Kerrie remembers her dad Tony. A special dad, grandad and husband who always had a smile. Tony passed away in July 2011.
My gorgeous Dad was a builder and he worked up to November 2010 aged 72.
After getting over a tremendous house fire in which my parents lost everything and after having a second cancer operation and getting the all-clear, Dad noticed he couldn’t get his voice to a high pitch and kept saying he couldn’t clear his throat. We all thought it was down to the house fire and smoke inhalation as they were lucky to be alive!
A couple of months passed and Dad started to slur his speech. I had to explain to friends that my Dad had not been drinking and that he was having a problem talking/communicating to us.
He had tests at the hospital in Exeter and the dreaded news came in December 2010 that Dad had MND. From that moment on I just knew that Christmas had to be special.
Thinking back we had known Dad to have shaky hands for a few years and then a twitching in his shoulder which then continued throughout his whole body from his neck to his toes but none of the family ever thought it could be MND.
Inside I was heartbroken to think this hardworking man had the most heart- rendering disease. Why our Dad?
Dad’s eating declined rapidly over the next few months to the point where his food had to be soft and blended. He was getting weaker too. In July he had a PEG fitted. There were complications with the operation but Dad the fighter came through it. After the op he seemed to have good and bad days, very frail and weak but always smiling! There were sad moments and lots of funny moments in the hospital – too many to include here.
The hospital staff started to plan for the care Dad would need at home as he was now so frail. But sadly on Thursday 21st July 2011 Dad died. I was awoken at 1.30am by my phone ringing and I just knew my Dad had passed away! I could not believe it! And I still can’t believe now that he’s gone.
I knew deep in my heart he knew he was leaving us. He was writing on his board, holding our hands, squeezing our hands, as if to say “Hey, I’m still here!” He gave the family a week for all of us to visit him and we all told him how much we loved him.
If I could say anything to other families affected by MND then it’s to treasure every single day. Enjoy, laugh, smile, do as much as you can and want to as life is short and precious.
The care we received from Cynthia our MND Association visitor, who I have nicknamed our ‘MND Angel’, was wonderful. She deserves to receive an Honour from the Queen. She has time for you night or day! She’s very much part of the family and you can talk to her about anything. She helped my son cope well after losing his Grandad and without her support I know my son and I would be in a far worse state.
Tony Wheaton - A very special father, grandad and husband! Never ever once did Dad complain, moan or groan about MND. He always had a gorgeous smile with a giggle and gave us the thumbs up to say everything was alright.
Dad - You'll be in my heart always. We miss you and think about you every single day.