By Miriam Strickland
IF OUR mum were still alive we’d be celebrating her 100th birthday this month. As it is, she made it to 76, which isn’t bad. We were all expecting a stroke or heart attack to take her off, but it turned out to be motor neuron disease, for heaven’s sake. And we had no idea until a month before she died.
She had the bulbar palsy type of MND, not the type that takes away your arms and legs. The form mum had first manifested as changes in her speech. She commented one day that she was finding it hard to pronounce the letter L. Then we noticed her voice had dropped in pitch and sounded hoarse.
With diagnosed angina and a long history of high blood pressure everyone, her doctor included, assumed she had had a slight stroke, enough to affect her speech but not enough to cause any visible paralysis or cognitive change.