Tag Archives: special needs

Easy to Forget

I’ve written before about how grateful I am for finding someone or a group of someones who can understand what you are going through – community. It hasn’t changed. Recently I put a question to the ADEM group on “Ben’s Friends,” a website dedicated to connecting people with rare diseases, including ADEM, about helping friends understand.

The response from a man in his 50’s was just what I needed to hear. He’s been through what my little Greta is going through, but as an adult, he can express his needs a little more reasonably and in the typical “adult” manner than Greta can right now. His advice helped me a lot. His kind words to Greta were that she had nothing to be embarrassed about. All she had to do was ask people to slow down a little or go over something again, it’s not a crime to ask.

I thanked him and told him that even Karl and I can forget at times that Greta needs a little extra help here and there, because everything looks so normal on the outside. He wrote back that his wife has the same ordeal. She’s so grateful to have her husband back after he had been through and had to relearn to do that sometimes it’s easy to forget that he still struggles sometimes.

When everything looks “normal” on the outside. It’s easy to forget. It’s easy to forget that there are still things on the inside that trouble us and make us need to ask for a little bit of extra help. The problem is, we get tunnel vision. We see “normal” so much that we aren’t always prepared for the after effects of ADEM to rear their ugly head and we have to slow the train down and adjust. It catches us off guard. Because we are human and it is easy to forget.

Praying that when I’m jarred back to the reality of ADEM and the fact that life will never be “normal” again; that it doesn’t take me quite so long to adjust each time. Perhaps there are others in my community, my circle of friends that also need me to pay attention to when they need a little extra help. There are many out there that need us to be prepared for anything – not easy to forget.

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Filed under ADEM, Community

My issue is not your responsibility

Crohn’s Disease + cold = painful intestinal cramps. Needless to say, I don’t like cold air blowing directly on me. Today I spent an hour and a half in a facility that had problems with its heater. It was blowing out cold air. My jacket wasn’t enough and soon I had intestines in knots. It wasn’t fun.

Bad facility. They shouldn’t do that to people, right? In a sense yes, but in actuality – no. I am responsible for my special needs. Think about it for a minute. If we asked any and all business and facilities to make accommodations for every single special need out there – no one could stay in business. Does this facility need to get their heater fixed? That would be a huge yes!

But the greater burden lands on me. If I know that I get cold easily and it can lead to excruciating pain, I need to make sure I have a travel blanket with me. If I know that I get cold easily and do nothing about it – why should I start a crisis because I’m not warm enough?

Please don’t get me wrong. I’m not saying stop helping people. By all means, let us be compassionate and helpful to all we come in contact with. I’m all for compassion and going the extra mile. But it doesn’t change the fact that we are responsible for our own special needs. I have a diabetic friend that wishes his church would provide sugar free drink at their potluck meals in addition to the lemonade and fruit punch they serve. It would be nice if they did and they should try to do that, but in the end, he knows he has special needs and comes prepared.

So, I’m going to make sure I travel with a jacket and a blanket now, to cover those very sensitive intestines. It’s my responsibility.

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Filed under Community, Crohn's Disease