Monday, December 26, 2005

Motor Neuron Disease

Is also known, in common parlance, as Lou Gerhig's disease. We don't know why, but the motor neurons die. Because these neurons send their tiny tendrils to muscles, muscles that move, muscles that breath, muscules that talk, as they die, the patient no longer move, no longer talk, and ultimatly, no longer breath.

When I was in medical school I'd wonder at this. Text books would use emoting language of "this dreadful progressive and fatal disease" to describe it. These test books were otherwise without prosody.

Today, the day following X-mas (as a secularist I am apparently waging war on X-mas and those with the bad taste to ever say "Christmas" to me, which includes my lovely neighbor, who I promptly waged war on by sharply slapping her 80 year old face - kidding), I diagnosed ALS.

Its my least favorite thing. But the woman was a classic. It doesn't matter that she's a widow. It doesn't matter than she raised 4 kids afterwards. It doesn't matter that her fingers are twists from arthritis. All that matters is that she has a progressive history, weakness in all 4, and evidence of denervation throughout. Her neurons are dying. She's fucked. Utterly and completly fucked. She'll see all lost. Movement. Speech. Breathing.

She sat in the fucking office and cried. I can't do anything! A tissue will not help her neural tissue grow. I can't do anything. Except come home and drink some wine. She went home as well - to her children. All's lost, but slowly. A degenerating bit of tissue here, a slow death there.

OK. Sorry for that. Fucking ALS. I'd like to kill it.


Blogger acumamakiki said...

I wish you could kill ALS too. It's scary and heart-breaking and I imagine heart-wrenching when you have to diagnose it. I'm sorry for you on that one.

11:31 AM  
Blogger echrai said...

Nothing worse than realizing that for all our technological advances, we are susceptible in our human frailty to incurable untreatable conditions that will kill us. It's scary and heart-breaking.

8:58 PM  
Blogger laurenbove said...

We all have to die of something...but I'm glad you are out there with the bravery to wage war against it all. Thankss for that.

I'd like to kill arthritis. I Your own body attacks itself? Very self-loathing, no?

4:28 AM  

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