Archive for the ‘Pain’ Category

Margaret’s Story Part One

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OK Margaret, thank you for agreeing to do this in the first instance. I guess that you have lots of stories within your story really that you’ve experienced health care and social care from different aspects so I just wondered if you’d like to share with us your experiences and sort of start from the beginning really or start wherever makes sense?

Yes Sandra, thank you, I was diagnosed with Wegener’s granulomatosis back in 2002 and my experiences of the health care at that time were very positive. The only blip was I do recall the GP telling me to prepare for something sinister. I was having problems with the lungs and breathing and coughing and a lot of other complications but I do remember before I was actually diagnosed the GP did say ‘look, this x-ray is looking serious, prepare yourself for something sinister’ and looking back that was a little bit jumping the gun I feel now. It did put the fear into me from that, really from the word go and yet when I eventually saw the consultant it was quick actually it was a fortnight appointment, it was obvious then to him that cancer wasn’t at the top of his list

So could you just say what the actual condition means?

Yes it’s called Wegener’s granulomatosis which is named after a German doctor who came up with this idea of granulomas. So basically I have too much immunity and that works in on the body and attacks organs, so it’s a multisystem illness. In my case it was limited Wegener’s which means that the lungs and the nasal cavities were affected. In other patients, it could be the kidneys and that’s called general Wegener’s granulomatosis. But it was quite a long diagnosis period. Well I’m saying long – it was three months. But when I do look at the complications of the illness and how difficult it was to detect I think really the consultant did extremely well. I’ve heard since of patients who’ve taken a year to be diagnosed with this illness – so it was quick. He had a very good team. I was allocated a Macmillan nurse, I soon built up relationships with the phlebotomist with taking bloods, at that time it was on a weekly basis and I was seeing the pharmacist, all these health contacts, the radiographer. It was a very good team and I think that was important because I needed the confidence to wade through all the tests that were ahead of me. Some were more invasive than others and in some cases it was bloods, but it was also x-rays and biopsies and the more invasive it was, I felt I had no fear really going into these procedures but the confidence I had in the specialist did waylay a lot of my fears and worries

And it sounds like the fact that everyone was working as a team

Yes, it was collaboration and very good dialogue between primary and secondary care. The GP was always well up to speed with what was happening. And when I needed a referral into the mental health side (my mother died in the middle of my having the illness), which I’ll talk about a little bit later on, so I did need a referral for treatment of depression and the Macmillan nurse was a key player. The care spanned across different hospital sites, probably 15 mile apart so I think, when that happens, the collaboration’s really important. And I have to say that the specialist didn’t hesitate in referring me to a clinical psychologist for some psychotherapy. And that was a turning point for me as well. Having that care of both the physical illness and the mental health side, which was depression, brought about by bereavement but also brought about by the physical illness in that I had to come to terms with suddenly being quite an ill person after always being very healthy. So that’s basically what happened.

It sounds like you know what worked well for you then was the fact that people were anticipating what you needed, along with you, rather than you being sort of left? Yeah?

Yes, I think that’s right. the specialist he was the one who did spot that I was very, very down and it wasn’t doing me any favours with the physical illness. So it was immediate, he just said ‘yes, a referral’ and I got that appointment quite quickly with the clinical psychologist and she was very pivotal in my journey of recovery and building a new life, living on my own all of a sudden and getting back into the workplace. So she was very, very important as was the Macmillan nurse. There was a lot of reassurance coming from both Macmillan nurses, there were two and I got to know both of them. But they were very good from a reassurance point of view and occasions when I needed to ring up. And it was obviously harder to access the specialist although I have to say his PA was wonderful when I did need to find out perhaps the result of a blood test or the result of a biopsy. But yes, the Macmillan nurse was really a key player in the treatment. And to jump now to what happened with my mother, it was incredible really that we both fell ill at exactly the same time

So how long had you been ill before your Mam was ill?

Well it might have been one of these situations that because I was caring for my mother for quite a long time, and I do wonder looking back if that put me in jeopardy really. But I was working full time and I was looking after me mother and I could feel meself really going downhill but just assumed it was stress and feeling a bit off. And the symptoms of my illness were so gradual at first and then all of a sudden there was quite a severe attack. But I do wonder quite, you know, what the carer role that I was undertaking, what part that took in me becoming ill meself and I perhaps should have asked for more support; contacted social services and got more help. It might have well been available but there was an independent streak to me that I was trying to handle things within the family really.
So my mother had arthritis and a lot of back pain and in hindsight I think that masked the real problem that she did have which was eventually diagnosed as cancer. It was Non Hodgkin’s Lymphoma of the spinal cord. And I think I had put too much faith into some of the tests that me mother had and a lot of that might have been due to the way my illness had progressed and that when I did have x-rays, there was a result. When my mother had an x-ray it was clear, apart from the arthritis but, there was nothing showed up on that x-ray and I think I did place an awful lot of faith in that test. And I think my mother did as well. There was a sigh of relief ‘oh there’s nothing there. The x-ray’s clear’. Little did we know at the time that we should have pressed for a scan because my mother’s pain did get worse and worse and she started to be quite down and didn’t want visitors any more. Well she’d always been very sociable, so there were signs that she was more poorly than perhaps we all knew. But of course it’s seeing those signs for what they are. It’s easy to look back and recognise now but, at the time, we were very much fighting fires in that I was trying to get on top of my illness. We were both having appointments, our files were getting thicker and thicker all the time and it was just getting so complicated. But our two illnesses did impact on each other I feel, looking back. It came to crisis point when one night my mother got up to go to bed, tried to get up and, just her legs had completely gone and she said ‘I’ve got no feeling’. We rang the doctor and they said they would come out the next morning which they did and we did wonder was this a stroke or something of that nature. We just didn’t, we didn’t link the back pain with the loss of use of the legs really at that point. And I almost had to carry her to bed that night and in the middle of the night I had to carry her to the toilet. It was obvious something really was serious. And the next day the GP did an immediate referral so my mother was admitted straight away and we saw a number of specialists that day; there was a lot of waiting round you know in the department but it was obvious they were going to keep her in really and do more tests. There were more x-rays and there was the scan which immediately revealed a tumour and we then had the journey
of moving from one hospital to the other. I think there was more investigating operation and then a referral to a bigger hospital a few miles away as she ended up in intensive care and that the actual care of her at that point, it was wonderful really. I remember some Philippino nurses, the care was just terrific you know and she got settled at that hospital and then we were to move again to a bigger hospital because by that time it was obvious she was going to need the oncology side. So, still we were very concerned but it wasn’t sort of really ringing alarm bells yet; when we got to the oncology, she started having radiotherapy and you did get the feeling that that was quite intensive, just the marks on her body when I went to visit her. I thought ‘oh this seems quite an intense treatment in the radiotherapy’. No one was really explaining.

Margaret’s Story Part Two

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It was perhaps a little bit before the days of formal care plans so there wasn’t much communication and to this day I’m not really sure exactly what my mother was told because she never used the word ‘cancer’. I think she knew she was seriously ill. There was some mental health problems as well with hallucinations and delusions and we couldn’t work out what was happening there. Was it suddenly that she’d got Alzheimer’s or senility or something on top of her illness? So there was a lot of questions there as to what was happening. But she did go downhill really, really quickly. You could see every day she was losing her appetite and having trouble sleeping and

So was she still in hospital at that point?

Yes. Yes, she never, ever came home after that. I think it was the third hospital, there was a fourth one to talk about a little bit later on, but the main treatment was at the third hospital and the oncology. She spoke extremely well of the palliative care specialist. I never got to meet him but I can only say that she did really bond with this man and she trusted him and there didn’t seem to be any problem. And the clinical nursing was excellent. She was kept clean and supervised and you know I didn’t have any problem. My big hurdle was communication. I just couldn’t get any answers at all as to what the real diagnosis was and what the prognosis was. You know were we to expect the worst? I just really didn’t know and the more I tried to speak to someone, it just seemed to completely elude me. And I knew there would be a Macmillan nurse attached to the ward, you know, a big cancer ward, but it was so busy it just seemed to be working flat out. It was Christmas time and that might be another factor that just, things that perhaps should have been in place, weren’t. So I did speak to the Macmillan nurse on one occasion, but I have to say that was prompted by my own Macmillan nurse at one appointment I turned up very, very distressed and she stepped in and she said ‘look, I’ll ring this other hospital, I will try and speak direct with the Macmillan nurse and I’ll try and get you an appointment’. So eventually that happened. But she did not really know an awful lot of history about me mam; I’d never met her before obviously and I felt she didn’t quite grasp the seriousness of our situation. But she listened and I still kept beavering away, trying to get answers. I think it was,

What kind of answers did you want? What kind of information?

I just wanted to know exactly what was happening; why was my mother having stomach and bowel problems when it was a tumour in the spinal cord. I didn’t understand that. I didn’t understand what was going on in her head with the mental health side, with hallucinations that could be delusional as well and it was quite distressing

So some explanation would have helped?

Yeah, yeah. And I didn’t know either what treatment options, if any, you know. And my mum did mention chemotherapy. She said ‘well I think I’m going to have chemotherapy’ but again it was very difficult to try and get the information

So it sounds like the information that was going to your mother wasn’t getting to you and because of what was happening to her, psychologically, you know you in a way, by rights, possibly should have been given that information?

I think I definitely should have because you couldn’t rely on what my mother was saying. You know the confusion. At times, I was asking other patients at the bed next door, and, you know ‘what’s happening?’

