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Snapshots from a life stolen by the mystery illness, ME
Sunday 14 February 2010
Irish newspaper the Belfast Telegraph has a profile of Horace Reid (pictured, with colleague):
A nurse, hillwalker, charity worker and keen traveller ... snapshots from a life stolen by the mystery illness, ME
Ballynahinch man Horace Reid thought he just had a very bad dose of ‘flu but, as he tells Stephanie Bell, after 17 years largely confined to his bed, he’s still waiting for it to go away.
Tuesday, 9 February 2010
Co Down man Horace Reid has a deal of sympathy with Kay Gilderdale, the woman who went on trial accused of the attempted murder of her daughter who was suffering from ME.
For Horace has also had the condition — astonishingly for the exact same period of time, 17 years — as Kay’s daughter.
Lynn Gilderdale was found dead at her home in December 2008 and mum, Kay, later admitted in court aiding and abetting her to take her life. She was given a 12 month conditional discharge last month.
Horace said: “There is a steady suicide rate among ME patients in the UK. It is a unique disease and long term and, like Chinese water torture, it is chronic and slow and the medical profession can do very little for you, so I can quite understand why Lynn or any ME patient can think the situation is hopeless and decide to end it.”
He knows the terrifying effects of ME all too well. Seventeen years ago life was good for him. He loved the challenges of his well-paid job as a cardiac scrub nurse and had just bought himself a new house in Ballynahinch which he was enjoying putting his own stamp on.
His weekends were spent happily pursuing his many passions of hill walking in the Mournes, researching local history and cooking for friends.
It was a simple, but to Horace, idyllic existence.
Then over the course of just one weekend, without any warning, his world came crashing down around him. Suddenly this once active man in his mid 40s couldn’t even muster the energy to get out of bed.
Now, 17 years — and many, traumatic, exasperating and pain filled days later — Horace, 62, is still forced to spend almost all day, everyday, lying in bed. The job he loved is long gone and along with it, his comfortable lifestyle. Even something as simple as reading a favourite book is now a struggle.
But to Horace, by far the biggest frustration is the attitude which still prevails within certain areas of the medical world to his condition (myalgic encephalomyelitis), also known as Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFS).
He said: “There is still a great stigma attached to it and because of that, many of the 7,000 other people in Northern Ireland who suffer from ME, are afraid to talk about it.
“There is no treatment and no cure and no one can give you a prognosis and without research there isn’t even any hope.
“The medical politics behind it has caused great difficulty for sufferers and many have gone undiagnosed which in itself creates problems for those patients.”
Horace says he experienced the scepticism first hand shortly after he was struck by the illness.
The full article can be found here.
Please note: This article contains references to death. If you have feelings of helplessness, or of suicidal thoughts, seek help immediately. Lifeline is an excellent starting point: Lifeline – Suicide Prevention resources and links.
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