My name is Andrew, known as Drew by everyone. I was born in 1943, the eldest of four and had a marvellous happy childhood.
I enjoyed long distance cycling, later riding a 350cc Royal Enfield. I took classical guitar lessons, eventually forming a rock group in the early ‘60s, from which I made loads of money. I retired from the group in ‘67 and resumed my normal trade.
I met and married a gorgeous farmer's daughter in 1969. My wife was a manageress in a well known department store, but retired to look after our family in 1980.
We had a son in 1981 and a daughter in 84. Tragically our son was killed in 2004 a month after receiving his degree, whilst on the USA leg of a year long world tour.
I followed my Dad’s footsteps and became an Engineer’s Patternmaker, which involves making, in wood, metal or plastic, foundry equipment for producing moulds for anything from hammer heads to automobile engines. After I was made redundant in 1984, I found employment at our local Community College, which was extremely enjoyable.
I have been living with a slower progressing form of MND since 1992, but did not get my diagnosis until 1997 after numerous tests.
My balance was the first function to be affected – I walked as if I was drunk.
My wife and daughter are about the only people who can still understand me now, as my speech is so bad. I often use my lightwriter.
With the aid of hand rails I’m still able to stand and transfer from my electric wheelchair to the toilet and to get into bed, terribly slow mind. When I say stand, this is only for short periods, my arms, although weak, help to steady me. I attribute this to the long distance backpacking we did prior to my MND.
Getting out of bed was a different problem, solved when the local health authority supplied a rise and fall electric bed. Unfortunately, I can no longer turn in my bed and therefore sleep on my back, which I don’t think I will ever get used to. Also I can no longer lay flat in bed – so I have to sleep slightly raised from the waist.
I am now also having difficulty eating some types of food as my gullet seems to have shrunk somewhat in diameter, or it feels as if it has. I am also unable to clear my throat and bring up any trapped wind, which is a real bind.
My best mate now is my computer – yeah, I’d really be in a mess without it I can tell you. My main hobby now is listening to mp3 music downloaded on my PC.
I have bought online, ten 1GB USB 2.0 Flash drives,which each hold about 20 albums, and have come down dramatically in price. Just one flash drive provides me with 16 hours of music, amazing.