A Dungannon woman’s story of accessing online help for a relapse of Multiple Sclerosis during the lockdown, has helped inspire more people to come forward and seek help.
Teresa O’Kane said she began to feel dizzy and disorientated when out shopping on Good Friday.
Her symptoms became so bad, that she was unable to open her front door and when her husband helped her inside to bed where she remained for three weeks.
“My husband had to take me to the bathroom and feed me because I couldn’t use a knife and fork. It was just horrendous,” she said.
“I couldn’t co-ordinate my movements and my speech was so badly slurred my husband couldn’t make out what I was saying”.
Previously, Teresa had been prescribed steroids to help her recover but her GP told her not to take them because they would suppress her immune system and put her at greater risk of contracting coronavirus.
Her symptoms were so severe at one point she feared she would have to go to hospital.
The Dungannon Multiple Sclerosis Support Group – which has received funding from the National Lottery for the online video physio support and has featured on national television adverts – stepped in to offer help and guidance to Teresa.
She was contacted by physiotherapist Andrew Creaney from The Physio Studio in Dungannon and using Zoom video conferencing he assessed her condition and showed her a series of exercises to help ease the pain of her sciatica.
“I was able to give her a bit of advice and help [her sciatica] clear up and make life more tolerable. Andrew was my lifesaver, he really was.”
Andrew said the video call also helped to break the isolation felt by many of those forced to shield during the pandemic.
“Seeing a physio and having a chat to someone outside of their household can be helpful. Just talking to someone is important. The conversation starts with the health matter at hand, but extends to ‘how are you coping in general?’”, he said.
Basil Davidson MBE who is the chair of Dungannon Multiple Sclerosis Support Group said the help for Teresa had given a boost to the whole group.
“The impact of the Covid-19 lockdown resulted in many of the members having to shield therefore missing out on interaction with other members and not being able to attend a health and well-being programme which the group had arranged through Andrew Creaney from The Physio Studio in Dungannon,” he said.
“Using Zoom the physiotherapist was able to assist Teresa O’Kane and the other members of the group by assessing them and offering support in how to manage their pain. This has been of huge benefit to the members.”
He added, “The success of this National Lottery funded project has resulted in publicity on national TV, radio and various social media platforms giving the members a huge boost. This project has resulted in numerous enquiries about the work of the Dungannon Multiple Sclerosis Support Group and has resulted in an increase in membership of the group.”
The Dungannon Multiple Sclerosis Support Group can be contacted through their Facebook and Instagram pages.
Posted: 5:47 pm June 5, 2020