Just trying to seek information, yeah

And it was distressing. She had to have a hoist you know to take her from bed to toilet. It was very distressing the whole experience of it. One day, I mean the thing I was expecting was the specialist to call me in, and that never happened! I just thought well you know me mum seems to be getting more and more ill, surely he’ll ask to see me

Yeah, eventually

But it just wasn’t that way at all. It was me pushing. And they arranged a meeting with the sister and a doctor and meself. So we went into this room. I did know the sister by that time quite well and there was a junior doctor, very young, junior doctor but one I hadn’t met before. And she started to explain that the cancer hadn’t spread but the general health of my mother, she did have a lot of other complex problems with kidney and hypertension, diabetes, there was a whole host of you know, illnesses there. What she said was ‘well no the cancer hasn’t spread, but you must realise that what’s going on in your mother’s body – the effects are as if the cancer had spread’. So as I understood, blood supplies weren’t getting to bowel and

Quite low

Yes. So, they weren’t sure how long. They thought perhaps weeks. But then, just out of the blue there was a suggestion that my mother go to the community hospital which was very local to where I lived and at the time I did think ‘well, yeah, that might be a solution’. So this was the run up to Christmas and, when we got to the community hospital, our own GP was there so he welcomed us. That was fine. There were a lot of local staff as well who we knew so it was much more personal and it was very, very caring. But the nursing provided in the community hospital just wasn’t geared up for dealing with the very acute symptoms like me mother had. And on Boxing Day you could see there were real problems there. They managed to get her into a bath to make her a bit more comfortable. She was still having visitors at this point. Still sitting up and chatting but poorly. And I would go and I would find medication in the blankets, you know in the bed. I think that medication would be for pain relief. But I think as well it coincided exactly with my return to work. I’d been off for nine months but there was a little bit of pressure from my occupational health to get me back to work on a phased return. Just two or three days, so I was actually at work between Christmas and New Year when I got a call to say that the community hospital just couldn’t manage, she would have to go back to the oncology department of the bigger town hospital. And yes, they did that straight away but it was quite distressing, yet another move when her pain was increasing all the time. We got back and I have to say initially she was relieved, she did say ‘ah, I’m back, I’m pleased to see those nurses’. Whether those nurses were in fact pleased to see her I’m not sure – because I did feel with it being Christmas there was sort of an impetus to get beds empty and you know, whoever could go home, even for a weekend or whatever, you know to leave the hospital so and that’s when things really started to go wrong. I mean they’d already gone wrong with the misdiagnosis in the first place, but they really went wrong in palliative care. From a clinical point of view, I have to say it was efficient and everything was above board, everything, I could see they were writing down the treatment of the pain relief and my mother had always resisted taking morphine, I think at one point when she was at home I’d perhaps said to the GP or … ‘is this not a time now’ and me mother jumped down me throat, she really, I think there were a lot of myths from her old nursing days about the treatment of morphine. But at this stage when we did get
into palliative care, that’s what the treatment was and it was difficult to know when she was in pain, when she was agitated and when she was distressed and you couldn’t really differentiate. I do recall her coming round at one point and saying ‘Mum are you in pain?’ and she did manage to nod. But I think that was the only time that she was able to give me any signal as to whether it was pain or the other symptoms; breathlessness as well. And one of the worst things that happened was when my mother was put in a side room, right next to the nurse’s station. And as I passed one day, they probably didn’t even know I was there, they were all busy, but it was just before my mother sort of went into that semi-conscious state so there were incontinence problems, she was having to you know bleep them for support and I overhead one of the male nurses say ‘oh it’s …. again’ and it was if he was complaining about her, you know that he was sick of her, you know, sick of her calling and I did think ‘well, yes I’ve heard that’ but it could have been me mam, me mum could have heard it just the same and it was an unnecessary, careless, throwaway remark, possibly the way nurses do talk amongst themselves but absolutely essential that they don’t do it within earshot of patients and families. I never said anything, I don’t think I could have really, I just was sort of operating on a day to day basis and to have tackled that issue and said ‘look, that was wrong, please don’t react like that or make any remarks’ it would have helped someone else further down the line, who might, you know might happen to and he was quite judgemental this one nurse, I remember him commenting on the time I was spending there and it was a really difficult time. I just hoped that everybody

Margaret’s Story Part Three

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would understand that I’d just come out of recovery. I’d just really stopped the heavy medication that I was on and

So it was a sensitive time?

It was a very sensitive time but I when I did have the meeting with the sister and the junior doctor she did say to me ‘well the time that you can spend with your mam, looking at the sort of pain and distress she has; that’s going to be vital and it’s going to be an enormous help to us in monitoring’. And looking back, I think that placed quite a burden on me because I did feel as if I should be there all the time, 24 hours. I just had no way of knowing when she was going to come round and that I was going to have shoot away and try and get some injection or. She was on a syringe driver at that time as well and there were perhaps times when you weren’t sure whether to run and get help or just wait until she lost consciousness again. And I felt I could have done with a little bit more help and information on that because the question in my mind was ‘do I ask the nurse to give her an injection which might disturb her further or do I just let her go back into a sleep?’ Because nine times out of ten, by the time you’d rang for that injection…

Is the difficulty about the responsibility that you had? That you felt that you’d been given?

Yes I mean I did have that responsibility because I’d been a carer so long anyway and it was hard to let go of that role. But I did feel they’d put a little, a little bit of pressure on. They offered me a bed there, I can remember that but I ended up booking into ……….. so that I had a base. I was ringing home to friends and family but I was completely alone. The snow was thick, it was icy, the hospital was about 20 miles away and I was completely on my own at that point. But I do remember contacting my own specialist. I might have even had an appointment, a routine monitoring appointment so I did see him at this time. And I said, ‘I’ve got no background of this at all, I don’t know what to do? Should I be staying 24 hours?’ and he said ‘no, you can’t do that’. He said ‘the only way a family can manage that is if there’s siblings of four

Ye, if there’s more than one of you

And you take a six hour slot, and you can cover the 24 hours. But because me mum was so frail, I did think the end would be quick. I did miss out one thing, we did have our ‘I am dying’ moment which I don’t think everybody has and in some cases perhaps the patient doesn’t know. But there was one point where my mother did say ‘I think I’m dying’. And I had to kind of give her some hope although deep down I knew there wasn’t. There was part of her that grieved for herself and there didn’t seem to be any way of tackling that. You know I really didn’t know whether that came under the umbrella of depression or what it was but there didn’t seem to be any kind of support in that

For your mam you mean? For you mam realising it was the end? You didn’t feel that that was handled or kind of, you didn’t see what you expected to see to help her deal with it?

No, I still don’t know what the answer is for that and I do raise it in some of the patient circles I work in now. So that’s still something that I do think about

So in a way she had the fear and all the feelings and it was you to confide in?

Yeah but she also had the fear of leaving me on me own. Anyway, that’s how the palliative care spanned out and it went on, in my mind it went on a long time. It was nine days. And every day you went in you kept thinking ‘this will be it’ and it just kept being prolonged really

I think that’s the difficult part isn’t it? Of that, the end of that journey is that you can’t say exactly what day it’s going to be? And that is a difficult one.

No. I did need spiritual support as well and with it being Christmas, the hospital chaplain, you know the priest, vicar, there was no one there. And people did say to me ‘oh your mum will wait ‘til the vicar comes’. Eventually he did arrive and he was a great support he was.

So that, do you think that his role was about that containment – and about your mum’s fears and feelings?

Well, I felt that was more the counselling side of things and I didn’t know who took that role and I still don’t. I don’t know whether a good Macmillan nurse might you know? I don’t know

Yeah, do you think the priest offered that, in the end?

To me, but me mum was unconscious at that point, she never got

Oh right. So she never got that comfort?

No she didn’t she didn’t but he was a comfort to me and he also started me in the planning stage

Yeah

So

The planning?

Yeah the funeral, yeah, yeah. By the time I left that hospital I knew the readings I was going to have for me mam and the hymns which, I knew what she wanted. I did have a really good idea what she wanted. But it seems awful to be planning that while she was still alive but I had to focus on something and he did give me that focus. Afterwards, I went through the practicalities and to friends and family it looked as if I was fine. I went to the GP and I started asking one or two questions about the misdiagnosis and I had suspected it was all about masking of symptoms, that the pain from the arthritis had masked the cancer pain. And I was perhaps naive in that I’d always thought there were safety nets in place that if, you know if doctors were collaborating, you know discussing a case that there would perhaps be a call for immediate referral when somebody was in really severe pain. So I didn’t really get any reassurances there. The GP said it was very unusual to contract that particular cancer at my mother’s age and that she’d been very unlucky. He then said ‘oh this might be a case we can talk about at our team meeting’.

Right

And I felt that was said with a little bit of flippancy, you know, as if ‘oh well we can make a study of this in the hope that we don’t do it next time’ but I was left with feelings that I’d let me mum down. In that I’d never pressed for a scan when she was initially ill and I should have done. And that the other guilt was that I hadn’t been there all the time when, you know when it did get into end of life, I wasn’t there all the time because I didn’t feel I could sit with her. So there was guilt associated with that. And the memories are as vivid today as they were then and I can perhaps recall most of the detail of it and I’m trying to do that, something about that, to give something to other patients in whatever way I can from a patient safety perspective and it’s led me into the world of patient involvement.

