Tag Archives: person

STIFF-PERSON SYNDROME

When Laura was thirty years old, she began having episodes of muscle stiffness in the trunk of her body and in her limbs. During these episodes, she would also have severe and prolonged muscle spasms in her legs. As a result, she fell several times. She also suffered from anxiety and depression.

Laura made an appointment with her primary care physician. After ordering some initial testing, the doctor referred Laura to a neurologist. Laura also saw physicians in several other fields including allergy and immunology, rheumatology, and orthopedic surgery. Three years later, she was diagnosed with Stiff-Person Syndrome.

Stiff-Person Syndrome, originally called Stiff-Man Syndrome, is a rare disease which affects only one in a million people. The syndrome affects twice as many women as men. According to the Cleveland Clinic article “Stiff-Person Syndrome/Cleveland Clinic” at https://my.cleveland clinic.org/health articles, it is characterized by “muscle stiffness in the trunk and limbs and heightened sensitivity to noise, touch, and emotional distress, which can set off muscle spasms.” Patients may have abnormal posture, such as being hunched over. Muscle spasms and muscle rigidity may cause patients to fall.

Individuals usually start experiencing symptoms between ages thirty and sixty. Because the disease is so rare, getting a diagnosis can take years. According to the Cleveland Clinic article, “One commonly used tool is a blood test to detect the presence of glutamic acid decarboxylase (GAD) antibodies. About 60-80% of affected people have antibodies against GAD that can be detected on a blood test. Therefore, the absence of GAD antibodies does not rule out SPS, but the presence of high levels of GAD antibodies in people with symptoms of SPS strongly supports the diagnosis.”

Treatment of Stiff-Person Syndrome focuses on the specific symptoms present in each person. Doctors may prescribe benzodiazepines, diazepam, or baclofen to treat muscle stiffness and spasms. Pain medications and anti-seizure medications may also be effective for some patients. In addition, doctors may prescribe antidepressants to relieve the anxiety and depression associated with Stiff-Person Syndrome.

If you have a family member who suffers from Stiff-Person Syndrome and needs private duty nursing, call American Home Health at (630) 236-3501. The agency can provide round-the-clock nursing care by Registered Nurses (RNs), Licensed Practical Nurses (LPNs), and Certified Nursing Assistants (CNAs). Our service area covers fifteen counties in Northern Illinois including Cook, Lake, McHenry, Boone, Winnebago, Ogle, Lee, DeKalb, DuPage, Kane, Kendall, LaSalle, Grundy, Will, and Kankakee. American Home Health is licensed by the State of Illinois and accredited by the Joint Commission.

For further information, go to www.ahhc-1.com, or call (630) 236-3501.

—By Karen Centowski

NEED A LYFT?

Transportation

If you need a ride home from a concert or a ballgame or a party in downtown Chicago, have you considered calling Lyft?  Would you call Lyft to take you to the airport?  Do you feel comfortable having a Lyft driver?  How much do you know about Lyft?

Launched in 2012 by Logan Green and John Zimmer, Lyft is a ridesharing company which links passengers who need rides with driver who have cars.  On its Lyft page, Wikipedia explains, “All drivers must undergo the following screening process:

  • Department of Motor Vehicle, national sex offender registries, and personnel-type criminal background checks. The criminal background check goes back seven years and includes national and county-level databases, as well as national sex offender registries.
  • In-person interviews with current Lyft drivers.
  • Drivers must be 21 years or older and have had a driver’s license for more than 1 year.
  • Zero-tolerance drug and alcohol policy.”

Wikipedia continues, “Riders must download the Lyft app to their iOS or Android-based phone, sign up, enter a valid phone number, and enter a valid form of payment (either a credit card or a link to a Google Wallet or Pay Pal account). When a passenger wants a ride, he or she opens the app and requests a ride from a nearby driver.  Once confirmed, the app shows the driver’s name, their ratings by past passengers, and photos of the driver and their car.”

When the ride is completed, funds are debited to the passenger’s credit card or Google Wallet or the Pay Pal account.  Lyft takes 20% to 25% off the top as business revenue.  The remainder goes to the driver’s account.

Lyft drivers are allowed to accept tips.  100% of the tip goes to the driver.  Since Lyft is a cashless platform, the tip is processed through the app, the receipt, or a member of the Lyft staff.

Drivers and passengers rate each other on a five-star scale after each ride.  The drivers are very aware that they must maintain a high approval rating in order to continue as a Lyft driver.

Lyft drivers have complained about the huge amount that Lyft takes off the top.  In addition, they often describe the amount earned per hour as far less than the $35.00 advertised.  They say that the advertised amount earned per hour does not take into account the cost of gas, wear and tear on the vehicle, insurance, car washes, repairs, etc.  These business expenses may reduce their actual earning to $6.00 or less per hour.

In addition, drivers may sit for hours waiting for a rider in their area. If no rider requests a Lyft, the drivers earn nothing.  Some have devised a strategy for being available.  For example, a driver may choose to work 4:00 A.M. to 11:00 A.M. to take businessmen to the airport.

All in all, it’s up to you.  If you feel comfortable with Lyft, give them a call.  If not, make other arrangements.

—By Karen Centowski