From now on, this weekly Newsletter will be called ROBERT A. MILLS'S OP-ED COLUMN. Access it and enjoy!
Newsletter Dated: 8/8/2012 5:06:14 AM
Subject: UPDATE – MY BOUT W/PLS
UPDATE – MY BOUT W/PLS (my regular column will appear as per normal this coming Saturday)
Since my last report my balance has deteriorated, and I have fallen three times. The first time was rather serious; it occurred in March and smashed out the wallboard near the garage/laundry room door. The second was early last July. I started to get up from the dinette table, and I tumbled over backwards, crashing against the kitchen counter. I sat back down, unable to breathe at first, and in a great deal of pain.
At first I thought I had broken a rib; maybe damaged a kidney; it was in that area: back/right.
This second misstep sent me to my primary physician. I saw Jayne Boyer, the NP, at Dr. Reddy’s office ). She assured me I had not broken a rib, but I had, at worst, sprained a muscle in my back. Thank God for ibuprofen! With a helping hand getting up and down from the sofa, I managed to enjoy my eldest daughter, her husband, and several grand children and great-grand children who visited later that week.
Then, late in July, I lost my balance and fell down in the bedroom while trying to get dressed and slipping the eyeglasses’ chain about my neck. The worst of this was a carpet burn on my knee that really stung. Thank God for Neosporin and ibuprofen! I had a hell of a time getting up off the floor; I was home alone at the time.
PLS is no fun. I saw my neurologist again August 1, and upon examination, he confirmed his original diagnosis.
“You still have it,” he proclaimed. “It is progressing slowly — about 5% worse than it was in February — but even if you live to 120, it will not do you in. Baring a miracle, it will be with you forever. No pain, but gradual deterioration. Consider yourself lucky it is not ALS. Count your blessings. See you in eight months.”
There still is no cure and no treatment for PLS. I did see a Physical Therapist in June, and she fitted me with a brace for my right hand and gave me a bunch of exercises to maintain some flexibility. The neurologist was right so far — no pain, as such, but no improvement, either. The brace is supposed to keep my hand from developing a gruesome claw-like appearance. We will see.
Balance and walking are becoming difficult. My legs are rubbery and fatigue sets in quickly. Shuffling and bent over, I have a hard time controlling Sam when I take him out, not that I let him lead me very far. I am afraid he will pull me into the prickly bushes, and there is not much I can do about it if he does. The poor fellow has to take care of “his business” and when nature calls he has no interest in, nor knowledge of, Primary Lateral Sclerosis.
I do like my neurologist, though. He has three framed signs in his waiting room: #1 — Unattended children will be given espresso and a free puppy. #2 — Nobody gets to see the Wizard. Nobody and no how! And my favorite: #3 — This office does not validate parking tickets. (To display the latter would inspire even me to get an MD.)
If he were not my neurologist, he would be. He suggests I could go to the Mayo Clinic for further examinations, but he promptly adds, “it will not, in all likelihood, help.”
I will report on my progress in a few months and let you know what he says when I see him again.
I am thankful my left hand remains unaffected. Typing as a sophomore is slow but efficient. Life is not exactly 100% good; so, it could be worse — but it still is not bad.
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