About three years ago, Estuardo (not his real name) noticed that sometimes he could not walk in a straight line; due to his busy schedule he blamed the lack of rest to be the reason of that strange reaction in his body.
Expecting that the symptoms would recede by themselves, he did not seek medical advice; instead, he decided to monitor his body responses and promised (to himself) to slowdown and take a vacation as soon as possible.
One morning, after waking up, Estuardo could not rise from his bed. Noticing that he had no feeling in his right leg and no strength in his muscles he became really worry about his health condition. The day before that incident was the last day that Estuardo could work in his life.
Visits to his family doctor became the norm, tests, and more tests turned out to be part of his routine and finally he received the bad news. The Specialist informed him that he may have been affected with Multiple Sclerosis, a progressive condition wherein the immune system attacks its own body organs.
“A disease from the central nervous system in which the protective coverings of nerve cells are damaged, leading to a diminished function in the brain and spinal cord. Therefore, causing mayhem in the parts of the body that are essential for our daily functions”
In a short period of time, Estuardo went from using a cane to a walker to help him to walk short distances and to move around his apartment. Sadly, it did not take long for him to be confined to a wheel chair.
Perhaps, the most difficult part of this struggle was the fact that he was living alone and could only rely in the good will of his friends to provide moral support and a helping hand through that terrible experience.
One of the flare-ups of the disease happened when nobody was around him; while he was trying to call emergency services, he fell down on the floor and stayed like that for more than 7 hours until a neighbour heard his cries for help and called the paramedics.
IN GOOD HANDS
As a side effect of his condition, he was admitted in the hospital suffering from dehydration and stomach ulcer. He stayed in the institution for three weeks regaining his strength.
The Doctor in charge of his case, recommended to send him to a rehabilitation center and be enrolled in a special treatment to recover some mobility.
Regrettable, despite the best efforts from the personal at the rehab center, Estuardo could not improve and was not able to take care of himself. Therefore, a decision was made to provide home care for him.
For a few months the plan worked properly; but as the disease evolved, it became necessary to find a long term care facility for him.
The supervisor of the Toronto Central Local Health Integration Network (LHIN) put an extra effort to find a long term care facility for Estuardo. It was explained to him that there was a waiting list of about 3-5 months, but due to his very poor health, he might be approved before that time.
Thanks to the coordinated efforts of people involved in Estuardo’s care, he already started living in a long term care facility where he is not alone anymore, can communicate with other people and he’s been treated with dignity and respect.
By Enrique Galvez
- I based this article in the treatment that my friend has received after becoming disable with an aggressive type of multiple sclerosis.
- As a close friend of Estuardo, I am grateful to: the ODSP’s officials, Paramedics, Doctors at the Western hospital, staffers at the Temporary Rehab Center, The supervisor and Personal Support workers of the Toronto Central Local Health Integration Network (LHIN), and most recently at the Supervisor of the Rekai Center at Sherbourn Place.
All of them have been always helpful, caring and compassionate