Lynsey’s Story

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Ok Lynsey, yeah, I mean it’s absolutely brilliant that you’ve offered to do this for us and you asked if I would just kind of start you off really. And my understanding is that there’s a couple of particular things that you want to kind of talk about and one being the fact that you’re deaf and the other being the fact that you’ve got cancer. And I’m just wondering which one you’d like to start telling your story about?If you want to start from the beginning, it would probably be the deafness really. I was born deaf, I was dead when I was born due to lack of oxygen to the brain and it caused the deafness. I was about three year old before anybody took any notice and I got diagnosed with deafness and then I got my hearing aids and I went through school and I got bullied basically and stuff like that through being deaf, being called deaf lugs and it was quite hard really. But I did have a close friend who used to come into me lessons with me and so if I couldn’t lipread the teacher or hear her through the equipment I had properly, she would look at me and tell me what the teacher was saying and stuff. And then as I got older I got more embarrassed, embarrassed about being deaf, started like pulling me hair over me hearing aids and you know if I didn’t hear what anybody was saying I’d back out of the conversation, slink away and stuff like that. And I just wouldn’t go out socialising a lot because I thought if people knew I was deaf they wouldn’t want nowt to do with me, they’d pick on me basically. Then as I got into seniors I started mischievous and being kicked out of lessons deliberately because, for that reason, because I didn’t have the confidence so I thought if I got kicked out of the lessons and then I can’t bullied and nobody would find out I was deaf and stuff. Then there used to be a woman who came out every week to help with me speech and stuff like that. I started not wanting to see her anymore and just, you know, just all embarrassing stuff. So as I got older I started going out and I wouldn’t mix with new people who didn’t know me because like I say boyfriends I was more frightened of that if they found out I was deaf they wouldn’t want nothing to do with me and that. Then I heard about, when I was 20, I heard about cochlear implants to make you hear again sort of, so I went ahead and seen about that and I qualified for it. And when I was 21, I got the operation and for the first few months it was brilliant, I heard car engines, birds and you know, stuff I’d never heard before. It was magnificent, brilliant and then I started getting seizures. We didn’t know what was causing these seizures so I got put under mental health for a while and this went on for three and half year; throughout, my argument was it was only when I got the implant in this started. But a couple of people said it could be you know one of the electrodes hitting a nerve and then another one said it might be your tolerance can’t take it, but they would never like write it down on paper or anything. So I went to see a solicitor about it and in the end I’d had enough, I just said I’d just want the implant out and the doctor agreed to take the implant out within two weeks and I’ve never had another seizure since.But I had to, I lost a lot of my life for that because before the seizures I was doing driving lessons, sign language courses, hair and beauty and all different kind of courses because I was trying to get on, because I’ve always wanted to work with deaf children, that was me aim to aim for and I had to pack the lot up because of the seizures. And then just after the seizures stopped, I tried to get meself back on me feet again you know, start to get the confidence to go out again and stuff like that – I mean get it into my head I’m not going to have a fit and stuff, I started having problems with bleeding and that but I used to go abroad a lot but I used to take the pill and that stopping and starting so I wouldn’t have a period when I was on holiday so I just put it down to that and that was in the October time. And then over the Christmas, the January I started having dreams that I had cancer and then we went on a cruise at the end of January, beginning of February and I started noticing blood clots and you know stuff like that and when I come home I just decided to go and see a doctor who done some tests and stuff. It took a couple of weeks after that before they done a smear and then I got called straight back in and that’s when I found out I had cervical cancer.So, it was just, the morning before I found out about it I’d just been watching about Jade Goody on the tele and then to go and find out I had it meself, it didn’t quite sink in because I just started on rabbiting on about, I don’t even know what I was talking about. And the doctor said ‘do you understand what I’ve just said?’ and I said ‘oh yeah’ and just started talking about something completely different and it wasn’t until I got outside and then I looked at me sister, she looked at me and we just both burst out crying. And it was like, did we hear the right thing, you know.That sounds a really, really important point Lynsey that you, when you were in getting that information that it felt like, it felt like it wasn’t happening to you; it feels really important for people to know thatYeah. But the first thing that went through me mind though was to protect people like me husband now, he was my partner at the time, me mam, you know everybody who’s lost somebody due to cancer and I thought, well how am I going to protect them? And me mam’s best friend who just died, it was the day before her funeral when I found out and I was like ‘well I don’t want to tell me mam, because she’s got the funeral to go to’; but me sister, she wanted to tell her because she said if she finds out that she knew, then she’d get the blame for not telling her so it was just one of them situations, where we didn’t know what to do! But we did tell her but my main thing I just wanted to protect everybody and I just told everybody I was ok all the time and you know everything’s just, like I say; it was like it was happening to somebody else. I just didn’t know where I was or what I was doing. I felt sorry for this other person, but I didn’t feel sorry for me! Then if …….. was crying and I was more upset because he was upset than anything else ‘cos to me when a grown man cries, there’s something wrong! It could be any stranger crying if it’s a man I cry.
And after that I had to go and get some biopsies done and that. I had a holiday from my club booked two weeks prior to that and the doctor just said ‘cancel any holidays or any plans you’ve got for this year’. And so I just knew that was the answer for me and I don’t know, I just come out gobsmacked I think. One of me friends was with me and she was upset but I just couldn’t seem to cry or anything, like I say, it was going through me mind, ‘how am I going to tell me mam, how I am going to tell, you know, me husband’ I just wanted to protect everybody else.Then I told them obviously, lost the holiday, then I had a hysterectomy, no sorry I had the lymph nodes removed and then five days later I had the hysterectomy. Took a while to recover from that. Then I started getting like, allowing visitors, people I hadn’t seen in a long time and you know, it got me down a little bit because I thought ‘well they’re coming, they must be thinking – oh then she’s going to die, we best go and see her’ but I had no grudges against anybody, all I wanted was me immediate family from ……… side and from my side, just them, but nobody else. And we had to wait six weeks for a phone call to find out if the lymph nodes were positive to see if I needed chemo or radio and I was meeting this other girl in hospital at the same time and we were texting each other, we were waiting for the phone call which we’d taken up to ten o’clock on the night. Finally the phone goes, ………answered, got off the phone, said ‘one of your lymph nodes was positive so they’re going to give you chemo and radio’. I just felt sick at the thought of it because you know I’ve seen me aunty go through it and I seen what it done to her, the chemotherapy and not realising like there was a different type of chemotherapy I was going to get, but to go through more when I was done recovering basically and then when, on a Tuesday I used to have chemo and Monday and Friday, radio. There was another girl I got friends with, in chemotherapy and she seemed, you know, dead bubbly and like a fighter and I used to look and think ‘why don’t I feel like that?’ I was still exhausted off you know recovering from the operation itself. To me, it was too soon, really too soon because it was only like six weeks after the operations that I was going back to do this, I still couldn’t walk properly or anything. And then like she used to tell me, after her radio, she used to go shopping. Well, I used to fall asleep in the room, I couldn’t even, you know, do anything at all but when I asked the doctor why is she going shopping and I’m sat here falling asleep and I can barely move and he said ‘well everybody’s individual’. He said ‘don’t forget, you’ve had the operation, she hasn’t’. So she was getting internal radiotherapy afterwards because she didn’t have the hysterectomy so there’s just, everything just seemed to happen so fast and I was going there every day and me life was just going, I couldn’t plan anything, I couldn’t go nowhere, I was basically just sat there waiting and we had rubbish times, there was three o’clock for me appointment for me radio but sometimes we were sat there still until half past six because they were, you know would go right behind on the times and stuff. That was our life for five weeks.And then, just as I seemed to recover, I started getting pains in me legs which I got told was neuropathic pain due to the damage of the nerves and so much damage what the radiotherapy had done to my system, so I had to accept that. I started driving my car again and started getting back on track a little bit and seeing me granddad again and had a little bit of happiness and you know and then it wasn’t until I seen the doctor, the main doctor, ……… and he said ‘everything’s looking ok’ so that give me a little bit of peace, even though I still had all the side effects of the radiotherapy. Got Christmas over with and started being sick, badly, couldn’t keep water, couldn’t keep nothing down at all and I knew something wasn’t right and then the dreams came back again and I was sat up in a hospital bed writing letters, you know, it was just so, seemed so real and I was trying to tell him something’s wrong and you know your own body. It took til, I collapsed sorry on February 16th 2010, I’d been out for me nephew’s 18th. I’d only had a couple of bottles of alcopop because I knew the tablets I was on it was dangerous for me to drink. We went to a take away shop and the last thing I remember I was having a can of pop and that was it, the next thing I know I was in a hospital and wires and everything coming off me and ………. screaming. And he said ‘you collapsed and more or less went into a coma’ so me sugar levels and everything was all down, all low. They took me for scans and that, I was in and out of consciousness all night and I got kept in hospital for a few days and ………… came to see me.Then I got took back home and they changed me medication around and stuff but then I was just like getting dizzy spells and just, I was vomiting and it was like, just come out of nowhere. Anyway, ……. phoned the NHS again and they come out and me sugar levels and stuff were all dead low again so they phoned the hospital and lucky enough, ……… was on that day, she knows everything about me, she phoned and got me in ………. We got to ………, sat there for eight hours, I hadn’t seen a doctor, I said ‘I can’t stand it’ I was crying by then. I’d had no pain killers, no nothing. I said ‘I’m going home’ and walked out and it wasn’t until they realised that we were walking out and they said ‘oh doctor’s been round’. I said ‘a doctor hasn’t been round; we’ve been sat there for eight hours’. Anyway he finally come to see us, he said I was getting kept in and I was getting an x-ray and stuff but they put me on paracetamol, I was having morphine originally and they put me on paracetamol so I was doubled up in agony all night. Got the x-ray and then eight o’clock next morning ……… from Hartlepool was at me bed and then I knew then that there was something not right. He said ‘how do you feel about going in the hospice?’ I said ‘well I get my counselling there, it’s a nice place and peaceful you know, I like it’. So he said ‘right, there’s a bed there, can you get there?’ So I said ‘yeah me partner will take me’ and this is when I put in the hospice for the first time and I got told the cancer was back again.Then I got an appointment with ……… again, and he offered me 50/50 on radiotherapy but it had to be intense radiotherapy as well so I didn’t want to have it, I’ll admit I didn’t, I did it for everybody else. It’s the same as why I moved on; why I got on with me life was for other people. Nothing because of me because it wouldn’t have been me, I worry about other people you know, protect their feelings ‘cos me mum, to get through it, she’s really bad with her nerves, she turns to the drink so I had to protect her to protect everybody, so I got then about half way through me radio therapy, I was just laid in bed crying me eyes out, I said ‘I can’t do it, I don’t want to go back’ and then ……… was crying and he was basically on his hands and knees begging me to do it. But the state I was in I probably wouldn’t have lived another month if I hadn’t got it done and because of him I done it. This really did leave me in bad state afterwards, I was bleeding from me bowels and stuff like that and pain everywhere, it must just hit every nerve in me pelvic area.We had that, we had some, me friend done fund raising event for us and raised some money for us to go to Blackpool for a few days. You know after the treatment finished and stuff and we just got on with life basically, it was like ‘well where do we go from here?’ me Macmillan nurse was there helping ……… and ……… was counselling, which I looked forward to coming to me counselling lessons because you don’t feel like you’ve got anybody else to talk to without hurting them so I got everything off me chest to poor ………! Then just, I know I had all these problems but we just thought the cancer was at bay, that was the last I knew from me last scan. And then I was in and out of the hospice with sickness and stuff; then the last time I was in here, in the hospice, October, I had a CT scan and it showed that, I don’t know the exact word for it, but it showed that there was a bit of swelling on the kidney but nothing to worry about. That was October and then I had another scan on the 25th January this year, 2011 and from October to then, the kidney had enlarged, it was three times the size it should have been and the uterus was pressing on to the kidney and the tumour was pressing on to the uterus. The mass they recorded they didn’t know whether it was dead or whether it was active and I needed a stent in because it was causing a blockage and that was why I was getting so much pain. So I went on the 11th February at ………, got the stent in, but I’m still having problems now. Then I went for a PET scan which was basically to find out whether the cancer’s active or not but ……… said there was nothing else he could do, he didn’t have a magic wand and stuff. So I had the PET scan and I’ve just got me results the other day to say that the cancer is active and they’d be surprised if I live past this year. So we’ve got to live month by month, live each day as it comes.So my advice to anybody is to go and get a smear, really get a smear, don’t care what excuse you’ve got for it, it doesn’t hurt, it’s two minutes doing it, could save your life, it really can.You know it hit me really hard this year because I thought I’d been protecting family and everybody for the last two years and I’ve never once thought of meself in this and now I haven’t got long now, I’ve know I haven’t, you know, and everybody’s saying ‘oh you can do it, you’re a fighter’ and I screamed and shouted at them all, ‘you know you can’t expect me to fight this, this is the third year now, I’ve gone through it and all I’ve ever done is protect your feelings. What about my feelings? Nobody supported me!’ you know all I’ve, ‘cos you, it feels like sometimes people just want you, when they say ‘are you alright?’ they don’t really want to know if you’re alright, they just, you know, they don’t want to know, want your details and so you just say ‘oh yeah I’m alright’ and that’s it they just change the subject and go on about themselves or go on about something else so they think ‘well that’s all I want to know’ and they don’t really want to know if I’m alright. A handful of people, on one hand I’d say a few, very few people who will turn round and say ‘no really, are you alright? I want the truth’ to me and that’s it, but nobody else really asks. When I’ve been in hospital, I do realise the difference from being in the hospice and being in the hospital, it’s when the nurses come round they don’t seem to have the time to talk to you, they just come and give you your medication, they’re off to the next bed, the same as the doctors that come round on a morning, they have a look ‘oh yeah she’s alright’ or ‘give her this, give her that or discharge her’ and go on to the next person. Where in here, when they come in the hospice, come round and they sit and listen to you, they pull a chair up and listen to every single thing you’ve got to say and they give you straight answers. They don’t lie to you, they, you know they’re very, very honest with you. The nurses come in and they say like ‘do you want to talk?’ and they give you that chance to talk. They seem to have a nurse per room kind of thing to me, ‘cos you could sit there for a full hour with a nurse and they’ll still sit and listen, they don’t ignore you. And I think they should be trained in hospital to do the same as what they do in the hospice ‘cos I know, I’ve been in ………, I’ve been in ……… and I’ve been in the ………. ……… is a very good hospital, I don’t doubt that, that is a good hospital but the ……… and ……… they haven’t got the time of day for you; they haven’t even got the care in my eyes and I think everybody, like who’s involved in a patient, whether they’re social workers, counsellors or whatever they are, they should really sit and listen to the person and find out what’s wrong with them and what’s bothering them instead of sometimes they fob you off and just say ‘oh go and see a psychologist, they’ll sort you out’ you know and it’s not about psychology, it’s not about mental health half the time it’s about the physical side of it and the hurting and it really does hurt. I mean you get people coming out to your house and yes and they sit and you tell them what they want to know, they go and then you sit and cry your eyes out and you feel like you’ve got nobody at all. It’s a very lonely world when you’re living with cancer or deafness or whatever your illness is, you need somebody to sit and listen to you, you really do. Because otherwise, not mentally but physically the person can’t get through it, it wears them out, and they’ll just sit and think ‘well what’s the point in fighting something when nobody’s interested in it?’I mean I’ve feel like I’ve give up because, my reason being because I’ve fought this and I really have fought this with everything I have and now I’m tired, I’ve been in too much pain and I’ve never had a break from the pain. If I’d had like a week’s break from pain even, I would think that worth fighting for because I’m going to get a week’s break, but I haven’t had a break at all. But whatever happens it’s God’s will, in my eyes being a Christian, but I haven’t, if it wasn’t for the hospice I’d have give up a long time ago, I really would have. And I think people need to understand why the hospice needs the volunteers, the fund raising and everything because if there wasn’t this place to go into, then I feel sorry for the people who have to go to hospital and do it, I really do.It sounds incredibly important that people have the time for you and that you feel kind of understood and that kind of helps a little bit but I hear also you’re saying about the relentless nature of the pain that you’re in and that you’ve got to a point where it feels like it’s, enough’s enough and I know we’ve talked about dying, haven’t we Lynsey and it feels like as a Christian, that’s something that you’re not afraid of but there’s a process to go through and that’s a different thing isn’t it?

