When GPS technology was first available in our vehicles, and a change in direction was necessary to reach a destination, the device would alert the driver with the word “recalculating”. In a similar way, when MS affects the body, changes in the way tasks are done are necessary and we must recalculate. As a driver of a vehicle must find a new route, a person with MS must find a new way of achieving a task.
Changing the way we move and perform tasks is a way of life for those with a progressive illness. It becomes a constant theme of “consistently changing”. Movements can become a complex orchestration of using what body parts still work well, coaxing the ones that partly work, ignoring those that don’t work at all and avoiding those that work against you. Getting it all synchronized to achieve a goal can be a tiring task. Just as hearing the computerized voice repeat the word “recalculating” became frustrating, having to recalculate tasks becomes frustrating as well.
Like navigating a car in an unfamiliar area, recalculating tasks can involve modifications to direction, sometimes multiple revisions, navigating around construction, breaking familiar patterns, shifting management, negotiating, realizing, executing. Tasks, previously done independently, might require assistance from another person, or might require that the task be given over completely.
Adjustments must also be made to thinking. Independence can turn to dependence, pride yields to humility, sometimes hope has to take a backseat to resignation, and contentment may temporarily give the right of way to grief until that also is recalculated. It’s all part of the journey.
When physical changes mangle my method of achieving a task, when my sense of direction is sabotaged, the memory of that repeated word from the GPS can cause me to chuckle or roll my eyes. In spite of detours, when a task is successfully recalculated and the destination is reached, there’s a sigh of relief and a sense of accomplishment.