Tuesday, 8 August 2017

Laundry Help

Yesterday I did laundry. That may not seem like much, yet it is a task becoming increasingly difficult for me. First there is the arranging of laudry in a basket. That basket cannot be on the floor, so I keep it perched up high on a different laundry hamper. That way I can slide it off the hamper and onto my lap. Once it's on my lap, I secure it around my waist using a bungee cord. That way both hands are free to push my wheelchair.

Next, I grab a couple of laundry pods and some vinegar from the kitchen. The laundry pods are obvious. The vinegar is to remove the smell of urine from my clothing. My goal is to get through each day without peeing on myself. This is not incontinence; it is the combined result of being 62 years old and peeing into a jug. Sometimes I get the get; sometimes I don't. Inevitably I have old man dribble at the end, thus adding continual wet spots to my pants. And of course there are those times where I get into the sling and lift myself up, only to have my bladder say "Now? Sure, now is good." Except it's not good. It's wet.

Somehow the hallway to my laundry room here in my condo seems to be getting longer and longer. It takes increasingly more effort to roll down that carpet, flat as it may be. Then there are the fire doors just before the laundry room. The sill is raised. There is a removeable ramp on either side. The whole process of opening the well-sprung door and getting myself over that sill is enough to make a lesser man give it all up. Just so you know, I will soon become a lesser man.

Yesterday I discovered something different; only slightly different. That's how ALS works. I found it "difficult" to lift the laundry out of the basket and into the washing machine. I've been finding it difficult to get the wet laundry out for some time. The getting it in part is new. It's a signal that I will soon need help with laundry too.

To those of you who think it would be nice to have someone do your laundry, remember what else comes along with this. That person who does my laundry is also the person who dresses me, who wipes my rear end now and again, and a whole host of other things you might find embarassing. Loss of strength, dependency on others, the inability to do for myself; this is ALS. Asking for help with the laundry; this is ALS too.

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