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Eng105 Critical Reading, Writing and Thinking Across Contexts

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FEBRUARY 21, 2016



    People within society often times are very judgmental of a person’s appearance based their perception of what they see. They really do not have any idea of a disability resulting from an illness or disease, if the disability is not apparent when the person is viewed with the naked eye. Some people have conditions that warrant them to be classified as a disabled person by competent medical authority.  The focus of this essay is to identify and raise awareness of a condition that has been identified as a disabling condition, but is not immediately recognizable to the average person as a disability. There are many misconceptions about people that have this disorder; they are considered to be lazy and that if they would exercise daily, they would get better. People with this condition often require the use of walkers and wheel chairs when they are experiencing a crisis situation. It has been said that they abuse the use of handicap placards and that their condition is a figment of their imagination.  This is a real condition that does exist; however, it is a very rare condition that is unknown to the general populace. There is no cure; signs and symptoms can be relieved through the use of medications and treatments.  Only medical professionals trained in the treatment of this condition would immediately recognize a person experiencing symptoms of the condition.  The condition that I am speaking of is Myasthenia Gravis. The truth about this condition is that during a crisis situation, a person suffering from a Myasthenia Gravis is unable to perform normal functions, such as using the bathroom, and bathing. The symptoms during a crisis situation are apparent by weakness of major muscle groups in the body.

  The average person in society does not recognize or understand that Myasthenia Gravis is a debilitating disease that can ultimately lead to death; if not recognized and properly treated. During a crisis, the muscles that control the lungs when breathing cease to function, causing the body not to ventilate properly. These episodes require immediate medical attention and the use of a respirator to aid with breathing. “Myasthenia Gravis is a chronic autoimmune neuromuscular disease characterized by varying degrees of weakness of the skeletal (voluntary) muscles of the body. Symptoms vary in type and intensity. The hallmark of Myasthenia Gravis is muscle weakness that increases during periods of activity and improves after periods of rest. Muscles that control eye and eyelid movement, facial expression, chewing, talking, and swallowing are often, but not always, involved. Myasthenia Gravis is caused by a defect in the transmission of nerve impulses to muscles. Normally when impulses travel down the nerve, the nerve endings release a neurotransmitter substance called acetylcholine. Myasthenia Gravis, antibodies produced by the body’s own immune system block, alter, or destroy the receptors of acetylcholine. The first noticeable symptom of Myasthenia Gravis may be weakness of the eye muscles, difficulty in swallowing, or slurred speech. Myasthenia Gravis is an autoimmune disease because the immune system—which normally protects the body from foreign organisms—mistakenly attacks itself. It is not directly inherited nor is it contagious”. [1]  Myasthenia Gravis is a costly condition because it requires multiple visits throughout the year to see specialist that are trained in the treatment of the condition coupled with the required medication. Myasthenia Gravis crisis situations are more costly because they generally require visits to the emergency room for treatment, which are much more expensive than a visit to a primary care physican.

  Early in my life, I was often referred to as being lazy while participating in any activity which required the physical exertion of the muscles. I did not learn until I became an adult and had my three children that I was suffering from Myasthenia Gravis.  In 1992, I began experiencing severe muscle weakness, blurred vision, and slurred speech. My initial visit to the doctor to have what I was experiencing diagnosed resulted in a diagnosis of chronic fatigue syndrome. I was prescribed anti-depressants, and placed on a strict diet and encouraged to get as much rest as possible. My symptoms continued to worsen to the point that I could not step up on anything without my muscles giving away, resulting in a fall. Feeling totally frustrated and depressed, I finally one day went to an emergency room. Upon my arrival, I explained the symptoms that I was experiencing, and was referred to a neurologist. I made an appointment to see the neurologist and had subsequent visits for the next ten weeks; before a determination was reached that I had Myasthenia Gravis.

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