All About Multiple Sclerosis

More MS news articles for November 2002

Giving thanks for ...A place to call home

http://www.mtlakenews.com/mtlakenews/myarticles.asp?p=591889&S=335&PubID=10250&mscssid=&EC=0

Nov 28, 2002
By Julie Falk
 
Brigetta Fast celebrated her birthday 16 days ago. She turned 47. She went shopping to commemorate the occasion.

She loves to shop. This Thanksgiving Day she has a lot to be thankful for and the ability to go grocery shopping ranks right at the top.

Brigetta Fast celebrated her birthday 16 days ago. She turned 47. She went shopping to commemorate the occasion.

She loves to shop. This Thanksgiving Day she has a lot to be thankful for and the ability to go grocery shopping ranks right at the top.

Brigetta has Multiple Sclerosis, a neurological disease she was diagnosed with in 1980, of which there is no known cause or cure.

Because of the illness, she has spent seven years of her life in a nursing home.

This Thanksgiving will be different. On October 31, she moved into a house in Mt. Lake.

“Nursing homes are a good place, but not for people in my age group,” she said.

Other people agreed with her and helped start the first group home for the physically handicapped.

The home is owned by Mark and Sharron Hanson of Mt. Lake and leased to Habilitative Services Inc. (HSI), of Lakefield.

HSI company operates several group homes for individuals with developmental disabilities, but this home in Mt. Lake, is the company’s first for those who require round-the-clock care for physical needs.

Brigetta noted that the move was the best option that’s come along in a long time. Citing her only other option was to move to the Twin Cities, which she wasn’t crazy about since her support network is here.

She has three children, Matthew, 26, Misty, 23 and Melanie, 19, along with one grandson, Hayden, who is 6.

“I don’t like having MS. I think it’s a dirty, rotten, thing — but, I have what I have and there’s nothing I can do about it. We think life needs to be fair to us but life’s not always fair. That’s just the way it is.

She’s quick to give credit where she believes credit is due. “Where God guides - God provides. He’s always been there for me.

“We tend to think we are so important - but we’re not. The hole we leave in life is the same hole that’s left in a pail of water when someone sticks their hand in and pulls it back out,” Brigetta said.

With that philosophy, she has learned to roll with the punches. Brigetta lived in a nursing home from 1986 to 1989 when she moved to her own apartment in Butterfield and then St. James.

She entered the Good Samaritan Village in Mt. Lake in 1998, for what was supposed to be a short stay. She then suffered kidney failure and was never able to return to her apartment in St. James. Thus, she remained there until this recent move.

Her new residence, located on the north end of 8th Street, was selected since it was already handicap accessible with a ramp in the garage and wide halls and doorways.

The Hansons completed numerous other remodeling projects to help make the home more user friendly.

HSI is currently looking for other people, under the age of 65, with physical needs, who would benefit by living in the house.

Brigetta receives round-the-clock care from nine different HSI staff members who reside in Mt. Lake, Windom and St. James.

They keep the home fires burning by cooking, cleaning and other day-to-day activities.

“They have been keeping me very entertained. This year I was able to go to city hall to vote instead of voting by absentee ballot. I also got to go to the Friday evening perfomance of No, No, Nanette, said Brigetta who loves to be involved in those types of activities instead of just hearing about them.

“It’s a laid back atmosphere where I get to help with daily activities like meal planning and grocery shopping,” said Brigetta who chuckled when the staff said they choose to eat out when she picks fish five days in a row.

So what’s on the menu for Thanksgiving Day? Pizza.
 

© Copyright 2002, Observer/Advocate