I Would Like to Help

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Guest blog by Edward Tamminga

After 12 years of meeting my wife's ever more challenging mobility problems, I have found a lot of good solutions. People are available to help; I want to be one of those who will.

My name is Ed Tamminga. My wife Angela was diagnosed with progressive multiple sclerosis in late 1999. We did not know what that meant at the time; it just gave a name to her loss of ability to walk, fatigue, numbness and a host of other symptoms. We vigorously sought out better understanding of the disease, attended seminars, took part in clinical trials, expended many thousands of dollars on experimental drugs and even went to India for a controversial treatment. Unfortunately, there is no cure. All we can do is make the best of what we have with resources we have access to.

The difficulty of deciding what to do next was sometimes as bad as the disease itself. Do we move? How much will it cost? Is it better to renovate? How do we decide if it’s reasonable to carry on safely or make a change? How close is help if it’s needed? What will the impact of a move really be? Should I be closer to family? Are there some technology solutions? Health care professionals can do an excellent job, but don’t always see the entire picture of a family facing challenges.

My wife, our children, and I moved from a multi-level home to a more accessible bungalow. We landscaped to remove obstacles and renovated to make use of a powered wheelchair safer and less restricted. We needed to add a small trailer to our motorcycle to accommodate a manual wheelchair. Now we are looking at getting an accessible van capable of transporting us with our powered chair to the many places we love to go.

I am not an occupation therapist, doctor, or healthcare professional. I am primary care giver and husband experienced in finding architectural and mobility access solutions. I can offer ideas and maybe some advice to people who struggle with what to do next and how to get it done. I designed all of our solutions and either did the work myself or hired professionals.

My occupation is Trainer. (I’m far too young to be retired.) I teach people to use specialized software for estimating pipe of every kind. I was a plumber, estimator and software product advisor. My passion is to see people become motivated and inspired when they know what they can do with a little knowledge they didn’t previously have. I want to apply the skills I have gained as a trainer teaching people how to make accommodations for disabling conditions.

I am available to those who might need some ideas on how to not only cope, but make the best life they can from diminished abilities. Feel free to be in touch. (Help is limited to dialog; no physical work will be done by me.)

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