Affinity Home Care Agency shared flowers this month with Patricia and Phil Ruehl. Patricia has been a long term client with Affinity. Originally from Cincinnati, Patricia and her husband, Phil also lived for 15 years in Lexington, Kentucky. Patricia worked at both the University of Kentucky and the University of Cincinnati as a cancer researcher lab technician. While at the University of Kentucky, Patricia researched chemicals that could potentially cause cancer and while at the University of Cincinnati she created water testing samples to check for its purity.
In 1994 Phil and Patricia moved to the Detroit area and Patricia became a paraprofessional in local schools helping children. Phil and Patricia started their family, but not without their struggles. Tragically they lost 2 of their 3 pregnancies. Patricia is lucky to be alive after one of the catastrophic miscarriages where she needed several pints of emergency blood. Fortunately, their son was born healthy and Patricia stopped working when they decided he needed her home. 14 years ago, when Patricia was 48 yrs old she was diagnosed with myotonic dystrophy, a rare form of muscular dystrophy. It was determined that the pregnancies they lost were due to this genetic disease. The diagnosis was staggering and incredibly rare. At the time, there were only 30,000 people with the debilitating disease. Since it is a form of muscular dystrophy, it is a disorder that affects muscular function. Common symptoms are early cataracts and heart condition problems. Patricia had cataracts in her 30s and suffered a heart attack. There is no cure and Patricia had a slow decline until the disease was in full swing.
Patricia keeps a great attitude. Phil says they feel very fortunate that Patricia can still transfer to her scooter 14 years after her initial diagnosis. Doctors didn’t know much about myotonic dystrophy when she was diagnosed and Patricia has surpassed all preliminary prognosises. Patricia loves to play sudoku and crossword on her phone. Her mind is sharp! She loves to read and mostly uses paperbacks now since they are easier to handle. Phil says Patricia loved to cook family meals celebrating every birthday and all holidays. Phil loved to talk about how Patricia was an expert decorator when it came to making the home feel festive around the holidays! It’s more difficult to do those things now, but they have fantastic memories. They really enjoy when their son comes over for a meal and weekly visits. Due to Patricia’s respiratory difficulties that come with myotonic dystrophy, they tend to limit the visitors and outings when flu season hits to protect Patricia. However, that doesn’t seem to slow Patricia down and Phil is such a delight to talk to about Patricia. He acknowledges her challenges on a daily basis, but he immediately focuses on what she still does every day!
Affinity is honored to be able to help make Patricia and Phil’s days a little easier. Getting to know our amazing clients and their families makes our job so rewarding. Thank you, Patricia and Phil Ruehl for welcoming Affinity into your home and sharing your story. Thank you for letting us care for you. We honor Patricia Ruehl with our special flower bouquet of the month.