Since I joined the UK MS Society, I received two cards which I find really helpful and supportive. One states in four languages (English, French, Spanish and German) on the one side,
‘I have MS and would really appreciate your help. Please don’t worry, MS is not infectious’.
On the other side it states;
‘Because I have MS, I need to use the toilet urgently. Can you help? Thank you.’
The second card states on one side;
‘I have Multiple Sclerosis.
It is not infectious.
I need assistance and would be grateful if you could help me.’
and on the other (the first three are true for me);
‘I need to use the toilet urgently.
I have fatigue and need to sit down or rest.
I am unsteady on my feet.
I have difficulties with my speech.
I have difficulties with my eye sight.
I have limited movement in my limbs’
We shop in Sainsbury’s near our home, but I am more inclined to shop in Aldi because it’s cheaper, it reminds me of Germany (more or less the same lay-out) and there are not so many options making everything easier to find, but the downfall is there’s no toilet. I always have to go to the toilet every 30 minutes and this makes me really sad. It feels like a shackle.
The cards from the MS Society help others to recognise my needs because its an official print by a society that everyone knows. They make me feel more secure about asking for the toilet, even if I don’t yet need to show them to anyone. I’ve used toilets in all sorts of places, for example; hair-dressers, pubs and shops where the toilet is usually only for the staff.
I was also given a special large key, which opens every disabled toilet all over the UK. I didn’t believe it at first, so I’ve tested this far and wide and it’s true! We got this key from a neighbour who’s husband is disabled. You can buy one from here: Radar key.
So back to shopping. Fleur gives me a shopping list. The first thing I have to make sure of (if I don’t know the shop very well) is to find out where the toilets are, go one time for luck, and then start shopping. I am quite tempted to always ask where things are, but these days I try to look myself and if it seems like there’s no possibility, I’ll ask. In our local supermarket is an assistant who knows the shop like the back of his hand. I found out the other day when I asked for help that he is partially deaf and it made me chuckle – there we were, two disabled people trying to get something done. I was impressed that he, with all the vigour and positivity, went for that job and is really good at it.
When shopping It’s difficult for me to locate where certain products are. Something that doesn’t help is when the stock has moved. I have a theory that this occurence happens fortnightly BY ALIENS just to test my patience and other human virtues that they want to learn about more. Every time Fleur asks me to go shopping by myself my heart drops because it’s a challenge for me. But I’m willing to go because this is a way to meet people as I’m a very chatty person and love to be with others. I go there, I buy things, some of them are wrong, I return them, I sometimes still get the wrong things and my argument is, ‘because it was cheaper!’ Back home, Fleur smiles at me, gives me a kiss on the cheek and pats my arm saying ‘It’s alright love. You got most things I asked for!’.