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Michele Tripi is 58. A native of the Cleveland, Ohio, area, she was diagnosed with ALS (also called Lou Gehrig’s disease) at 55. It is a disease that progressively disables nerve cells in the brain and the spinal cord, leading to death.
One by one ALS takes things away, like the ability to walk, sit upright, use your hands, even to speak. It took away Michele’s ability to work on her beloved art projects by herself.
Knowing her prognosis, she didn’t want to have strangers involved in her care, or in helping her family, in the last stages of her disease. Bringing in Hospice of the Western Reserve (Northern Ohio) as soon as she could helped Michele get to know their team of experts, and has enabled them to help her make the most of what she is still able to do.
She loves the encouragement her nurses provide, and cherishes the friendship they’ve developed so that Michele never feels like strangers are coming into her home.
Her music therapist has arranged to have some of Michele’s poetry set to music to create original songs. Her art therapist, Holly, has helped Michele make new memories with her grandkids – including an extravagant tea party complete with homemade hats.
Holly also has helped Michele direct her husband, Joe – who she calls “her hands” – to create one-of-a-kind masterpieces that will serve as part of her legacy to her family.
It’s why she tells people to think about involving hospice early because as she says, “It doesn’t im-prove the quality of your life if you wait till the end. I stayed healthier, stayed happier being at home.”
“Hospice has been a key factor in that.”
Michele Tripi died on December 30, 2014. She was 59 years old.
To learn more about Hospice of the Western Reserve, click here.
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