Personal Views

What I might have been

BMJ 1996; 312 doi: http://dx.doi.org/10.1136/bmj.312.7041.1307 (Published 18 May 1996) Cite this as: BMJ 1996;312:1307
  1. Sue Ruben

    The past 37 years have been shaped and overshadowed by the fact that I have a minor disability. I am dystonic down the left side of my body and until recently I thought that this was due to a structural lesion in my basal ganglia, caused by the measles virus. I only asked my general practitioner if I could be referred to another neurologist to help me justify my decision to finally apply for a disabled sticker for my car.

    I had not seen a neurologist for 10 years and had come to terms with my diagnosis as best I could, but I needed an expert's permission for the orange badge. I have always resisted artificial aids, preferring to stagger about, although I had reluctantly started using a stick for long walks and evenings, which are my worst time.

    I have seen neurologists on and off all my life. As a small child in Belfast my initial diagnosis was made by a wonderful doctor, Louis Herwitz, who has been a lifelong inspiration to me. He was the adult who encouraged rather than restricted me. He always spoke to me not my …

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