Beth and Randy Paullus of Hermiston, Oregon are doing their best to prepare for an unplanned future with ALS. “You know, I’m just glad we love each other now that we have to face this.” Beth says.
The Paullus family has been in the area for decades and have a beautiful, remodeled homestead not far from the center of town – two boxer pups and a great garden to boot. Beth grew up in Hermiston and Randy came to Fossil to work at the sawmill. Beth says she’s loved him since they met at 17 years old.
Randy started having symptoms about 4-5 years ago and after a series of unhelpful surgeries, he was diagnosed with ALS at the age of 60 in January 2022. Randy worked as a full-time electrician and he and Beth owned a local electrical company they started in 2007. Always hardworking, it’s been difficult for Randy now that he can’t lift his arms or walk for a long distances – but he says, “We keep each other going.”
The ALS Association has been able to assist the Paullus family with some financial support for home remodeling, with medical equipment – like their power wheelchair through the loan closet, and through community connections and emotional support through caregiver support group meetings and conversations with the chapter’s Care Services Coordinators.
As a caregiver, Beth is trying to enjoy the time they have together while also preparing for the future care Randy will need. She is going to the gym to get stronger, remodeling the house and porch to adapt for wheelchair access and also seeing a counselor for her own self-care. Family is a nearby support system too – their daughter Brittany has also moved down from Seattle to be close and spend more time with her dad.
“You know, I thought we were done with tragedies and then this diagnosis hits us.”
The Paullus have had their fair share of loss already in their lives. They lost their baby boy Reese after a year in the hospital and their daughter was abducted for 28 hours before being found decades ago. Hospital bills piled up forcing them to declare bankruptcy during that time of their lives. The diagnosis has been a really hard new chapter of their lives – but the love they have for each other, the support of family in the area is what drives them to just keep going. Beth says, “Randy is such a strong person.”
Now Randy is trying to just learn how to, “Focus on what you have and not what you’re losing.” That is a philosophy he is continuously working to adopt – but it’s hard.