My name is Colin and my wife Gladys (on the right, with our two daughters) was taken from me by dementia. I met Gladys in January 1958 and we were married the same year. I loved Gladys from the moment I saw her and knew I always wanted to be with her. We travelled together, we opened a youth club together, and we brought three wonderful children into the world.
Gladys was always lively and creative. The first signs that something was wrong was when she began to get her words muddled. We went to see the doctor, then the memory clinic. If you’ve had a personal experience of dementia in your family then I’m sure you remember clearly how it feels when you first hear the news. I do. When we were told Gladys had vascular dementia we were devastated and frightened.
There didn’t seem to be anything or anyone out there that could help us and I thought we would have to cope alone.
Whatever happened with Gladys’ dementia we were absolutely not going to be separated, and it was gaining the support of our Admiral Nurse Kellie that made this possible. She advised me to get Gladys reassessed so we could get more help and if her symptoms changed, and if something was getting us down, my two daughters and I could always contact Kellie.
When the end was approaching I don’t know what we would have done without Kellie’s knowledge of all the medical paperwork and all the things we had to do to prepare. There was one time when my daughter Janet was stuck at the doctor’s surgery waiting for an important document to be signed. Gladys was dying and Janet should have been by her mother’s side. Kellie rang the surgery and fast-tracked it. Without her intervention we might not all have been by Gladys’ side when she slipped away. We’d never have got over that.
It was only by chance that I found out about Admiral Nurses and I subsequently met our nurse, Kellie. Without the support of an Admiral Nurse, Gladys’ final months, days and hours would have been heartbreakingly different. Without the practical and emotional support of an Admiral Nurse she certainly wouldn’t have passed away surrounded by her family – the people she loved most in the world.
Kellie also continued to visit me after Gladys had died and helped me to rebuild my life.
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