I Wanna Help

I Wanna Help


One of the toughest challenges in dealing with multiple sclerosis is the feeling of helplessness.

In other words, you want to help….but you can’t.


under constructionWe are doing some home improvements around the My Odd Sock HQ.  Mostly hired help but partly do-it-yourself (to save moolah).

So the other day we had three very generous neighbors lending a hand while I stood there like a floor lamp.  (The light was reflecting off my ever-expanding forehead!)


It was a job I could do before MS.  A job I could do now with struggle.  But now is just a blow to the ego watching others complete the task.


My Odd Sock executive washroom
My Odd Sock executive washroom


With MS, simple chores can be a challenge.


Just yesterday, I put three light bulbs in our new dining room light. 

Sounds easy enough, right?




Well, add a few myelin-eating plaques to your brain and changing a light bulb suddenly becomes an episode of The Three Stooges!

With nothing to lean on, combined with me having the balance of the stock market, I jammed my cane into my crotch and leaned like a tripod for additional support.  (Thankfully, I needn’t worry as my baby making days are long past!)

I got the light bulbs in—but it wasn’t easy.


Disclaimer–My Odd Sock does not recommend the “crotch-pod” position for this or ANY activity.



MS can be an extra difficult pill to swallow if you don’t like to ask for help.  I prefer to roll my own wheelchair (not be pushed), get the door, load & unload my mobility aids and pull myself up when I fall.  Graciously accepting a helpful hand has been a long chapter of humility for this stubborn bloke!


More construction zone
More construction zone


Unloading the groceries from the car, carrying a suitcase, emptying the dehumidifier or taking the garbage cans to the curb are some of the simple, everyday tasks that have become increasingly challenging (and sometimes forfeited) with MS as your wingman.


How have you dealt with this side of MS?

From one who likes to do things himself, how do you cope? 

Because I need your help.




5 Replies to “I Wanna Help”

  1. I understand completely. I hate not being the one to get it done. And I’ve pushed to not let other people step in to help more than I wanted them to…both with a good feeling that I did it, even if it did take 6 months. And why 6 months, because I had to work around my body limits. Heck, there are still odds and ends to be cleaned up around the work…but that will come when time & energy allow for it. But it’s always my choice. As for people getting the door and such, I make sure to thank them to give them their moment to smile to themselves, even if part of me is always wanting to push to do it all. It just leaves that little bit more energy to do something else with it. 😉

  2. It’s getting extremely difficult for me NOT to accept a helpful hand; however, I, as you, find myself being annoyed when I have to give in. I try to be gracious when someone offers to help, but my teeth are grinding and that smile is just a paste-on.

    BTW Congrats on being noted in the MSFocus magazine!! Not quite as good as the NY Times you want, but good recognition!


  3. I too always preferred to do things myself. After having MS for 15 years, I drove to work one day, woke up the next day “paralyzed”. It’s been 2 years and even though I had been on Copaxone for 7 years, for reasons I will never comprehend, it stopped working. Physical therapy, drugs, monthly Tysabri infusions, NADA. When something is 98% effective, someone has to be that 2%, and unfortunately that always seems to be me. That being said…….the hardest thing for me has been accepting the help, and overlooking the fact it was not done “good enough”. Wrong shelf, upside down, crooked, too close to the edge…..my new mantra has become, Let it go, let it go, let it go.

  4. My thoughts exactly! Have to just “let it go” although that’s really hard to accept. But after 20 (fairly easy) years of MS, those MS gremlins have decided to pick up the pace despite the Rebif. And I’ve had to realize that people really do want to help any way they can – they need to be allowed to do that.

    I love these My Odd Sock postings. Skewed as they are sometimes (!!), I greatly admire the writing skills. Lots o’ laughs.

  5. The hardest light bulbs to change are those high enough to require the use of a step stool. For me the first step up is impossible and then it gets harder. I hate that. I have come up with a few methods imiliar to your cane in the crotch method when I am attempting some tasks. Those are really dumb ideas. I agree with Carol W (above) your writing is supurb!