19 Pages

Motor neurone disease in the context of life

Experiencing onset and diagnosis

The disentangling of the effects of ageing from those associated with the presence of a particular and very serious medical condition is not always an easy process for those intricately and personally bound up with both. Personal as well as social expectations of being older (let alone being old) often appear to focus on the increasing extent to which the physical body cannot function as it used to do, and on the increasing array of everyday symptoms which may be associated with the longer-term wear and tear of a lifetime’s experiences and traumas. Such general understandings make it problematic initially for many people to work out what domain to place their symptoms in - that of the anticipated and ‘normal’ problems of an ageing body, or that of the untoward and abnormal onset of a potentially serious disease. The issue is how the identification occurs of what subsequently prove to be those special symptoms which, put together in a particular order within a particular life history by (usually) medical men, mean ‘motor neurone disease’.