Yeah I’m not afraid of dying, I’m actually scared of the pain because I know the pain’s bad now and if it didn’t get controlled and like, like I say I am on a lot of medication, and nothing at the minute seems to be helping. I know it’s got to get worse as well because of the type of cancer I’ve got as well. I mean when I had the intense radiotherapy last year it was to kill that lymph node and it still didn’t kill it; it was still causing all these problems. I mean I’ve got it in black and white in writing I mean I got it one of the doctors who wrote it, one of the other doctors that sent me a copy and it’s just sad, it really is. I mean you’ve got your family there yeah but you’re trying to, I don’t know, you don’t want them upset because that upsets you more so, and you find out who your family and your friends are, you know they just (inaudible) anyway but that’s why it’s so important to have like people like yourself or the Macmillan and whoever’s involved in your care, to sit and listen to you. You know and like I say about going in hospitals, the nurses should be made to sit and listen to the patient but if they don’t do that they’re obviously not in the job for the care are they? It’s really important to have somebody there, really it’s

That sounds like one of the most important things that you want people to know, that you know, about having time to listen to what you’re saying and in a way it might not have to be a long space of time but it’s just feeling that you’re heard

Yeah, that’s it, yeah. I’m glad like they’ve got, they’re doing the thing for young girls now, they have the chance of the injection to prevent them from getting cervical cancer. But I mean, I am a hypocrite to sit here and say you know, ‘please go and get a smear, get this done’ because I was one of them girls who said ‘oh I’m not going to get that done, what you don’t know won’t hurt you’ and I tell you what, it does hurt, it really does hurt. So you know, I would advise people to get it done. The main thing, it wasn’t the results that frightened me, it was because people say they’re going to use a clamp to open you up and that hurts and I was thinking ‘oh no, I can’t bear the thought of anybody’ not even the embarrassment but it was just because they said it hurts, but it just put me off and there was one time I did go, I’d been watching Coronation Street and Alma had died of cervical cancer on it, and I turned up and then I was having me period when I got there, I didn’t realise ‘til I got there and they said ‘oh you’re bleeding, we can’t do it’. But me doctor’s, I won’t name it, that I was in at the time, they never ever sent back for me, I’d had a miscarriage and normally once you’ve been pregnant don’t they, you have to go for one and they never ever sent for me and then I changed doctors. About four year ago, I changed doctors and ……… he’s in ……… now and they kept sending me a letter every other week, you must come for a smear test you know and I kept ripping them up and then in the end, with the problems I went anyway. Even when I went to see the doctor I used to lie and say ‘oh yeah I’ve got an appointment’ and I never but they did send for you and that’s another thing, it’s important that the doctors do send for the girls, keep writing them, even threaten them like you’ll be struck off if you don’t come for, you know, anything that can save lives. So ….

It feels like, that’s amazing Lynsey, you know it feels really lovely to have heard because obviously we’ve met a lot and we talk about certain things but just to hear your story has just been wonderful and you’ve brought up loads of really important things about what’s helpful and what’s not and you know kind of advice to people and you know there’s lots of little gems in there I think that is going to be really, really helpful. I don’t know whether, you know there’s anything else from your perspective ……… or anything else that Lynsey’s thinking that I want to include in terms of what’s helpful, what’s not, bearing in mind you know the kind of people that are going to listen to this.

