I wanted to contact you with my Mam's story. She had MND and died on 29 April 2009.
My Mam had MND for about 10 months before she was taken from us. She was actually only diagnosed with MND two weeks before her death.
My Mam's first symptoms of what turned out to be MND began when she tripped at home and whilst she was out shopping. She thought she had footdrop in one of her feet and started walking with a stick. A few weeks went by and her walking got worse as she developed footdrop in her other foot and started walking with two sticks.
In time, my Mam's walking became impossible and she took to a wheelchair and gave up her job working at a local school and playgroup where she worked for 25 years - this totally broke her heart.
Already, her illness was slowly beginning to ebb away at her active lifestyle and strip her of the activities she loved. Now wheechair-bound, she began to lose the function in her right arm, switching all activity onto her left arm, which soon followed suit and became useless to her too.
Next, she lost the control of her neck muscles and her head often lolled forward, her chin resting on her chest. With a history of MS in the family it was assumed that Mam had the same disease, but she'd never been diagnosed as such.
It was late on Easter Sunday 2009 that I got a call from my Auntie. She was at the hospital with Dad after Mam had been taken in via ambulance. I was asked to head straight down to A & E as things didn't 'look good'.
Mam was in a terrible state. I didn't know what to do or say, how was it possible for her to be like this? I'd only seen her earlier that day. Inside I was devastated but outside I tried to be strong.
Seeing her being fed by the nurses was gutting, another example of how the disease embarrasses and strips people of their basic dignities ad functions. Mam held onto life for two weeks, and Dad was at her bedside for what seemed like 24 hours a day, but eventually, the call came from the hospital to say she'd passed away. It seemed like she waited for Dad to go home for a few hours before she 'decided' to die - maybe she wanted to go quietly and not worry anyone.
I detest MND and the sly little way it has of picking on people and stripping them of everything they have. My Mam didn't deserve any of what MND did to her, but she never once complained, she just got on with things and accepted where the disease was taking her.
Richard Bentley - Son of Brenda Bentley - 31.12.1950 - 29.4.2009