Multiple sclerosis

I am reading about the disease and thinking about the long case I did today. Just as the intern promised, he was the nicest patient. We talked about the multiple sclerosis, and how he coped at home. Sitting there he looked fairly well.

Then when the physiotherapist came and asked him to do some exercises, I suddenly realised how debilitating the disease was. The slow unsteady steps of an otherwise healthy, middle aged man, in walking down the corridor. The stiffness of the affected arm, and inability of the fingers to open or close. The immense difficulty in moving from the chair to the bed, lifting the entire weight of his "buggered" leg with his good arm, then the difficulty again in getting out of bed. I would prefer an amputated leg (below knee though). It's hard to appreciate the convenience, in us who have four working limbs that move the way we want them to.

We discussed multiple sclerosis earlier on, how its progression is scarily unpredictable. How it doesn't really get better - even some cancers have the potential to be cured. It's great though, that there are medicatiions to slow the progression of disease. At least this man sounded like he had a stable and supportive relationship with his wife and grown up children. Compared to other patients with multiple social issues - with questionable partners, being parents of young children, those who had mood issues along with their physical illnesses. Having family members around, and being connected with people who care is so important. Seeing the key role of spouses being the carer for so many of the patients we see, we often joke about  how important it is to find someone who will honour their marriage vows - in sickness and in health. I guess that also often makes us reflect whether we would be able to take care of our spouse if they had a serious chronic condition. It's so easy to say when you're in love, isn't it?

Side note: whilst looking up "vows" I came across Vows Now, wow there's all sorts of interesting stuff. Short three minute ceremonies and if you want, everyone including the celebrant will wear fancy dress party themed costumes...



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