Fibromyalgia Did Not Keep Florence Knightingale From Her Duty

Fibromyalgia is a very crippling disorder. Many people today suffer from this infliction. The name is very common but even doctors are baffled by it. How does a person come down with it? How can it be prevented? How is it diagnosed? Some people have to sit back and watch loved ones suffer from this chronic and sometimes horrifying disorder. Horrifying, not because they grow spots or their eye falls out or anything, it is just horrifying to see the ones who suffer deal with such excruciating bouts of pain that almost cripple them. The disorder is a tricky and confusing thing to pinpoint and diagnose. The disorder attacks the muscles and even the brain. The symptoms can vary from person to person and the disorder also reacts differently to each individual patient. This makes finding a diagnosis exceptionally difficult. Doctors cannot just do a blood test or a C-scan. Most times several diagnosis will come about before fibromyalgia will come into play. This frustrates patients’ especially when the pain doesn’t settle or go away and comes on for no explained reason. Diagnose can take years with no positive outcome, even after a diagnosis.

There are many different celebrities that suffer from this infliction. One famous woman in particular, just showed how inner strength and determination are the only real ways of battling it. Florence Nightingale battled the disorder all her career but despite the pain and fogy brain associated with the disorder she kept writing and working in the hospital. She was 34-years-old at the time the inflection hit her. Fibromyalgia was not a common name and doctors felt she came down with the fever that was running ramped through the hospital.

Nightingale had made quite the name for herself by then. She had changed the sanitation of the hospitals and equipment. This brought about a much lower death rate of patience by over two-thirds.

One of the symptoms of the disorder is sleeplessness. She would use that time to walk the halls with a lamp and continue to care for the patients even through the night. Her compassion for her staff and patience became well known. She continued on caring for patients, and after a year she left that hospital in Crimea and went home to Lea Hurst. The disorder was still in its early stages which allowed her to write books on her observations at the hospital. Fibromyalgia has a symptom that effects the brain, making a sufferer unable to make coherent thoughts. This is called the “Fibro Fogy Brain.” She still managed to keep her wits about her and changed the lives of many patients.

By the age of 38 however, the disorder was too much for her and she became bedridden. Still determined to keep working as she knew nursing was her calling, she began to write books. She interviewed politicians from her bedside. She was the advocate for better hospital reform and advised improvements from her bedside. Her first book, published in 1858, was called Notes on Matters Affecting the Health. This was her first project after being bedridden. The pain continued to ravage her body for years, but as the years progressed, she still wrote books even as the Fibromyalgia crippled her body, though it never affected her mind.

When new hospitals were in the works her books were consulted, as well as herself in the proper sanitation of the facilities. She was also the first ever to implement food kitchens put in hospitals and laundry facilities so that every patent was given clean sanitary bedding and gowns.

In 1908, at the age of 88, Nightingale was given a Merit of Honor by King Edward. By then she had been bedridden for 50 years. She suffered from Fibromyalgia for the majority of her life. At the age of 90, she finally gave up the fight and died peacefully in her sleep.

By Sherry Raymond

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