Doug’s Story, When It Rains, It Pours. . .
On Nov 14, 2002, Doug’s wife, Grace, was diagnosed with ALS (Lou Gehrig’s Disease). There is no cure for this and it always fatal. It is a muscle neuron disease that slowly atrophies all the muscles in the body. The last part of the body affected is the diaphragm, at which point the patient suffocates to death. In late 2003, Doug resigned from his job to care for Grace.
All was well until September, 2004, when Doug, then fifty-two, was hospitalized with pneumonia. After three weeks, Doug was released but told that he needed an open lung biopsy because his lungs looked and sounded terrible. Doug had his surgery, at which time his lung collapsed and he was diagnosed with ARDS.
Doug was in ICU for 10 days, but never put on a ventilator or put into a coma. After three weeks in the hospital, Doug was transferred to a rehab hospital.
When Doug went into the rehab hospital, he was able to walk. But by the time he left, he had neuropathy and myopathy and had a severe loss of muscle mass due to the massive amounts of Prednisone and other steroids he was on. Doug had also developed type 2 diabetes and cataracts. Doug had one cataract surgery and will have the done in several months.
Doug was sent home on O2. Through three months of in home physical therapy, Doug has gained back the use of all his muscles. Doug weighed 165 pounds when he came home, down from 205 pounds when he went into the hospital.
After more than a year, Doug is still on oxygen twenty-four hours a day. He has no energy. And he has had to hire a full time caregiver to care for Grace, who is sadly declining rapidly.
Doug is concerned that he has been unable to get off the oxygen and the fact that his pulmonologist has not given him much hope is discouraging. Doug is hopeful that he will be able to get off of the oxygen, but not encouraged. He invites input from any other ARDS patients who have had similar experiences.
Doug and Grace live in Las Vegas, Nevada. Grace worked as a teacher in New York City and then in Las Vegas for a total of 34 years until she was forced to retire. Doug worked on Wall Street for many years, and then in the insurance industry until he retired to care for Grace.