Motor Neurone Disease (MND)

Jack - Interview 03

Male
Age at interview: 61
Age at diagnosis: 60

Brief outline: Jack was diagnosed with MND a year before interview (2003), after some years of leg pain and stiffness. Symptoms have progressed slowly, still mainly leg weakness. He now uses a walking frame. (Wife Mary present, also interviewed separately MND04).

Background: Jack is a retired graphic designer, married with 3 adult children. Ethnic background/nationality' White British.

Audio & video

Jack started noticing symptoms (tingling, aching and stiffness in his legs) two and a half years ago. At the time he put it down to the fact that he was doing a lot of physical work helping his son's home improvement business, and that he needed a hernia repair operation. He mentioned it to the GP, who kept an eye on his symptoms at every appointment over some months. 

Gradually he began to find it difficult to get up from a crouching or kneeling position, and had to stop working with his son. At one visit to the GP about a year ago he found he was unable to walk in a straight line and was referred to hospital for tests. The tests included a lumbar puncture just before he was discharged, which gave him terrible headaches for nearly a week. Eventually a diagnosis of MND was confirmed. He has been taking riluzole since then. At first it made him feel light-headed but now he has no side effects. He has home visits from his GP, and sees the neurologist regularly.

Since diagnosis, Jack's symptoms have got slightly worse. He has problems with balance and turning round, and uses a walking frame, provided by his occupational therapist. He finds he needs to get up and walk around every 15-20 minutes so that he doesn't get too stiff. When his wife goes out he prefers to stay sitting in case he falls. As someone who was previously very active, he finds it frustrating not to be able to move around freely. He misses things he used to love such as gardening, walking and fishing, but tries to take each day as it comes and keep a positive frame of mind.

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