A shift in equilibrium

Walking through the front door of our very old house I was greeted by the alarming smell of hot metal and something burning. As I ran into the kitchen, I discovered the metal was the empty tea kettle, which was now melting down the side of our 1940’s range and hitting a flooring product from the same decade that contained enough asbestos to just smolder rather than ignite. It was this incident that confirmed my husband of several months could not boil water. That was1988.

Things changed with the arrival of our son in 1993 as he quickly picked up the skills of making formula, which requires boiling water. Nothing like a baby to get you acquainted with the kitchen, and – as it turns out – to prepare him for things to come.
It’s creepy how MS subtly changes the equilibrium in a marriage. It did in mine. Gradually over time, household tasks that I was responsible for and loved to do – like gardening and cooking – fell to my husband. Fortunately, not all at once as it wasn’t the easiest transition for either of us. 
When we moved into the house where we now reside, I had large garden beds put in around the perimeter of the back yard. I planted and planted, never thinking that there would come a point when I couldn’t care for them. One afternoon, I was having a fit because I couldn’t safely walk out to the yard. Out of complete exasperation with me, my husband showed up at the steps of our deck with the wheelbarrow and told me to get in. I did. He rolled me to my desired destination and gently discharged me at the spot that needed my attention. I still can’t believe we did this, but it worked for quite a while.
The perennials have taken over the beds and Michael now plants beautiful flower boxes all over the deck. He even knows how to dead head the rosebushes.
Michael, once a safety hazard in the kitchen, has become a proficient cook. He knows the difference between tsp and tbsp, the three vegetables that comprise mirapoix and prefers to make pancakes from scratch. We still get frustrated by the changes MS has brought to our lives, but as a couple we are beginning to find a new sense of balance by doing tasks together. When I start to feel bad about not being able to physically do the things that he does, he reminds me that I am still the brains of the operation. What a guy!

Susan Skoney, Blogger

Susan Skoney was diagnosed in 1999. She lives in western New York with her husband Michael and daughter Hannah. She worked many years in public relations and advertising, and has just started writing about her MS in the last few years.