There is an individual at church who has MS.  For this note, I’ll call this person Joe.  Joe has had this disorder for many years and is in such a  shape as requiring assistance for everything.  Part of the task performed was to take Joe to a relative who owned a restaurant for lunch.  I would have to feed him.  It was possible for Joe to wipe his mouth, but not much other due to the lack of muscle control.  Over the time period I worked with Joe and took him to church, I tried things to assist with this problem.  I went to a store, picked up a knife and spoon, and made a pvc mount on the handles of each.  This consisted of two pieces of tubing with the inside piece having an offset 90 degree with lead in the end.  I made a strap over the larger one which could slide over the hand meaning all Joe would have to do was move from the plate to the mouth.  The strap would hold the utensil on the hand, and the lead weight would keep the spoon or fork level.  Joe tried to use the utensils, and that’s when I realized the difference between usage of the gross and fine motor muscles.  The movement was performed in a fair manner until the utensil was near the mouth, then shaking would begin which would drop everything on the utensil.  Scrap the utensils.

There was Dragon Naturally Speaking, which I sought donations to purchase, borrowed a large screen TV and held it up for Joe to see.  That’s when I discovered the largest writing I could produce on a large television was barely readable.  The voice production was such that the naturally speaking product was unable to decipher what words were desired.  I donated this to someone else.

While describing these attempts and feeling down about the failures to another individual at church, I received a phrase which has stuck with me since: “you don’t have to succeed to have shown love.”

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