Multiple sclerosis (MS) is a chronic inflammatory demyelinating disease of the central nervous system. Along with epilepsy, it is one of the most common neurological diseases in young adults. Most patients are between 20 and 40 years old when symptoms first appear. In more than one-third of patients, MS begins with sensory disturbances: Arms or legs feel numb or the skin tingles. The aim of therapeutic measures is to maintain the patient's independence in everyday life. The best achievable quality of life should be ensured for the patient.
Achim Dold was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis in 1990. At that time, he did not know what it meant for him and how to deal with it. His first stay at Kliniken Schmieder followed in 1995, and since then the 62-year-old has come every year for rehabilitation and is grateful for this opportunity.
"In 1990, I was on the tennis court and could no longer see a ball. Then I first went to the ophthalmologist. At that time, there were hardly any neurologists, so I mainly went to my family doctor. I only got the diagnosis in hospital when the head doctor tapped me on the shoulder and said 'You have MS. You can go home tomorrow'. I didn't know much about it and took it as it was, thinking nothing bad about it. I can walk badly - then, as now. I have strength problems, poor endurance, balance problems, and fatigue syndrome. So I am often very exhausted, as if my battery is flat.
It was only after five years that my new doctor was able to explain to me what MS actually was. She then arranged for me to come to Kliniken Schmieder for rehabilitation. My expectations of the rehab were low. But during the four weeks I was so surprised at what was possible here. I unconsciously got involved and owe a lot to the therapists. That's why I'm always drawn back to Kliniken Schmieder.
Here you are simply among like-minded people. People understand each other. It's very nice to get together in small groups and talk. I don't make any close friends, but every meeting here helps me. That's why I find the psychological support very important - whether in interactive groups, in individual psychological talks, or with the doctors.
Here I can completely switch off, as I am far away from everyday life. It is important for me to concentrate fully on the therapies. Of course it's a pity that I don't have my environment. But my wife understands. Here you have the help that you can't get at home in everyday life. Body, mind, and soul are one, I can totally listen to myself. Since my problems are mainly physical deficits, physiotherapy is particularly beneficial for me. Especially in the beginning it is very important, so that you know: It can work again. It doesn't stay like that.
Back then, it would have taken me ages to walk to the toilet. Now it's going better again. My stays are always similar: in the first week I let go, I'm away from civilisation and do my therapies. In the second and third week it always goes downhill, physically and psychologically, because my body is not used to the multitude of treatments. And then in the fourth week I notice how it gets better and stabilises at some point until I go home. I always go home better than when I came. That's for sure.
For me, staying here is like medication. Although the disease can never be completely cured, I go through life with the attitude that despite the negatives, there are also many positives. For example, I met my wife here. We get through all the difficult times together and she gives me a lot of strength. On the 20th anniversary of the day we met, we got engaged and are now married. That is the positive thing for me. I have become aware that you can also have beautiful experiences, despite your handicap. You just have to not let yourself down, otherwise you've already lost. In my 1039 days here, almost 3 years in total, I have learned a lot and I am grateful to have such good support from Kliniken Schmieder. I always say "the mountain helps me".