"I was in Ireland on two occasions. On both, the people I saw - Mary Bartley, Grace O’Sullivan and Oisin Mannion - knew the importance of having their families around them as their most immediate support group. Sadly, they also felt the lack of timely attention from specialists.
In Ireland, as neurologist Orla Hardiman mentions, the ratio of neurologists compared to other nations is really low. The average waiting time for a person to see a neurologist causes a delay in diagnosis and this delay can have long-lasting, detrimental effects on people with MS since they will also be delayed in getting the right treatment that could slow down the progression of the disease.
Mary and Eamon’s Irish sense of humor was unbroken during my stay with them. This proves to be a good ‘medicine’ against the daily grind of this tiresome condition. It is a reminder of how one can put on a brave face when dealing with challenging situations.
Grace, luckily, has a sister who is a doctor. Through her, Grace was able not only to see a neurologist very soon, but also to have the rare luck of getting diagnosed within a year of her first symptoms. To show the invaluable effect of this, Grace is already on treatment, with the medication she needs, and is able to lead an active lifestyle. Moreover, her able body also allows her the chance of working as a teacher, thus allowing her to lead a life beyond MS. However, as mentioned, this is only possible since she is related to a doctor. Others, she acknowledges, have to wait a much longer time to see a neurologist. She is the perfect example of what could be possible for people with MS in Ireland if the required medical attention were promptly given."