’re kidding?” Then, I just laughed. Not a chuckle. Not a smirk. A whole-hearted belly laugh which came up from my diaphragm and brought tears to my eyes. MS had struck again!

Ken felt relieved I wasn’t angry with him. I guess through the years, we’ve gotten used to his “accidents,” which usually end up costing money to fix. But, luckily, it was Christmastime and our friends and relatives had been very generous to us. So I took fifty bucks, went to the store, bought a new charger and two phones, and brought them home. After struggling to remove  the packaging, Voila! We had phone service again.

But our original problem remains. We still haven’t worked out a way to have a phone situated where we are.

When Accidents Happen

OopsWhen I went to a Caregiver counselor a few weeks ago, she gave me a book called, Daily Comforts for Caregivers by Pat Samples. I thanked the counselor, read a few of the entries, and then didn’t pick up the book until sometime later. Even though the entries are short, somehow I didn’t find time to read one everyday. I’m like that. Aside from my blog and writing on one of my WIPs, I don’t do much of anything EVERY day. That would be too disciplined.

But today, I picked up the book and read a couple of entries. There was one in particular which resonated with me. It talked about “Accidents” which often happen around the house. I have to admit, one of the most frustrating things for me to accept is when Ken has an “Accident.”  Here’s what I’m talking about. The coffee carafe smashes on the kitchen floor because he doesn’t have the strength to pour the water into the coffee maker. He spilled a g;ass of milk  trying to carry it from the kitchen to the living room because of his trembling hand. Or how about the time when he sat on his glasses because he forgot where he put them. And I haven’t even mentioned the numerous falls he takes because stubbornly believes he doesn’t need his walker “for that little distance.” In this case, I hold my breath, say a prayer, and yell, “Are you okay? Need some help?”

So many of Ken’s accidents end up costing money. The all involve having to clean up a mess, and worst of all, he could get hurt. I wish I could wrap him in bubble wrap to protect him from himself, but as we all know, there would be a law against doing so. A more rational approach would be to just take over, and do everything for him. But, I can’t do that. He already knows his previous capabilities have deteriorated  He used to fix everything around the house, and now he can barely hold a screw driver still enough to tighten a screw. When accidents happen,  he is humiliated his Multiple Sclerosis has brought negative attention to him — again.

As much as my frustration wants me to yell  scream at him, I’ve learned to take a deep breath and smile. You can’t be angry when you smile and me dumping my wrath on him wouldn’t accomplish anything good; after all, he feels terrible already.

I love this man. I can’t take away his dignity and his eagerness to do things. He needs to try. I NEED him to try because I need to know he hasn’t given up. Plus, he feels good when he accomplishes the small feats. “Normal” people wouldn’t consider walking down the hallway without holding on to the wall an accomplishment, but for Ken, doing so makes a red-letter day. It’s a big deal for both of us. Sometimes we celebrate with a beer!

Like every other change that comes along, we find ways to cope. With accidents, I laugh and say, “So, gravity got you again, huh?” Then he laughs and says, “It’s the law, you know.” Our laughter takes away the immediate frustration we both feel. I clean up the mess. The sun comes up tomorrow and we both carry on as best as we can.