By Meg Dresher
My mom has always taken care of herself. She worked out regularly, did yoga, ate well, and took her vitamins. She also took care of me and my twin sisters. She and my dad put all three of us through college. When all her work had finally paid off, she was looking forward to her golden years.
Unfortunately, life had other plans. My mother, a woman who was never sick, was diagnosed with ALS just two and a half years after retiring. While it started with a dropped finger in her left hand, my mom now is completely immobile and has also lost her ability to eat and talk.
Ours is a close knit family, and we all rallied to figure out how we were going to get through this. Just because my mom was the one diagnosed didn’t mean that we weren’t all living with the disease.
We decided to take it one hour and one day at a time. Most importantly, we wanted to make sure she was always comfortable.
Just like my mom took care of us her whole life, we were going to take care of her.
Thankfully, The ALS Association was there to help us. The chapter in our area helped pay for essential things to help keep our mom safe and comfortable at home. Some of these items included 10 hours of care weekly and a ramp that lets my mom get in and out of the house safely. They helped us understand the disease and lent us equipment like a power wheelchair and a cough assist machine to keep my mom breathing easily.
One of the best things the chapter did for us was lend us a van to take mom to appointments or somewhere fun to lift her spirits. This enables us to take her places without having to invest in our own wheelchair accessible van which we very much appreciate!
Three years after her diagnosis, our family is just as committed to taking care of my mom, but each new day presents new challenges. Things like loaner equipment, transportation services, and support groups help us get over the hurdles and inspire us to push onward. I can wholeheartedly say we would be lost without our local ALS Chapter. ALS can be lonely and scary for both patients and their families, but with the right support, you have the strength and courage to tackle each day.
Every comfort adds up.
When you support The ALS Association, you’re helping families like mine live more comfortably with this disease. Please donate today – we’re counting on you.
Living with ALS? Find resources in your area by contacting your local chapter or visiting ALSA.org/community