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Old 19-08-2012, 16:53   #1
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Live Aboard w / Medical Condition

I was hoping to get some input from some of you out there. My wife and I are looking to live aboard in the near future, My wife has MS but still has the ability to walk (although some days better than others). Would anybody like to give us their thought's and experiences, as my wife does not want to feel like a bump on a log. Thanks in Advance.
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Old 19-08-2012, 16:58   #2
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Re: Live aboard w/medical condition

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Originally Posted by DaveWalter View Post
I was hoping to get some input from some of you out there. My wife and I are looking to live aboard in the near future, My wife has MS but still has the ability to walk (although some days better than others). Would anybody like to give us their thought's and experiences, as my wife does not want to feel like a bump on a log. Thanks in Advance.

I have mild cerebral palsy and live on my boat. For me it's all about finding good work-arounds. It affects my legs only (one leg more than the other), so I have things like steps on the dock, and a portable step on the boat that can be clipped onto the toerail. I put it by the shrouds when away from my home port. I can step on it. I push my weight forward against the hull and it says extremely steady, and pull myself up with the shrouds.

Extra hand-holds around your boat, both outside and inside, may help, depending on how the MS affects your wife.
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Old 19-08-2012, 17:02   #3
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Re: Live aboard w/medical condition

I cant help much except to say I admire your spirit and hope you have much success.
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Old 19-08-2012, 17:20   #4
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Re: Live aboard w/medical condition

Seahag, thanks for the encouragement. Rakuflames the step you have is it something you made, or had made? Or is something you can buy? Also is it the kind that folds down flat?
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Old 19-08-2012, 17:27   #5
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Re: Live aboard w/medical condition

Thanks for asking this! I have klippel-feil and while my mobility is still okay, it is degenerating. I was sure other people must be coping with and thinking about similar issues.
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Old 19-08-2012, 17:50   #6
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Re: Live aboard w/medical condition

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Thanks for asking this! I have klippel-feil and while my mobility is still okay, it is degenerating. I was sure other people must be coping with and thinking about similar issues.

Of course, what I have (cerebral palsy) is not something that gets worse with time -- EXCEPT that age can be a factor. I'm 66, and the best thing I ever did for myself when it comes to the CP was to move onto the boat. The first five days I didn't think I'd be able to do it because going up and down the companion way repeatedly made my legs so sore.

Well, not any more. I have muscle definition in my calves I've never had in my entire life. Any balance issues I have are a side-effect of the CP -- not primary. My SENSE of balance is just fine. The stronger my legs are, the less likely I am to fall.

Rather by accident my doctor and I discovered that if I've used my legs a lot and take a muscle relaxant when I go to bed, they don't tighten up on me. Used to be that if I over-used my legs (walking around a zoo or theme park all day was enough to do it), the next day my legs were very stiff, my coordination was markedly worse and I was at substantially more risk for a fall.

This is me, not anyone else, and it's my condition, not what others are talking about here. There's a fine line between pushing yourself to the point that you strengthen, and pushing yourself to the point that you slide backwards, and it will be different for every person.

I think listening to your body is crucial, but also, looking for "work arounds" for the things on the boat that are hard for you. A wheel may be much better than a tiller. A gadget that raises the main electrically might be just the ticket for you.

I know that some day, for some reason, I will undoubtedly have to move off the boat. But even then, I will be stronger than I would have been if I'd never moved onto a boat.
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Old 19-08-2012, 18:05   #7
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Re: Live aboard w/medical condition

Thanks for the words of encouragement, it is helping my wife with our decision. Knowing that other people are out there working through physical problems, and enjoying their lives. "Keep living the dream".
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Old 19-08-2012, 18:07   #8
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A few years back, we met a woman cruising the Maine coast solo. She was on a 26 foot boat and had a significant para paresis (weakness, but with some function of her lower limbs). She used crutches ashore, but stowed them when she was aboard. She was comfortable getting around the boat and handling the circumstances she faced. She brought on crew for longer passages, but was very comfortable sailing coastwise solo. Clearly, MS is highly variable by time and individual, but, if she's able and willing, there's no reason she can't do well with an able partner.
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Old 19-08-2012, 18:24   #9
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Re: Live aboard w/medical condition

Keep it up ladies and gentlemen, a few more positive replies and I will get the nodd to go ahead with our plans to cross over from the darkside, and become a live aboard.
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Old 19-08-2012, 18:34   #10
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Re: Live aboard w/medical condition

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Keep it up ladies and gentlemen, a few more positive replies and I will get the nodd to go ahead with our plans to cross over from the darkside, and become a live aboard.

Please don't be TOO encouraged by what I've said. This is a decision your wife has to make carefully and prudently. For instance, if it doesn't work out, will you have some place to go on land? Maybe she can do it, but the physical effort involved might aggravate her condition. I know enough about MS to know that heat is an issue. is your boat air-conditioned? What about when you cruise?

I would suggest easing into it One night, then two, then three and hold it for a while. You still have to deal with all the aggravations of living aboard -- small head, as one guy put it "You have to move two boxes and a body to get a cookie ..." etc.

Does she get seasick easily? If so, how will she do in the cabin? I didn't think about that one before moving aboard ... stepped into the cabin and THEN realized that this is where most people are likely to get seasick. As it turns out, I'm not one of them. Just dumb luck.
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Old 19-08-2012, 18:49   #11
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Re: Live aboard w/medical condition

Rakuflames, I hear what your saying. My wife's MS is aggrivated by stress and heat. We will not totally let go of our land ties, we plan to rentout all our properties ( in Denver and Long Beach Wa ) We have no great expectations, we plan to see how it goes, Could be six months or six years! I don't kno,. but I know we have to at least try.
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Old 19-08-2012, 18:50   #12
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Re: Live aboard w/medical condition

there was a lady in san diego with ms who lived aboard for many years--until her divorce---she did very well... dont know all details, but she was happy and seemed to get along ok. she was able to walk as long as i knew her...i knew her 5 yrs
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Old 19-08-2012, 18:57   #13
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Re: Live aboard w/medical condition

Thanks, Zeehag. It would be nice to talk with someone like that. I woulk like to find out about access to medications, and medical care abroad ( if we get that far ).
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Old 19-08-2012, 18:58   #14
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Re: Live aboard w/medical condition

is easy in mexico--is all i know so far.
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Old 19-08-2012, 20:49   #15
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Re: Live aboard w/medical condition

Ive had a replacement hip, do to a accident ashore, and of course Arithrits in my sholders and such, and as far as stable movement is concerned, I can be Very unstable at times ! the first thing I do is mount as many hand holds I can in every place theres room for em!! makes getting around the boat a lot easier!! The boat we are now buying was owned by a man whos wife had MS and theres hand holds EVERYWHERE!! what a pleasure for me !! I don't need to even add one!! (all I need to do is polish the darn brass they are made from LOL) so my answer is YES she can do it if she wishs to and if ya add a lot of hand holds for her she will do fine !! just an old half cripples 2 cents
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