Author Delores Warner is my husband's Aunt. Her husband 'Vern' was diagnosed with ALS (Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis) also known as Lou Gehrig's Disease. So it brings me great honor to have Delores on the show today to share her story.
For 18 months after being diagnosed with ALS, Vern's body rapidly deteriorated. The former U.S. Army serviceman, successful construction company owner and active outdoorsman eventually required round-the-clock care. Confined to a bed in a room of the Auburn house that he built, Vern had lost the ability to feed and clean himself.
Vern's suffering came to an end on June 23, 2010. He was 76.
His wife, Delores Warner, recently self-published a book, "Don't Buy Too Many Green Bananas: Living with ALS." The personal story chronicles his struggle with the disease — and his family's emotional experience as caregivers. The book includes advice to make life easier for home caregivers.
One silver lining in the caregiving journey was the assistance from the Veterans Administration Hospital at Joint Base Lewis-McChord. Vern had served in the U.S. Army in Germany during the Korean War, making him eligible for treatment and a disability check. U.S. military veterans are more likely to develop the debilitating disease than those with no military service, according to the ALS Association. In 2008, the Department of Veterans Affairs declared ALS as a service-connected disease. As a result, military veterans who are diagnosed with ALS are eligible for health care and disability benefits.