A CORK man has missed two months of infusion treatments to combat severe MS attacks for fear of contracting Covid-19 in hospital.
Dan Collins from Drimoleague said that although he has been moved up the vaccine priority list he has still not received a date for his appointment. The 44-year-old lives in Jacob's Island but had to move in with his parents in West Cork. This was in order to protect himself from the disease while construction took place on his apartment. Dan said that he has no trouble risking his own life but is not prepared to risk the lives of his elderly parents. He spoke about his struggles during MS Awareness Month which takes place all through March.
"I was contacted to say I would be brought up on the list but I still have no idea when I will get the vaccine," he said.
The treatment works by blocking the immune system's response to MS attacks.
"I have been getting infusions for 11 years now and would hate to see what I would be like without them," Dan said.
Dan, who is a wheelchair user, described the effect MS attacks can have on his whole body.
"At one stage my carer had to carry me down to my bed because I couldn't move. Basically, the only way I can describe my condition is like taking an ice cube out of the freezer and letting it on the counter to melt throughout the day. For me, it never melts completely but it gets down to a very low level, making it hard to do anything. Even if you refreeze that ice cube you can never get it back to the level it was. The cycle just continues."
He said that the type of MS he suffers from is extremely debilitating.
"It's very hard to explain. Regardless of whether I'm having infusions or not, my levels are dropping all the time."
Dan said he will resuming his monthly infusions soon.
"When the renovations on my apartment are finished I won't be staying with my parents anymore which means I can start attending hospital again. It's a risk I'm willing to take as long as I know it won't affect anyone else. I'll be going up next week with my spare hand out in case there is a chance I might finally get the vaccine. We'll just have to wait and see."
The 45-year-old said that much of his life has been spent in lockdown.
"When the pandemic first started and the MS Society phoned me the first thing I said was "welcome to my world." What is the situation for others has been my reality for a very long time. You are locked in all the time and it's hard to do anything. This has brought people down to my level. Even though it's horrible that's just the way it has gone."
Dan blasted anti-lockdown protestors he said are hampering efforts to reduce Covid cases following protests in Dublin last week.
"If they have that much energy to waste maybe they could put in some work to help others in difficult situations rather than put people like my parents at serious risk."