Southern Utah News Articles
A bouquet to Ida Marie Winter
For 33 years, Ida Marie Winter has been living with Multiple Sclerosis. Her main caregiver is her husband Charles, who has been by her side throughout the years, as she has experienced a life dealing with MS. After temporarily going blind in one eye, she visited a doctor, who ordered a spinal tap, which reinforced the MS diagnosis.
The disease Sclerosis literally means “many scars.” It is a breakdown of the Myelia sheaths surrounding the nerve fibers of the central nervous system. Consequently, the resulting scars cause short circuit nerve functions, disabling the person from normal physical function. It can progress slowly or more rapidly in some.
How does one function with MS? Ida is an example of a person who has fought the constant battle with perseverance, forcing the body to go beyond its willingness to cooperate under the stress of MS. It is not uncommon to see Ida pulling weeds from her lawn and lovely flowerbeds. “I really enjoy being outdoors in the sunshine, weeding my yard. However the last year or so, it has been almost impossible to keep up with it,” she said, as she described her disappointment in giving up the task she enjoyed.
In the past, she has walked with neighbors down the streets of town to try and maintain a good physical condition. Due to the progression of the disease, she is unable to do that type of exercise.
Ida has other interests, that keep her mind active. She gets excited talking about the collecting, organizing and compiling family histories. She managed to compile five books that were given to members of her family. It took two years to accomplish the task. “I enjoyed it very much,” she said, as she shared some of her hard work stored in the three ring binders.
Shortly after Ida’s diagnosis, she was hired as the Valley High School secretary … and she worked in the office for 30 years. She cherishes the time spent with the students and faculty at Valley.
When life was somewhat less stressful, it was not uncommon for Ida to bake 40 loaves of French bread and deliver them at Christmas time.
Ida has a unique relief society calling which she takes very seriously. Letters of encouragement and news travel from Ida’s computer to a print out sent each month via postal service to folks who have moved away from home and still enjoy the connection with Orderville happenings. Her consistency in writing has brought a lot of complementary letters from those who enjoy hearing from her.
Possibly, the perseverance she exhibits in her life came from those earlier years when her life was one of learning responsibility and a great work ethic. Her mother, Marion Young, and father, Orson, purchased a motel, where Ida learned to do laundry and household responsibilities to help with the upkeep of the business. She remembered washing and hanging a lot of sheets, not to mention the folding, which proved to be very time consuming.
One of her fondest memories of her mother (a very respected school teacher) was when she gave her a two-dollar bill when Ida turned 15 years old. The tradition has flourished with her own grandchildren, as they are now the recipients of a two-dollar bill on special occasions. Ida still carries the two-dollar bill her mother gave her as a teenager. “I still have it in my wallet,” she smiled and said as the memory brought back the joy of the moment.
As for dealing with MS, Ida knows better than most what is required. “You just keep going and do as much as you can. You have to realize your limits, but keep on trying to accomplish what you are able to do,” she said.
She explained how difficult it was to attend a recent funeral. “It took 15 minutes from couch to car, but I made it,” she said. The words of John Wooden come to mind: “Don’t let what you cannot do interfere with what you can do.”
Ida has found some things she can do and she keeps on doing, persisting and accomplishing what she can do. Thanks Ida for being an inspiration to the rest of us.