I’m Tim, I’m 34 I’m married to Chrissy and we have a daughter Hannah who’s six. I’m really young to be retired but I was offered medical retirement from the Civil Service after a twelve year career as my MS had got so bad. 16-20 hours a day in bed doesn’t go with work, neither does a failing memory!
I love cooking. The whole process, I’ve been excited by it from being a teenager having my mum teaching me to cook so I wouldn’t starve at University, to working as a chef in a pub kitchen when I was a student to just cooking good family food for years and years. However, as someone who uses a wheelchair all the time and has an EDSS score of seven this isn’t easy.
To manage this, we as a family have some ways that make things easier day to day:
- We plan what we are going to eat in two week chunks.
- We shop online: it saves time that we can spend together; saves money by stopping impulse purchases and means shopping is something that is done slowly and someone brings all the stuff straight into the kitchen and I can then put as much away as I can, even if that’s just items for the fridge and freezer.
- We cook meals that we can freeze portions of. This means that on days when neither Chrissy nor I can cook, we’ve got something quick and easy to eat.
- I use a perching stool to get me up to counter and cooker, a mini chopper to stop me taking my fingers off and cooking baskets that mean I can lift pasta and potatoes out of boiling water safely. I also have a hand blender the mashes potato too the key thing being any kitchen gadget that makes things safer and uses less of my energy.
- I try and cook meals over the course of a day, not in one go at the end. That means I get to go back to bed between sessions.
But most importantly it’s about cooking good healthy food. Takeaways creep in every now and then but that’s always the exception. We make basics like cheese, tomato and white sauces that have multiple uses rather than buy them. Home cooked food keeps me in the best possible shape; I can control the amount of sugar and salt in my food. And yes its therapeutic. When you’re a dad who can’t chase their six year old around it hurts, but when Hannah is tucking into a meal I’ve cooked, it lifts me.