Being a Caregiver to My Partner who has Multiple Sclerosis

Jake Crest Health Guide
  • “How ‘ya feeling babe?” To most married couples, I guess the morning greeting goes something like “Good morning.” or “I’m late.” Maybe, if you’re lucky and someone else does the cooking, you’ll give a “What’s for breakfast?” In our home, it’s “How ‘ya feeling, babe.”

    My name -- at least my pen name -- is Jake Crest. My wife, Mandy, writes for Health Central as an expert in their Multiple Sclerosis section. She is an expert -- the kind that learns about a subject by living it. The kind of expert that you tend to believe because, face it, you can’t really knock experience.
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    So what does that make me? I’m told that it makes me a caregiver. I’d never much thought about the word, but when I first heard it applied to me, I paused briefly to think about what it meant. Quickly, I assumed the title and went back to doing what I do, never to really think much about it again. That is, until Mandy suggested this blog. I thought that perhaps there are others out there who can relate, so I agreed to give it a try.

    I recognize that there are many levels of caregiving. Also, caregivers come in all shapes, ages, and sizes. Even a child can, to a certain extent, be a caregiver. Some of us find ourselves giving care 24/7/365; while with others, like me, it’s more of an on-again, off-again activity. Mandy, you see, has relapsing-remitting MS, so there are times -- not as many as either of use would like, mind you -- when she feels just fine. It’s funny too, because occasionally she feels so good that we almost forget the MS. That’s always a mistake because the beast is just around the corner, lurking, waiting to pounce.

    We are all human. We’re made of the same ingredients. Like snowflakes, however, no two of us are alike. Our one commonality, I suppose, is that, like it or not, we willingly (or not) obligate ourselves to another person. While I can certainly empathize, I won’t pretend that we wear the same shoes. You wear yours; I wear mine. We walk different paths. I will, however, tell you about the path my wife and I walk together. Perhaps you will relate; perhaps it will help. I encourage you to leave comments along the way, for this is a give-and-take project. I have my own ideas, but I’m open to changing directions, or tackling a subject, if someone makes a good case for doing so.

    Now a few particulars for those of you who like to know a bit about the person you’re reading. As stated earlier, my pen name is Jake Crest. For privacy reasons, I use that name when I write. But that’s the only thing that will ever be fiction in this blog. If I can’t tell the truth, then what’s the sense of moving forward?

    I’m 52 years old with no overriding health concerns. I’m presently working at home as a professional web designer. Until two years ago, I had a successful career in the amusement games industry, even serving as president of both state and national trade associations. I’m a college graduate and, I’m told, a fairly astute businessman. While most of my career was in sales and marketing, I have a flair for finance. Mandy and I have lived in semi-rural Virginia for the past five years, although I’ve been here a bit longer. We’re still newlyweds, having been married three years ago on Valentine’s Day. And yes, to those who are wondering, we’ve both been married before. This time, however, is for keeps.

  • I hope you’re still with me. This blog is supposed to serve as an introduction, and I suppose it’s done just that. We’re now almost into Multiple Sclerosis Awareness Month so I guess that’s a fitting time to start carving out my corner on this website. As in most new ventures, I can’t say for certain where we will find ourselves once we start the journey, but I do hope you will consider coming along for the ride.
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Published On: February 22, 2008