My first symptoms of MS appeared when I was
13. I was just walking to play a game of rugby at school and fell over on an ordinary pavement.
What’s going on here, I don’t have any injury, there’s nothing wrong with me, what’s happened?
Then followed five years of investigations, tests, relapses, problems arriving, going
away again, and then when I was 18, called into the doctor’s office with my mother; “Stuart;
you’ve got MS”. That initial diagnosis, was, I suppose the only reasonable word is devastating.
One of the issues that’s extremely important, Living with MS is having the right equipment.
The Access to Work programme supplies me with a fabulous wheelchair that does a million
different things; will stand me up, will lay me down , will allow me to get wherever I
need to. It also supplies me with a vehicle, that allows me to be independent, to drive
myself to and from work, to drive myself wherever I need to be. Without working and without
being in education unfortunately you can’t access this equipment, so it makes it very
difficult for anybody who is unable to work to access quality equipment that will enhance
their lives. Marie and I are two sides of the same coin. I couldn’t function without
her; I’d like to think she wouldn’t function quite as well without me as well. The physical
stuff is reasonably straight forward to talk about. Marie helps me put my shoes and socks
on. Helps me stand up when I fall over. Cooks more meals than she should do, washes more
clothes than she should do, not to decry that, but I guess that’s reasonably straight forward.
The bit that’s more of a challenge, is being the one…. is being the one that puts me
back together again when things don’t quite go as we want them to. When I have the dark
times that we all have, the times when I can’t do this any more. Because we all have those,
I think whether you live with a condition or not. But particularly when you face the
challenges that we face day in day out because a door won’t open, there’s a step to get in
somewhere, we’re told by somebody you can’t come in with a wheelchair.