Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Stay Hydrated and Make Memories

 Dan and Jennifer are friends of mine that I met in the “blogosphere”. They are a beautiful couple, both living with MS and both writing about their experience. Besides their own blog, they are now writing for healthline.com.  This is their most recent post which very accurately describes what part of living with MS is like for many of us. I hope that you enjoy it.

Guest post by Dan and Jennifer Digmann

Stay Hydrated and Make Memories

I have so much to say, but it is so difficult and frustrating to get my words out.6

I have the typing software Dragon Natually Speaking which, in theory, is supposed to transcribe my spoken word into text on the screen, but the program only adds to my frustration. When I’m alone, it is hard for me to put on my Dragon headset. And when I finally get the headset over my humongous melon, it understands me 60 percent of the time.

I patiently say into the system’s microphone, “Correct that” 10 or 15 times before I give up and instead focus my energy on a game of Scrabble—my favorite. To play, all I need is the game, a mouse, and my intellect. Then it is game on! But I always promise myself that I’ll write some other day.

My Multiple Sclerosis is being pretty nice to me today, and my right-index-finger typing method is working quite well, so here goes…

As is the norm for my husband, Dan, and me, we’ve been pretty busy. I truly believe that we stay so busy in some sort of feeble attempt to stay ahead of our disease. Yes, Dan also is living with Multiple Sclerosis.

Slow down and our MS will catch up with us. But so far so good, we’ve been able to outrun it. At least I think we have, and really, do any of us know what this disease has in store?

Our battle to outrun MS involves our constant struggle to make every moment memorable and to have as many awesome moments as possible. When the opportunity presented itself to see the rock group Train in concert, we jumped at the chance. Sure it meant a longish drive to the concert and a very late night, but those facts were not going to hold us back.

I mean, c’mon it was Train – Save me, San Francisco; Drops of Jupiter; California 37; Meet Virginia. Yes, that Train – one of our favorites! Did I mention that along with Train, we’d also be seeing Gavin DeGraw and The Script? Sounds like quite a magical, musical extravaganza doesn’t it?

So when Michigan was gripped in the serious 90+ degree heat wave that was making our state and the rest country miserable, we didn’t even think twice about sitting outside at DTE, Detroit’s outdoor amphitheatre. Certainly, a little heat wouldn’t be that bad.

Our MS and unbearable heat … what’s the worst that could happen?

After living with this disease for 15 years, I should know better than to ask that innocent-enough sounding question. And after a decade and a half, you’d think I would have learned to:

A. Respect Mother Nature
B. How to stay hydrated

But isn’t water the enemy to those of us dealing with MS and a Neurogenic bladder?  I soon learned that while water may seem like an enemy, it is nothing compared to dehydration!

After sitting outside for a little while before the concert started, I was a little warm, or so I thought. Dan asked a few times if I was okay and did I want something cool to drink?

After kindly answering, “No thanks,” several times, I was becoming increasingly hot – both literally and figuratively. But my difficulty speaking at an audible level and mild confusion convinced me I better take Dan up on his offer for a cold beverage. And that frozen lemonade he bought me was just about the best drink ever.

Brain freeze notwithstanding, it seriously was the best drink EVER! Not only was it cold but it was sweet and refreshing. Almost immediately, my voice was stronger and my mood became much happier. I nursed that $5 frozen lemonade throughout the rest of the concert and it made my evening so much more comfortable; but it also made Dan’s evening more enjoyable because he did not have to worry about his wife’s probable heat stroke.  

We saw a fantastic concert and had a great time. And isn’t that what life should be about? MS or not, we made a memory and that’s pretty awesome.

Plus I learned something – the lesson being that even though I think I know most all there is to know about my Multiple Sclerosis, I can benefit from a new-to-me old common sense idea every so often.

As the dog days of summer approach, I hope you manage to stay cool and hydrated!

And F.Y.I. according to news@kake.com, the phrase “dog days of summer” dates back to the olden days and has to do with the star Sirius, the brightest star in the heavens, which is also known as the Dog Star.

Sirius was nicknamed the “Dog Star” by the ancient Egyptians in honor of a god named Osirus, whose head resembled that of a dog. For around 20 days beginning in late July, Sirius actually rises and sets with the sun, so the Egyptians and Romans put two and two together and concluded that Sirius added its heat to the sun and made things extra hot… hence, the name “dog days of summer.”



  1. Great story Jennifer, so happy that you & Dan enjoyed the concert! It's a blessing that you're able to share your story w/so many! Take care may GOD continue to Bless you & Dan! Keep up the race, you're winning! Love life! Love & miss you guys, your friend Wanda T. ;))

  2. Loved your story and look forward to many more. I lived in Detroit many years before moving to south Florida. Then found out I had MS. hydrating is vital....but keep your electrolytes in check. I learned the hard way not to only drink water.! God bless