Posted on December 20, 2019
To go from her second-story bedroom to her second-story bathroom, Christine Hoag had to crawl. The bathroom doorframe was not wide enough for her wheelchair to fit through, the hall was too narrow for her chair to turn around and the bathroom itself was so cramped she could barely move between the tub and toilet.
“It felt like I had lost every shred of my dignity,” she says. She also, because of the crawling, had suffered multiple back injuries.
Hoag has Shy-Drager syndrome, a nervous system disorder with symptoms that resemble Parkinson’s disease. A related condition causes low blood pressure and tachycardia, which can produce lightheadedness and put her at risk of falling every time she transitions from sitting to standing. For a proudly independent entrepreneur who once founded her own home care company, the prospect of moving to a nursing home was not appealing. “I want to stay in my home,” she told me, and “have a nice quality of life as long as I’m here.”