When Lindsay Eger woke up on the morning of July 6, 2019, she instantly knew something was very wrong. The healthy 31-year old Regina woman was numb along the entire left side of her body. When she didn’t regain feeling, she decided to call an ambulance. Thus began a year-long journey, and a great appreciation of the quality of care available in Regina’s hospitals.
“It was very scary at first,” Lindsay admits. “I went to bed feeling great, and woke up unable to use the left side of my body. Not knowing what was happening, or why, was frightening!”
Lindsay was taken to Regina General Hospital, where she would spend the next three weeks undergoing a battery of diagnostic tests, including several MRIs. Ultimately, the medical team arrived at a diagnosis of multiple sclerosis (MS), a disease that attacks the central nervous system. At that point, Lindsay was transferred to the Wascana Rehabilitation Centre (WRC), where she would spend the next three months, literally re-learning how to stand up and walk.
Canada has one of the highest rates of multiple sclerosis (MS) in the world, with an estimated 77,000 Canadians living with the disease. Saskatchewan has one of the highest rates in the world, with 314 cases for every 100,000 people in the province.
One of the challenges medical teams encounter with MS patients is the wide range of symptoms and long-term effects of the disease. Some patients regain full mobility, others make a partial recovery, while in some extreme cases, patients never walk again. Lindsay’s team had to prepare her for many different recovery scenarios, with treatment plans tailored to her specific case.
“When I started with the Adult Rehabilitation program at WRC, I couldn’t even get out of my wheelchair without help,” Lindsay says. “In fact, I didn’t know for sure if I’d ever get out of that chair. But thanks to the help of the amazing team at WRC, three months later I walked out the front door.”
“I can’t say enough about the incredible care I received from my medical team,” Lindsay continues. “I had doctors and nurses, physical and occupational therapists, a physiatrist and a social worker all working together, and meeting regularly to compare notes and develop my treatment plans. My partner also came to see me almost every day, and he even brought our dog along sometimes to lift my spirits. I had a lot of people in my corner!”
Today, Lindsay describes her recovery as 90 per cent complete. She still experiences some weakness on the left side of her body, but she’s back to working full-time (from home), and walking without assistance. She completed her physical therapy in March of this year, and receives a semi-annual IV infusion of a drug that will hopefully prevent her MS from progressing.
“Lindsay’s story highlights the reasons the Foundation invests in technology and equipment for our rehabilitation programs at WRC,” says Dino Sophocleous, president and CEO, Hospitals of Regina Foundation. “Our medical teams are second to none. When we can equip them with the best possible technology, we make lives better for so many people in southern Saskatchewan – people just like Lindsay.”