MSA patients are stubborn(?)

I read a forum post the other day where relatives were complaining about how stubborn their patients are. Then I thought about myself, yes I am stubborn too.

In the forum someone had complained that the father refuses to “pee in the bottle” and that is why he falls on the way to the bathroom. This is high risk and not a good way, definitely. I wonder how old the father was, but I suspect mature adulthood. I wonder, is this the fate of a grown man to pee in a bottle? Is it understandable if he doesn’t want to do it?

Well, it is not easy for everyone involved. The child is worried about the father, the nightly urgency is also known to me. I think they all don’t sleep well. So I can understand the patient, I would also rather crawl on all fours to the bathroom before I pee into anything. What do you do in such a situation? I think you have to be creative and work together with the patient to find a solution that is good for everyone. The patient must understand that his relatives are worried, but he must not be forced to do anything.

I do not have this situation. But I can understand the suffering and burden of the relatives. There are many reasons for stubbornness. Why is it so?

I start from myself. This disease has already taken a lot from me, I can’t do so many things – and  what remains is getting less and less. As long as I can, I want to make my own coffee, wash my own hair, make my own bed. I am aware that I can fall and hurt myself. That is why I am very careful, I am also very slow.

Exactly because I am aware that my time is limited, I have no tolerance for things that are not good for me. I dislike topics that don’t interest me, I can’t be persuaded to accept something I’ve already rejected in the past. There are people I just don’t like – that some don’t like me – is OK. I don’t want to be liked because of my illness. I don’t like children because they are children, I like some because I like them. I like to try things before I ask someone for help, even if it looks like torture. Screwing a bottle cap on involves fidgeting and dropping. Still, I want to do it myself and not have someone do it for me.

I had a lumbar puncture once and afterwards I had a hell of a headache. I spent several days in bed afterwards. Every trip to the bathroom was torture because moving my head was like hell. Every time my brain touched the skull, I thought I was going to faint. Then someone – surely well meaning – suggested to push a toilet chair next to the bed. I thankfully refused, and I hope I managed to be polite, because in my mind I could shot the person together with the toilet chair to the moon. Me? Certainly not.

Is that stubbornness? If yes, then I am very stubborn. Does that make the life of my fellows difficult? I hope not. One does not want to be a ballast.

The question is where stubbornness ends and recklessness begins. Because you should never be reckless. Falling, beating yourself up or breaking something is certainly the stupidest thing you can do. Then you really become ballast and the recovery from the injury is questionable. I have been in the situation of fearing for my own safety a few times. If it comes hard on hard, I think I would ask for help because I am already afraid of injury.

Don’t be too proud to ask for help when needed and don’t treat your patients as if they have always been so frail. It is not easy to accept that your body does not do what you want it to do. Be patient and tolerant with each other. The solution must always be acceptable to both parties.

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