Bye Sandy



If you have been paying attention here, you’ll have noticed that there have been 6 trips to Florida in the last 5 months. Most of my faithful readers know the reason for them, for the rest of you, this is why.

Last March Donna’s younger sister Sandy started to notice some weakness in her legs. In early April she had a fall while climbing the stairs in her house. First thought was a slight stroke, but that was ruled out after testing. More appointments, more tests and a lot of things were considered then ruled out; Guillain-Barre, Lyme disease, MS. As Sherlock said, “Once you eliminate the impossible, whatever remains, no matter how improbable, must be the truth.” In June, Sandy was diagnosed as having Lou Gehrig’s, AKA Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis.

Average life expectancy from diagnosis is around 4 years. Some folks live a very long time, Stephen Hawking has been living with ALS for 50 years, but he is an anomaly. Unfortunately, so too was Sandy an anomaly, but the other way. Within 3 months she was practically a quadriplegic.

There is no known cause for ALS, but in 10% of the cases there is hereditary connection. For the other 90%, the potential causes, for which there is inconclusive evidence, include head trauma, military service, frequent drug use, and participation in contact sports. Sandy never played football, but she did spend 4 years in the United States Air Force and as such was eligible for VA health care.

While visiting the VA Hospital in Miami, in mid October Sandy suffered a stroke that hit her in the area of the brain that controls speech, which tragically was about the only thing she still had control over. On Tuesday November 4th with friends and family at her side, per her wishes, Sandy was weened off her respirator and passed away peacefully.

To know Sandy was to love Sandy and this world is not as nice a place as it once was because she is no longer in it.