Yes it’s mostly hospital staff and hospice staff that you worked with isn’t it. Have you had any contact with any other services?

Recently social services have got involved now they’re helping, they’ve got on to me landlord, I’ve just moved in with me husband so normally you have to be living there for 12 months to become a tenant but they’re aware of me situation and so they’ve basically got me on the tenancies thing and they’re getting me a door, you know electric door so I can buzz people in with me being upstairs I don’t even, although I’ve got me stairlift, it’s saves me going up and down. But with me being deaf, I still won’t know who it was so I can’t buzz them in so they’re getting the one with the CCTV, we’re still awaiting for that and they also, there’ll be like a watch where, and a vibrating light if somebody’s at the door or the phone goes or the smoke alarm, telling me which one’s going off. So that has to come to a £1000 that’s all they’ll provide; the only thing that I’m having problems with at the minute, I can’t get in the bath even with me bath chair, it’s causing a lot of pain due to me legs and stuff but I’ve tried it and it really is painful so I’m having to get a washdown stood up. They’ve given me a chair now, like me sister give me a washdown and I’m having problems trying to get a shower off somebody and nobody will provide it so, ‘cos there’s no money anywhere so now I’m having problems with that and the only way I can do it is try asking round the family which, they probably wouldn’t raise the money, to try and save some money to get a shower ‘cos I can’t afford one, but …. and it is a big problem at the minute

it’s those things that maybe I would take for granted that I can do every day like look after myself and have a shower, I get in and out of the bath and have a shower that make a huge difference, doesn’t it Lynsey, to just feeling on a day to day basis that you’re getting on with life?

Well I just tie me hair back ‘cos obviously it’s greasy it’s hard to get it washed, the only good thing is when I was in here there was a shower and I was having one, it did make me feel that little bit better being clean, you know even getting a wash down you still don’t feel, you know clean, clean enough so … the shower, I’ve never liked showers anyway, I’ve always loved me baths and I really do miss me baths but when I was in Scotland I was thinking, everywhere, everytime we’ve gone on holiday there’s always been a shower ‘cos I’ve been disappointed not having a bath. So this time there was bath, but it had a shower head over, but that’s still no good ‘cos I can’t get in and out of the bath. So what I’m always having to do is go over the swimming pool and use their shower but I’m still, the bikini on, cossie on so I’m still like not getting washed properly you know in the private parts so …. I think there should be able to be somebody who could fund for things like this and I mean if I could get one I would obviously have to get in touch with the ……… and ask them for permission to take their bath out and put a shower in ‘cos ……… son-in-law, three of them believe or not are all plumbers so there’s not a problem getting it in, it’s getting the shower and the tiles, that’s the problem. So …. but just have to wait and see. I mean I did see the OT and she did say ‘well even’; I said if we could come up with, ‘you could tell me how much it’s going to be and I can try and raise that money’ and she said ‘well it will take months anyway’. I said so you’re saying basically months I haven’t got, but I’ve got an Argos that I’ve seen, just the cheapest, the tray and the shower and I didn’t realise you’d need a water thingy you know, but if I could just get the price and then I’d know how much I’d need to try and raise for a shower. So, it does, like I say, it will help and I’d be able to, with me chair, be able to go in myself if I want to, it’s only if I need me hair washing or something, need someone in probably to wash me back, but just say one night I’d just fancied a quick shower just to warm me up or whatever put me pyjamas on. You know it would be nice to do something for yourself for once, without having to depend on somebody else.

I think that’s one of the important things isn’t it Lynsey, because I know you’ve said before that quite understandably, your husband and your close family are concerned about you so you feel like you don’t get, you’ve lost all your independence and sometimes you just crave to be able to do something for you.

I mean ……… won’t leave me on me own anytime now so that’s that bit gone now. I mean I’ve lost me car, that was me independence, me car. ……… gets upset because like, coming here for example, I have to stop him doing whatever he’s doing to come and drop me off, two minutes away. Where if I had me own car, I could do it myself, so you know. He says oh no he says he doesn’t mind and that but then if he can’t really, if he’s got a doctor’s appointment or something, and he really can’t bring me or pick me then I’m having to depend on somebody else because he won’t leave me, he won’t let me get a taxi on me own or anything like that. He needs to make sure that somebody’s going to be with me otherwise he’s going to cancel his appointments. I mean he has a lot of health problems himself just so I’m looked after and that upsets me because I think ‘well his health is important as well’. He has COPD hypertension and all that; he’s got problems with his feet and stuff like that, arthritis, diabetes, angina and I think ‘well, you know you’ve got to look after yourself as well’ but he’s putting me first. But I suppose if it was the other way round I would do the same. I even said the other day ‘I think I’m going to save and try and hire a car for the day just to have a drive about’. There again if I got pulled I would get me licence took off me because of the drugs I’m taking, I shouldn’t be driving. I’m a danger to meself and others, so

You can’t win can you?

It does take away all your independence and everything. I mean I wouldn’t have thought if somebody told me ten year ago, your sister’s going to be washing you down and you know seeing you naked basically, I’d laugh in their face because I, ever since I can remember being little, I’ve always been a private person, I’m really embarrassed as well you know, I wouldn’t let anybody see me get changed or anything. Where me friend used to get changed in front of me and I used to turn round and think ‘eeh what’s she doing, she’s a lesbian or something like that, you know I just, I was always a private and close person but when you’re poorly, you’re not bothered who sees you I don’t think. And you know, even if, I think me brother, if it got to no choice and me brother had to do it, I don’t think I’d be bothered because when you’re poorly you can’t be bothered. If I was on one of me good days and happy and stuff, I’d say ‘no you’re not watching me ………’ you know, but it’s very rare you get them good days now. There’s a lot, we’re doing a lot of crying and it’s more upsetting I think, it’s hit us more harder now what’s happening, even before we found out that I, they’d be surprised if I see this year out. And we’ve found it more harder to share than what we’ve found it any other time and I think it’s been the burden of protecting others

So it feels like you’ve got to, ‘cos you very clearly said initially it was almost like it was happening to somebody else and then you were more concerned about protecting other people and that in way stopped you from taking it in and it feels like now, you know, through all this time, this is the time where you and ……… particularly have kind of, the reality is, is hitting you now and so you’ve been more, more emotional about it and you know kind of realistic in a way about it as well

It’s like the other day ……… said even though it’s hard, we’ve got to, you know we’re going to have to do it; you know the funeral’s already booked in, we’ve already done that a couple of year ago, but now we’ve got to go and pick the plot you know. I’m supposed to do it, if I’d have done it last year I’d have been fine, because I was fine about it all, where now it’s going to be harder to do it now, we’ve got it booked, it needs to be done. And if I want something I want on then I’ve got to go and get all that written and you know stuff like that and it is like, there’s jewellery and stuff that I want to take with me and I was thinking the scan was more important because that’s me baby but ………, ‘cos I have a thing like I always say ‘you know they take the jewellery off you, you know they pinch it’ .. there’s going to be an open coffin so ……… just going to come in at the end before they shut it and put the jewellery on me and then shut the coffin so

So is that particularly sentimental jewellery Lynsey that you want?

……… bought me, yeah and he buys me all the charms for it and there’s only him that buys them so, but me wedding rings, I’ve got a long necklace which is unisex, I want ……… to have them round his neck, so keep them himself. But the other stuff, there isn’t like much more left because I handed stuff into the hospice and I’ve sold stuff towards a holiday and stuff last year and there’s nowt really left really. But like I said to him, last time, stop buying clothes and I sort my clothes out ‘cos anything clothes or anything like that it’s all going to the hospice. But I have loads of teddies, as you know I’ve collected (inaudible) and stuff and they’re going to the … Hospice. So we know exactly where’s going where but that’s down to ……… when he’s ready to part with them.

You’ve done a lot of planning haven’t you? And as you say, last year you were able to be very clear and plan your funeral and what you want and pay for it as well, but it’s like now you’re fine tuning that somehow and it feels like it’s harder because the reality’s hitting home more and

We’ve lost a lot of things as well and the main thing, we had a cruise a few year ago, before I found out that I had cancer then as you know I wanted that one last cruise, didn’t I, last year? And then we found out the cancer was back so we had to cancel it and I lost all of my money, that was the last of our savings so me brother done a boxing fund raising do which I got some money and the hospice got some money, mine was to pay for me funeral, the rest went to the hospice and like, just like you know I can’t I know we’re never ever going to be able to go on that cruise and do that last thing because I know there’s no way the money can come from anywhere, we can’t even afford a shower never mind a cruise, so

And you got married

My main thing to go on to people, if you want to get married, if you want to have children, whatever your plans are for the future, don’t wait for the future, do it now because you never know what’s round the corner. Are there any more questions you want to ask me? I’m stuck now

You were saying about getting married

Yes, Lynsey’s just got married

Yeah I got married, it was a secret wedding. It was me mam and dad and his three daughters there. It was nice, we both went in as if we weren’t bothered, soon as they started their talking and that we both burst out crying because the more it meant to us, more than anything. We even had the registrar crying because he knew our situation as well

That was quite recently then Lynsey, was it? Quite recently

Oh yeah

In January

January the 6th, yeah. What happened, when we booked it three weeks before, I’d ended up in, we had to go down, you know show your passport and stuff the next day, but I don’t know, they phoned an ambulance came for me anyway, it came to take me to ……… because I’d had really bad stomach pain and it had been all day. They took me to ……… so ……… tried going down with all the ID and that and they said ‘oh no we can’t accept that’ so he said ‘we’ll try and fetch it down tomorrow’ but I got kept me in bed so what I had to do was make, make out I was going for a coffee and I flew down to the registry office and the registrar had got snowed in, so they said if you don’t get it done tomorrow you’re going to lose your day. I said ‘well that’s your fault not mine’; they said it didn’t matter because that’s the way it works on the computer but luckily enough that day I got discharged and we finally got there. Because we wanted it, 6 is me favourite number, it was me Nana’s birthday and it’s the last day of Christmas so it was still kind of involved Christmas as well, ‘cos we did want to try and get married over Christmas but that was it, it ended up perfect anyway.

