Normms’ blog: On being admitted to hospital

Norrms McNamara
Norrms McNamara

Our columnist Norrms McNamara reflects on what it’s like to live with dementia

Hiya all. Last year didn’t end that well for me sadly as I was admitted to hospital with pancreatitis, a very nasty and painful illness and because of existing health conditions I also went into heart, kidney and liver failure; at one time I was even bright yellow. It was a very close run thing but I’m still here to tell the tale thanks to all concerned saving my life while I was there. But?

The awareness of dementia among the staff, and I mean all staff from consultants to nurses, was woefully lacking which I will say on record now is “not their fault” (I am a huge NHS fan) but the fault of those in charge. As you know, I have the Lewy bodies type dementia which can come and go for short or long periods of time, mostly late afternoon and evenings is my worst time, but I am sure some of the staff had memory problems as bad as me, as I lost count of the times I said to them: “What part of ‘I have dementia’ are you having trouble understanding, please?”

Every day they bombarded me with question after question and unless my wife was there it was ever so frustrating to say the least. Now let’s get this right, dementia in now the UK’s biggest killer healthwise and yet? Well, you know the rest I am sure, and yet those who are supposed to be aware of it, those that come across it on a regular basis know so little about it or differing types of it, yes, there is something very wrong there.

On a happier note, last year the Purple Angel Dementia Campaign UK charity which I founded myself, sent out more than 1,200 free (yes that’s free, so this is not a sales pitch in any way shape or form) MP3s to those with dementia in the UK with music of their very own choice uploaded onto them as part of our free MP3s for all with dementia in the UK campaign.

We are now in our fifth year doing this and over the years have sent out in excess of 10,000 free MP3s around the UK, including to care homes, hospitals, nursing homes or those living at home with loved ones with dementia, including  headphones, postage and packaging and help afterwards if needed.

The feedback has been incredible and we know we are helping thousands every day across the country. We keep it free thanks to our incredible fundraising team so we take all the worry and cost out of it, and in today’s climate as they say, every little helps.

If you haven’t heard of our campaign? Why not?  But no matter, you have now. Here’s the link: purpleangel-global.com/mp3-players/ and please feel free to contact me directly on [email protected] that’s two rr`s in norrms or I really won’t get it. Here is a small example of feedback we have had:

“This gentleman’s MP3 player was full of songs he chose himself, a lot were happy songs he could sing along to. This man as part of his dementia has tendencies to shout inappropriate comments out in the lounge, but when using his MP3 player the inappropriate comments seem to cease and he will sing along to his chosen music. He also enjoys to share his music with other family members in our home.”

“This lady was over the moon when she received her very own MP3 player. She could not believe it contained a little bit of every genre she liked. James Last was a firm favourite and she could now listen to him as her leisure. When she plays her music her foot begins to tap and then her arms begin to sway, the joy this brings is beautiful to watch.”

Till next time…

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