I wanted to challenge a few friends and colleagues to take the Ice Bucket and/or donate to ALS. This movement has been sweeping across the nation, and there may be many who are not aware of this disease.
Although none of my close friends or family have suffered from ALS, I have treated several patients. Have you heard about the book “Tuesdays With Morrie”, a true story of a professor diagnosed with ALS (Aamyotrophic lateral sclerosis) also known as “Lou Gherig’s disease” ? It is truly inspirational and I have read and re-read this book many times over. Professor Morrie Schwartz wanted to share his journey – “once you know how to die, you know how to live”, as he said. Mitch Albom is a wonderful author and I advise picking this book up for a good quick read.
I can tell you however that I do fondly remember a patient during my residency who suffered from ALS. He had been in the Intensive Care unit on a ventilator. What amazed me about this individual was his ability to remain upbeat inspite of his physical decline. Mentally he was still sharp and had a great sense of humor. My best memory was coming into the ICU early in the morning to round on this patient during my last few months of residency. This also happened to coincide with the “Royal Wedding” of Kate and William. Since the wedding was being broadcast in the United States, it aired in the middle of the night. When I approached the patient’s bedside, he was glanced at me. He was unable to move his arms, but he could still speak. He appeared to be awake and staring at the television.
“Hey there, Goodmorning! You watching the Royal wedding?” , I said to him in an upbeat voice. He glared at me.
“I take it you don’t want to watch this wedding?”. He barely whispered to me, “change the channel”. It turns out that his overnight nurse had turned on the wedding so that she could catch Kate And Williams nuptials. After he explained it to me, he smiled. I laughed out loud. I am glad I was able to come to his rescue and change the channel.
Although I cannot remember his name, I can see his face. He was fighting an uphill battle yet maintained a sense of humor. Laughter is the best medicine.
So, what are you waiting for? Jump on the bandwagon and challenge your friends to the Ice Bucket Challenge. Those suffering from ALS and their families would be grateful.