If you have ever flown, you probably heard a cabin attendant’s pre-flight instruction,
“in the event of rapid cabin depressurization, oxygen masks will descend from the panel above your head”.
Then you were instructed to “put on your own oxygen mask first before you assist your fellow passengers.”
Hearing that simple directive always gives me a guilt twinge — I am a caregiver at heart — even though I understand the reasoning behind it. I know if I pass out from lack of oxygen, I will not be able to care for my fellow passenger.
As we fly through this life, my wife is my fellow passenger. My wife has Multiple Sclerosis and I know first hand that caring for an MS patient has its moments of “rapid cabin depressurization”.
Nonetheless, grabbing for my own oxygen mask first still gives me a twinge of guilt. But I believe the oxygen mask metaphor is valid; an MS Caregiver must first don his or her own mask before assisting their fellow passenger. This is the only way to consistently make it through the repetitive “depressurizations” one experiences when caring for an MS patient.
Multiple Sclerosis is a difficult disease to experience. Caregiving of any type is difficult. Providing care for an MS patient has unique stressors so it is critical that you care for yourself, too.
My goal for this blog is that it become a helpful resource for other MS Caregivers. I hope each you will find help here and that you can use what I share to improve your own life. If I can share anything that makes the caregiving lifestyle easier for you, I believe it will be easier for you to be more helpful to the one for whom you care.
I think one of the best places to start reading this blog is the article, Finding Caregiver Support