There is something I have to tell you

 

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“……… there is something I have to tell you, I am having to give you my one months notice”. Words that a person who receives care can dread. I have had these words said to me, by carers, over the 5 years that I have employed my own staff, some effected me emotionally, some not. But this month three of my care team have said these words; not because they don’t like the job here with me because they do, but their lives have moved on and so must they. A sad fact that I must accept but as this article will show, easy to say but hard to do. So who are the three I am talking about? All three of them are, were, part of my care team for a very long time, J 1 year, MH 5 years and MF who is only reducing her nights from 2 nights to 1, 15 years.Over the 25 years I have received care, mainly through social services and care companies, the leaving/changing of staff has never been an issue, why? Because you very rarely saw the same carer more than twice in a row, if you were lucky. As I did not like this state of affairs, and because the government brought in Direct Payments giving service users a greater control over their care, five years ago I decided to take the Direct Payment/Personal Budget route and employ my own staff, some 9 in all, – Due to the extent of my disability, I have severe Rheumatoid Arthritis meaning I have great human and wheelchair dependency hence the number of part time staff I employ – while I would never admit it, staff changes did and do effect me but no more than it is right now.While I and my carers always try to keep a professional line between us, that line when someone has been with you a long time, tends to gets fudged and try as I do, I still find myself seeing them as a carer cum friend and not just a carer. With this in mind and the fact that two carers are leaving and one reducing her hours I would like to share with you the mental and emotional journey I am now on.

Talking to anyone about ones true emotions on any subject is not always easy, especially to strangers on a Talking Health Matters web site, but I will give it a try; perhaps some of you have had similar experiences.

I was expecting MH who has worked with me for 5 years this month, to say she was giving in her notice because for the past year MH and her hubby have been going through all the hoops, and believe me the authorities leave no stone unturned so there are many, many hoops to jump through, to become foster parents and last week it was confirmed that they had been accepted. I was thrilled for them both and was already emotionally ready for her to leave. Her job along with MF, who is dropping a night, was put in the job section of the local newspaper, and I am, as I write, waiting for returned application forms. A situation I have found myself in a few times since 2006 so why are things different this time, the answer is J and her dog Sally.

J has been with me, as I said just over a year, and does my weekend shift 10 am to 6 pm. I really thought that we would grow old together, but that now will not be happening. J is a great cook, she used to be a chef on the rigs but left to get married and bring up her family. Her other job is working with people with learning difficulties which she loves, and the organisation that she works for has offered her a position which includes her love of cooking that J just will and could not turn down. If all the plans in regards to this position fall into place today, I will be getting her months notice on Saturday. J, along with her dog and mine, often go out at weekends for long walks along our coastline. This I will miss terribly so will Jack and Molly my two Jack Russell’s. There are lots of other things I shall miss about J , her very dry sense of humour, nipping to the bottom of my garden for a quick ‘tab’, her Scottish accent, and most of all J and Sally, who has a unique bark to get your attention and their being themselves.

J told me about her decision and the reasons for it on the Saturday and on the Sunday while I was in church, I found myself fighting back tears as the reality hit me that my friend cum carer was leaving. That fact made me realise that no matter how hard I try not to get close to my care team, in some cases I just fail, as in the case with J. I now have to face the prospect of trying to fill her post, easy to fill the post but hard to find anyone like her and Sally. So why this narrative?

I realised that I may not be alone in feeling as I do when a member of my care team leaves. It also appears no one in authority has ever given it a thought about how some who are dependent on the people who care for them feels when that person leaves. My care team are the most important people in my life; I have no immediate family, and friends not connected with my care you could count on one hand. My care team share with me my good and bad days. They share with me and make it possible for me to live my life as I wish to, whether that is driving my power chair from Lands End to John o’Groats, working as a volunteer with McMillian Cancer Support, feeding me, or even taking me to the loo, someone from my care team is there with me. I slowly build up a trust with them, I hear about their lives and they share mine. I share with them, some more than others, my secrets, fears and joys, then that person is no longer there as in the case of J and a few others. To me this whole situation is like living through bereavement but without the emotional support you need. I am lucky this time as there is one particular carer who is a third year counselling student and whom I can talk to, but I have just learned that due to an accident she is off sick for 6 weeks. I feel a lot of phone calls will be going in her direction as this time I work my way through how I feel.

I have been asked, for this narrative, to log what happens to me over the next few weeks, this I will be doing. At this precise moment I am waiting for a text that will say if or when J is leaving. I should know early evening. Who knows I may be lucky it may not be until the New Year.

It is 5.30, time for Neighbours on Channel 5 and I am waiting for J’s text. I am feeling unsettled and every time I get a text I jump because I think it is J… Must be like waiting for any verdict especially when that verdict will have an impact on your life.

At 7 pm my text went off, no it was not J it was someone answering my add in the paper sending me her postal address. Details will be put in the post tomorrow. My waiting goes on.

It’s Thursday 3 pm and this morning I received the text from J, I will not revel the contents but will tell you that it is official, on Saturday J will be formally handing in her notice. I have so many emotions churning around in my mind that half of me wants to cry, the other half is excited that a new era is about to start in my life. New carer staff, new who knows?

Everyone is telling me that everything happens for a reason. How many times have we heard that old cliché? How many times has it proven to be true? When one door closed another opens. We have all heard that one. I think I am getting to old for changes in my life, but saying that, I have three new volunteering projects that I am hoping to get involved in. I have attended training sessions for two of the project and the third I will attend in December. Yet another case of opening a door and seeing what is the other side, but you know what I had started to open these doors before J told me her news. I just want things to stay as they are but I have no control over the situation. I am feeling helpless and if I dare say the D word, Disabled.

My staff are free to leave when ever they want, and do. But with employment law as it stands, I cannot ask someone after one year of working with me, to leave just because we do not get on or I don’t like them.

I feel very lonely at the moment. I feel I have lost control of my life. Changes are being made that I don’t want to happen. J, I know you will read this narrative and I want you to know that you and Sally will be missed terrible. I know we all say we can keep in touch, stay friends but that will very probably not happen.

Right now I just need a very big hugggggggg. So not going to happen. Maybe my next piece should be on the subject of touch and what it feels like not to have it, unless of course someone is doing my personal care. A different touch to what I am talking about, but I think you know that.

So what next.. Before Saturday, when J returns to work, I will put the add in the carer required column of the job section of the local newspaper for J job, that will go out next Thursday. I will get about 25 replies and information packs will be sent out. If I am lucky 20 will be returned and I will offer them an interview but only about 6 will turn up. 2 will make it to my home and one will be offered the job on a trial of 4 months.

As regards J I know what the next four weeks are going to be like with J. We will both try and carry on as if all things are normal. This Saturday J will come into work. I shall tell her that I am happy for her, we shall talk about her new job and the dogs will chase each other around the house. The kettle will be put on coffee. I will then be taken in the garden if it is not raining, coffee and tabs for J. I have this Saturday a plan, best to get out and about. Why, for me to get away from the reality I am now in. We are going down to the beach, meet up with B, run the dogs, have lunch of fish and chips and talk. I need some talk time with B by myself, but I am not too sure when that will happen on Saturday, if it happens.

As I am been honest with this web site, it is times like these that I just wish it would all stop. That I could just say enough is enough. No more social services, no more fear of my care package been cut. I have this fear at the back of my head all of the time. No more dependency on others to enable me to do things from opening my gate to let me out, to feeding me, and to wiping my bottom. I think you know what I mean.

I know that I am very lucky. I have a nice house, people around me that care for me. I am in very good health, but I am not free. I would give this all up to be able to put a pack on my back, Jack and Molly on their leads, just close my door and go where the wind blows. To be free again from my dependency on people. But that is not going to happen unless there is such a person as a Fairy Good Mother.

7.00 pm Thursday. T has also given her notice. T only did 3 hours per week for me and has now found a full time job. T will be missed very much. This all goes to show me how reliant I am, a reliance I hate, on total strangers to run my life. Total strangers whom I have only meet because of an advert in the newspaper. If I was disabled as I am with a hubby and family around I am sure I would feel a lot different. Love of a fellow human being must help someone in my position to feel wanted and valued as a human being. This is a feeling I am not getting right now.

Monday, I need a hug. I can tell you, I am in an emotional mess with J leaving. This forming a relationship and trust with someone and their dog just to have it broken is a killer. From the short list (the two jobs were advertised) only 2 said they were still interested. The two I would think could take J place have said no. It is like having any relationship broken up; it is like having a friend saying they do not want to play with you anymore. It is a bereavment. I must try harder not too get close to my carers, Keep that professional line. How long can I keep this up time after time?

I know that I will work my way though all the feelings, good and bad, my care team will see to that. I know that tears will be shed when J and Sally leave for the last time, but there is still a lot to do before then. I know that a suitable person will take their place in my care team, but that will take time.

