Life with Multiple Sclerosis: A Technological Adventure

The Life-Altering Impact of Technology on My Multiple Sclerosis Journey

Tech & MS A Life-Altering Connection

By Michael Ogg, as told to Hallie Levine

Living with multiple sclerosis (MS) has its challenges, but thanks to the wonders of technology, I have been able to navigate through life with ease and independence. Let me take you on a journey through the incredible gadgets and gizmos that have transformed my life from a stagnant state of frustration to one of productivity and fulfillment.

Technology, My Golden Ticket to Independence

Picture this: I was in the hospital, frustrated and confined to my bed. My trusty laptop was becoming increasingly difficult to operate, as my one working arm struggled to navigate the intricate world of keyboards. Just when I thought all hope was lost, a friend showed up, brandishing a shiny new iPad. It was like a revelation! With just a simple touch of my finger, I could effortlessly communicate with the world. The iPad became my lifeline, my connection to the outside realm.

From Wheels to Joysticks: Unlocking the Power of Control

As my disease progressed, so did the tools at my disposal. Necessity truly is the mother of invention. Enter the wheelchair joystick, a game-changer like no other. Not only did it help me move from point A to point B, but it also proved to be an ingenious solution for my iPad navigation woes. With the joystick’s Bluetooth technology tightly integrated into its handle, I regained control over my technological kingdom. Moving the stick left and right, up and down, became my new way of navigating my screen and expressing my thoughts.

The Sip & Puff System: Taking a Breath of Technology

Sadly, the toll of my condition extended to my arms, rendering them less dexterous. But fear not! With the Permobil Sip & Puff System, a sip of air became my secret weapon. By harnessing the power of Bluetooth, I converted that sip into keystrokes on my iPad’s keyboard. Admittedly, it might sound like a mouthful, but the incredible adaptability of the human brain turned complexity into sheer simplicity. Now, I can work swiftly on my iPad, engaging with the world through emails and forging connections that once seemed elusive.

The Smart Technology Saga: A Symphony of Convenience

For 18 glorious years, I’ve been riding the waves of smart technology, well before it became the craze du jour. It started with light switches and grew to encompass my entire living environment. Now, my TV, music system, and even my heating bow to my whims, all thanks to the wonders of technology. A mere touch on my iPad app, powered by the energy-efficient and far-reaching Z-Wave technology, is all it takes to create a comfortable and secure sanctuary. Who said living with MS couldn’t be smart and savvy?

My Monorail to Bathroom Bliss

Believe it or not, I have my very own bathroom monorail. It’s not a figment of my imagination; it’s a reality that allows me a modicum of independence. A ceiling lift seamlessly lifts me from my bedroom straight into the shower. With the assistance of my dedicated personal care aids, I can navigate the showering process with a newfound sense of control. It’s a little triumph that brings a smile to my face.

The Collar Mic: Making My Voice Heard

Many of us MS warriors require a little extra help in the communication department. My slurred speech and weakened diaphragm muscles make it challenging for others to hear and understand me. But fear not! My trusty collar microphone comes to the rescue. Clipped comfortably onto my T-shirt, it amplifies my every word, making it crystal clear to my personal care assistants. Whether I’m in bed or engaged in conversation, it ensures that my voice always commands attention.

The Feeding Pump: Navigating the Gastronomic Minefield

Dysphagia, or trouble swallowing, is an all-too-common companion for many with advanced MS. To safeguard against the perils of choking, I rely on my trusty feeding pump. This handy device delivers nourishing formulas directly to my stomach, freeing me from fears of potential mishaps. Small, lightweight, and ever-reliable, my feeding pump becomes a constant companion, ensuring that I can still indulge in the simple pleasure of a morning cup of Joe. After all, life without risks is no life at all!

Telemedicine: A Doctor’s Visit from the Comfort of Home

Venturing outdoors to doctors’ appointments can be a challenge. But fear not! Telemedicine swoops in to save the day. While nothing beats a good old-fashioned in-person consultation, telemedicine provides a convenient alternative for routine matters and medication check-ins. With a simple click, I can seek medical advice, ask questions, and receive the care I need without stepping foot outside. It’s a godsend, especially during times of viral outbreaks or personal limitations.

Inevitably, technology isn’t without its quirks and challenges. As the saying goes, anything more complicated than a brick is bound to present issues. Nevertheless, the beauty of today’s technology lies in its accessibility. It’s not just for the tech-savvy geeks among us; it’s for every MS warrior yearning for a better, more empowered life. Don’t believe me? Even my late mother, at the age of 93, embraced the benefits of technology, reveling in the joy of multilingual newspapers on her iPad. If she could master it, anyone can!

So, dear reader, if you find yourself navigating the maze of MS, never forget the power of technology. Embrace the gadgets and gizmos that bless your life with ease, independence, and endless possibilities. Let technology be the conduit that transforms the ordinary into the extraordinary, and remember, the world of tomorrow belongs to the brave souls who dare to embrace it.