Putting Out Fires


Special Artistic Merit

For the past three years I have been the sole caretaker of my mother, a person with Miller Fisher Syndrome and a severe stroke. She got both of these from a seasonal flu vaccine. Prior to the vaccine, she was a healthy 65 year old nursing instructor who had never even heard of someone becoming paralyzed from a vaccine. Today she can’t even feed herself or sit up and she needs 24 hour care. She will never recover. Our lives have been turned upside down. Her disease was life threatening from the start and it has always felt like we were putting out fires. As soon as one crisis was over, another would begin. Even now we are still putting out fires: problems with caregivers, insurance, continued pain, the depression and despair of dealing with a debilitating illness and the loneliness when family and friends don’t visit anymore, problems with transportation, financial concerns and a constant hope that someday research might find something to improve her quality of life, even a little.

By Katie Beecher

Age: 46
Disease: Miller Fisher Syndrome
Submissions: 4
Date: January 18, 2013
City: Old Saybrook
State: Connecticut