Final update, 3 weeks later (Christmas approaching), J has now left the building. We are to stay in contact, just hope that is so. We said no goodbyes, no tears, but I was fighting back the tears all day. The final lift in the hoist, the final coffee, meal, that sort of thing. I shall miss J and her dog immensely but have the New Year to look forward in a few days. I have signed on 2 new staff, and there are a number of new projects for me to be involved with but these are all material things, it is the relationship that we have with people that is the most important thing, well I think so.

All good narratives should finish on a positive note and this one is no exception. So to finish this narrative, I would just like to raise my glass to the New Year and bring on all that it holds no matter what it is. Main thing is to stay positive, stay focus and enjoy the moment. This I fully intend to do.

I hope this narrative has been of some help to you. That someone in authority will realise that perhaps they should look into how they can support people, if they need it, whose carers have moved on.

ML

Matty’s Story Part One

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Ok, well thank you for agreeing to take part in this narrative to support education in health care professionals. If you could just reflect on your Parkinson’s, how it started, how it’s affected you and in particular tell us about your medication and any times you’ve been in hospital as regarding your medication there.

It’s a long story but it started when I was younger, I didn’t know then that it was starting. First thing I really noticed was I had loads of saliva when I was getting up in the morning, the pillow was soaking wet and I mentioned it to the doctors and she just said something about giving us a salt tablet, but I never went down that lane and just forgot about it. And a few years later, about five years ago, I developed pains in me elbows and they examined us and said they thought I had tennis elbow and they actually, eventually I had an operation on me elbow to lift the tendons to take the pain away, and the pain went away. So it was decided that it was a success. But then about a year after that I got pains in me shoulder up here and I didn’t know what was going on and I went to the doctor’s and they put us on exercise and give us tablets and tried different things. Eventually the pain was getting pretty bad; I went to see the doctor and asked if anything could be done. she said ‘well you can try an injection’ so they said ‘we’ll put you on a waiting list for an injection but it could be quite a while before you get the injection.’

And then what happened was she sent for us again and said that there was a specialist coming up to hospital to a, a top guy on injections but I’d be in front of a load of students; did I mind going and getting the injection in front of students? So I said ‘No, not at all’. So I went to hospital and they examined us and his decision, the top man, guy so to speak said that ‘this man needs to continue with his exercise and I’m sure with continual exercise this shoulder will get better, nothing really to worry about’. And I thought ‘mm, yeah well’ so I left the room and I was at work later that week, I used to work for a trade union in the mornings and the inland revenue in the afternoon and one of the jobs that I had was to liaise with the debt collection unit and they had a big meeting with a colleague the big boss called a big meeting and outlined for two hours the plans that they were planning to reorganise the unit and at the end of the meeting she asked me for me comments on, from a trade union point of view so what the union thought of the proposals and I’ve always used a system called a mind map where I write down the main points of any debate and then I can recall what’s going on and make the points. And when I looked down at the paper, it was blank and I’d actually frozen for two hours and not realised and I hadn’t took any notes, didn’t take any notice of what was going on so I just made the comments up, said something like ‘the union will watch what’s going on and make comments as the trial goes along sort of thing’ and she said to us ‘oh right and I’ll have a chat with you after the meeting’. Then after the meeting she asked us if I was alright and said I said ‘well no, I’ve been having problems with me shoulders and other things which I don’t really understand’ and she says ‘well, perhaps you need a holiday’ and I said ‘well I’m going on holiday next week anyway as it happens’.

So I went off on holiday, I was 58 at the time and I’m 61 now and went to Greece on holiday and when I was on holiday I got a phone call from the civil service saying that if I wanted to apply for an early retirement package, I could and they would let us go but they had to know quite urgently. So I discussed it with the wife and decided that I would take early retirement and when I went back after the holidays, a couple of weeks later, took early retirement and I had quite a lot of leave left so I left it at that, I was quite happy to retire because of all the problems that I’d had. Me lump sum wasn’t quite as much as it should have been and me pension wasn’t as much as it should have been but I was quite happy with the settlement and then the doctor sent for us and said after I’d left the room with the injection, going back a bit, the, one of the young doctors who was studying Parkinson’s, said that he thought I had Parkinson’s Disease and all of the other doctors said ‘no he hasn’t, it’s ridiculous’ and my doctor sent us to the hospital for a check up to rule it out. And I went to see a consultant and within two or three minutes he confirmed that I was in the early stages of Parkinson’s Disease. So I went back to the Civil Service and tried to get medical retirement and they said because I wasn’t ill or off sick when I left I couldn’t have medical retirement. So I took them to a tribunal and won and eventually got me, got the pension and me lump sum so that was something gained from it.

But then the problems started with the Parkinson’s Disease as it crept on, different, and I started on the medication and the medication got more and more I think I take about 16 tablets a day now. Biggest problem I’ve got is clawing of the feet, your feet claw every morning and if I don’t take the tablets I get all sorts of problems. That’s really just the story to date.

Can you elaborate on, if you don’t take the medication what kind of problems?

If I don’t take the medication, I start to shuffle me feet, I can’t walk very well, if I walk 50 yards I get a terrible bad back, and as I said before, me feet claw, me big toes goes under like that and I can hardly walk and those attacks last for about 20 minutes or so. Funnily enough I was at the World Parkinson’s Congress not so long ago and before I went I’d rang the Parkinson’s nurse to ask to see if I could have some assistance because me clawing of the foot was getting worse and she recommended a dose of soluble Madopar in the morning, 15 minutes before I get up. But because of the system you have to talk to the Parkinson’s nurse, the Parkinson’s nurse has to talk to the professor, the professor has to, the consultant has to sign the prescription, that then gets faxed to the doctors, you then have to get an appointment at the doctor’s to get the prescription. And I couldn’t get an appointment for two weeks so I went to the World Congress without the medication and I was having terrible problems. And I saw an American physio at the congress who put her fingers in-between me toes like that and bent the toes back, up and down and she told us to separate the toes with wrapping some gauze round in-between the toes and to get a toe separator. And I did what she told us to do and it makes controlling the clawing of the feet a lot easier. So that’s like a work round if you like. Doctor also give us quinine tablets to help with that. I’ve had all sorts of tablets over the last three or four years, they had us on cholesterol tablets, they had us on blood pressure tablets, had us on the statins, symvastatin and Atorvastatin Then they found out that the statins was damaging me knees so they took us off the statins. At the moment I take Levodopa, Mirapexin and can’t remember all their names off hand, I’d have to look them up but there’s about, I take about 16, 17 tablets a day and there’s lots of other side tablets for dealing with the other effects of Parkinson’s like the constipation and the sex problems and all the other sort of things that occur you know. It’s, ah but you have to put a smile on it.

The pluses are: I went to voice therapy sessions and that was really good. I got exercises to do every day so that I talk a bit louder. I like doing karaoke so I sing a lot of karaoke and I like writing odes and poems and I’ve wrote a few for Parkinson’s over the years but I never won the competition, the Mervyn Peake Awards but never mind, I think they’re good. What else can I tell you?

Have you ever been in hospital?

Oh yes, I knew there was, when I was in Greece, this year, May this year, I took a funny turn during the night. Me eyes started to roll and I was frothing at the mouth and then there was blood coming out me mouth. I can’t remember any of this, this is me wife’s version and they took us into hospital and I was in hospital for four days I think and, on the Island of Rhodes, that was an experience and a half! The first consultant I saw said that I’d had, he thought I’d had a very mild stroke and I recovered from it and I think he was correct. The second consultant that took over because it was a weekend when I went in, she said I’d had an epileptic fit and put us on epileptic tablets which didn’t make any difference to us, I was just slowly recovering from the, I think, the mild stroke that I’d had. So I rang the Parkinson’s nurse in England and said oh they’d put us on these Zafiron tablets for epilepsy and when we checked the dosage they’d put us on much too high a dosage. So I stopped taking them altogether and the condition improved so much so that after I was allowed out of the hospital after about four days and went back to the hotel. Funnily enough when I went back to the hotel I had a big notice on the television screen ‘Welcome to Mattyoke’ so they had a karaoke in my name that night. And I actually sang a song, there you go.

Were you able to manage your medications while in hospital?

I can manage me medications, yeah I use, I put them in compartments for seven days and put them in the different compartments so I know exactly which ones I’m taking when I’m taking them.

Did that differ when you went into hospital? Were you able to?

I was ok in the hospital because they left us with me tablets to take; they didn’t take me tablets off us. I know there’s a ’Get in On Time’ in this country but they seemed to be fairly slack in Rhodes, so much so that, all I remember is that a family were, actually stayed overnight in the same room as the people that were in hospital and they used the same toilets as us and the consultant told us not to watch television and the woman opposite had a television on in front of us, you know it was crazy. It was certainly an experience and the insurance was a mess, all they paid for was one taxi. But I’m not worried about that really but I’m very careful about what insurance I take out now when I go abroad.

Matty’s Story Part Two

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But this guy showed, he showed how to cope with the disease if you like by making fun of it by facing right on and because; it’s funny but when you concentrate seriously on something like making this speech I’m doing now, you forget your Parkinson’s symptoms and they tend not to show whereas if I get nervous or am in an situation then I start to shake and I have all sorts of problems you know. But he was saying stuff like ‘don’t enter an egg and spoon race if you’ve got Parkinson’s’ and he put an egg on a teaspoon and ran across the stage and the egg fell off and he said ‘thank you’ to the staff of the place for hard boiling the egg. (laughter) He was really good, but …. I was talking about music wasn’t I? Music being therapeutic. This thing I’ve got about being able to write odes started when I was in the civil service when I was running a section, they used to ask us write a short ode about somebody who was leaving and I could do them quite quickly.

When in Bendiorm for me 60th birthday and we’d been to see the Everley Brothers in concert and, well not the actual Everley Brothers but a tribute band and they also had a tribute they had a tribute Beatles band as well. So we’re going to the karaoke bar quite late, there was about half an hour left and when we went in, the DJ said ‘Oh, Matty’s come in, I’m going to get him up’ so I got up to sing and I had a look round and there was lots of little children sitting in the front from about five to 13 from different families that put them altogether at the front. So I thought. ‘oh I’ll do a camp version of Dedicated Follower of Fashion’ so I sang Dedicated Follower of Fashion and put me (inaudible) leg out and did me hips and shoved me things and I said to the kids at the front ‘when I sing Oh Yes He Is, you sing Oh No He’s Not’ so this went down really well and I sat down and listened to the rest of the show. Then shortly after midnight she says ‘well, the next song is the last song in the karaoke, as usual, you decide who you want to sing the last song’ and all these little kids at the front ‘Matty, Matty, Matty’ so I sang ‘Rainy Day Woman, Everybody Must get Stoned – Children Must Not get Stoned’ and so on, making me own stuff up and when it finished she said ‘well that’s the last song for the night, thank you very much’ and I was getting off the stage, they played ‘Because I got High’ by Afroman and she said, as I was getting off the stage, I joined in with the kids ‘because he got high, because he got high, because he got high’ and the kids were singing ‘because he got high’ and the DJ said ‘come back, come back and sing it’ and I said ‘well I can’t sing it, I don’t know the words’ I just really knew the chorus, so she said ‘make it up, you can do it, make it up’ so I just made it up on the spot and I sang something like ‘I was going to have a birthday tea, but I got high; she was buying me a dvd, but I got high; there were no presents for me and I know why .. because I got high, because I got high, because I got high’. And I was thinking all the time of words that rhymed when I sang the first line and I said ‘I was going to book my grandma’s flights, but I got high; she was coming here tonight, but I got high; she’s stuck at Heathrow tonight and I know why … because I got high’ and so on you know. There was one verse where I sang ‘I was going to make sweet love to you but I got high; send you flowers too, but I got high; my wife said we’re through and I know why … because I got high, because I got high’ When I found out afterwards, the next night I went to the bar and somebody said ‘you must sing that song’ and I said ‘well I can’t sing it, I’d had a few drinks and I made it up, so I couldn’t possibly remember it’ and they said ‘well just sing the real one because we want to hear you singing it’ so I got up and sang the real one and when the words came out on the stage, I couldn’t believe it, they were absolutely really dirty words you know, a bit over the mark, so I couldn’t sing them, so I changed the words and I’ve been changing the words of that song ever since and this is a helluva long story you know!

I was at the at the Parkinson’s Annual General Meeting and they had a karaoke on the celebratory night and I got up and sang ‘Because I got High’ but I sang something like ‘I was going to the Parkinson’s Meet, but I got high; I could not move my feet, but I got high; now I’m knackered and deadbeat and I know why … because I got high’ because everybody gets high that’s on, that takes Parkinson’s drugs so there you go. The doctor said there was ‘what songs do you sing at karaoke’ I said ‘oh shake, rattle and roll, shakin’ all over’. It’s funny because I was at the pub last week doing a song and I forget what the song was, I think it was a rock and roll song. One of the rock and roll ones, I think it was ‘Kid Rock’ ’All summer long’ I was singing and I tend to move a bit when I’m singing it you know and the microphone kept going off. So I said (inaudible – to the DJ???) during the instrumental bit ‘this microphone keeps going off. Can you do something about it?’ And he said ‘stand still, stand still’. I said ‘you’re asking somebody with Parkinson’s to stand still?!’ and of course everybody in the place was howling, they thought it was a big joke you know. I think that’s what you’ve got to do,

Matty’s Ode

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(inaudible) Glasgow, there was a stall had, an American stall and they had a book called PD and it was P, the book’s over there, P double E, D double EE was what they call Parkinson’s Disease and it was a book about how to explain ‘my mum has Parkinson’s’ sort of thing, it’s the same sort they have, the Parkinson’s Disease society have here. So I got a copy of the English, our version, the UK one and give it to the lass on the stands who thought it was great. But we also (inaudible) had quilt on the display with an ode in the middle and I wrote the ode. But this is the one I wrote after the conference:
Scotland the Brave
And the Geordie heart
PD held a meeting
They came from near and far
Some by aeroplane
And some by motor car
The four inside the Glasgow Hall
Were we allowed to meet
Each had to register their name
Before they got a seat
We gathered daily one and all
To listen to the pure
When had he hardly seated
The speaker shouted ‘Cure’
I smiled and said to Angela
‘Is it the cure for me?’
I’m off to see if Steve
Is still playing on the Wii
There were some long sessions
All technical and deep
And Matty had his feet tweaked
So that he could sleep
With the lectures five times daily
Your delegates felt the strain
Showing the big, wide world
Newcastle’s quilted grail
(inaudible) as the one about the quilt is it? That’s Percy Hedley. That’s the one I’m working on. I saw the, when they had the Mervyn Peake award, the idea, the painting and it was called ‘The Healing Stream’ so I’m going to write a poem called the Healing Stream but I haven’t quite finished it yet. I’ll just nip upstairs and get the ….

You are responsible for your life, no one else

 

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Having lead a fairly active life up to the age of 40, I am now 64, had the regulation marriage, and divorced, no children. Owned my own house and fudged my way through a few jobs bringing enough cash to keep body and sole together, life was pretty good, then my dad died and the centre of my universe was no longer there.

My dad was like to most daughters, my friend and confidant. He fixed my house, mended my car, and gave me the love that only a dad can give to his daughter. I still miss him 24 years along the road, a road that within a few months of dad dying, found me in a wheelchair, then mainly confined to my bed for the next two years. Why, because my rheumatoid arthritis, which was diagnosed in 1974, just went out of control, my arms bent, my legs went stiff, which meant it got more and more difficult to get out of my power chair and onto my bed, so the easy option was to move my bed down stairs and stay on it, and that is just what happened to me.

I saw the seasons change from my bed by way of the reflection in a large picture on the wall opposite. That refection came from the large bay window that was behind me and to my right. I did have a home help came in three times a day for an hour each time. Turning on the TV, putting lights on and off, answering my phone and front door was all controlled by a machine called a Possum Control; go to http://www.possum.co.uk/ for more details.

My mom, who died a few years ago, use to come up from Birmingham to see me, seeing me like I was made her cry like any mom would, she felt helpless seeing her eldest daughter lying on a bed unable to move, disabled and dependent on others to meet all of her basic human needs.

I spent many hours alone, frighten and crying. I had the notion that I just wanted this existence to end as I could see no end to it. The only way I could see to end my life was by bashing my head on the brick wall which was next to my bed. I really did think that and tried it. I though that by hitting my head on the stone wall I could cause a brain bleed and I would die. The only thing that knocking my head on the wall did was to give me a sore spot on my head and bad headaches, as 24 years down the line proved, I am still here.

One day I woke up, as we all do, and realised that the world outside my window and now alien to me, was not going to knock on my door, take me by my hand, pat me on my head and say “there, there Mary” and give me my old life back. I had to take back my life and control of it, stop feeling sorry for myself and do something about my situation; none else was going to do it for me.

My first step was to move to a bungalow and when I moved in I remember saying to the removal men as they unloaded the van, that my bed could go against that wall, pointing to a wall in my lounge, only to be reminded by my friend that I now had a separate bedroom. My mind was still in my old life.

I could now slowly see me taking my life back. I started to go out at first for short periods of time, remember I was in my comfort zone when I was in my bed. This getting my life back was not an easy journey and was a full 2 years before I was out of my bed all day. My care package was increased, so I was able to go to the city, do my own shopping, all ofcouse with the help of a carer with me. The more I managed to get out, the more I wanted to do get out and do things, shopping for myself, and I love going to the theatre, live music concerts. The list was, and still is endless.

This as I have said, did not happen over night, I made it happen. I saw a door of my life open and I went through. I once again took charge and control of my own destiny.

Since getting my life back I could write a very long and boring list of what I have done since to take back control of my life. The main thing is I did it, not someone else.

So what about next year, 2012?

2012 is the year that the Olympics comes to the UK and I and my care team will be there as “Game Makers,” for more details go to http://www.london2012.com .

So if you are sitting at home, waiting for life and social services to provide you with what ever you think your rights are you need to think again. If you are disabled or elderly, fed up, depressed, got no cash, then say to yourself what I can do to improve my lot. I say bang on a few doors, ask your own questions, get you own answers. There are many doors you can bang on, say let me in, and say I need some help, and ask your own questions.

If I may use the Church word, if you are a Christian or not, try out your local church, there is usually quite a community behind those closed doors, who knows what you may find there. You may or may not discover God but you may make some good friends. Try banging on any door to any organision and you may well be surprised the help you will find. I still do bang on doors some 24 yrs in and I never cease to be amazed at what gifts and gems are offered.

I do have my good days and my bad days, we all do, but the bad days are few as I am now back in control my life, and will I go back to how things were, in the words of a good friend. “That is so not going to happen!”

ML

Matty’s ‘The Heart of Parkinsonism’ Poem

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Transcript

Oh what is Parkinson’s Disease
That brings its victims to their knees
Shakes their world from end to end
And forces the body to shake and bend
Lack of Dopamine in the brain
Means their life is not the same
Why this ode?
What’s the point?
A cure for all is what we want
Help research, join us today
The Newcastle Branch
Of Parkinson’s UK