|A mother's love|
Introduced by Maria
Walker Learning Disability student nurse at Hertfordshire University
I am already a huge fan of the Warrior Mum stories; they have become a valuable and integral part of my Learning Disability Nurse studies at the University of Hertfordshire. I am so grateful to these amazing women for being brave enough to share some of the most intimate and, occasionally, traumatic moments of their lives. The insight offered by these stories will make me a better Learning Disability Nurse when I qualify this time next year. I will remember to always respect, consider and fight alongside these families in order to provide the best possible care to the4 children they adore.
When I read Pat's and Lyndsey's story I was once again touch by the enormous courage and boundless love for their children these amazing people demonstrate time and again. Pat's fight began the moment Lyndsey developed the encephalitis which lead to brain damage and a rare form of epilepsy. She fought for her the walk, then to keep her school open. She endured shocking insults, suggestions and accusations from professionals who were supposed to be supporting Lyndsey and she is still fighting to keep her safe and properly cared for. All of this whilst fighting for her own health with little support and a terminally ill husband. Pat speaks from her heart and I was bursting with pride at her successes and furious at the disregard shown by some of the professionals that were paid to support her. Pat story increases my passion for Learning Disability Nursing and my hope of being a reliable and valuable support to families like hers.
This is Pat's story
|Linda and Pat|
I was very close to Linda as there is only 18 months between us. She was born with a cleft lip and was sometimes bullied at school so I was always getting in trouble for standing up to the bullies. I didn't care though. No one picks on my sister.
I was nine when Debbie was born and Mum nearly died; she was in hospital for over a month. She was anaemic and developed sleeping sickness so I used to help her look after my baby sister. I have always been close to Debbie too.
I married at the age of 17 in 1972 and gave birth two years later. I only have one child; Lyndsey Anne, she was born a beautiful healthy baby girl. I loved her so much. She was perfect in every way.
The day she was born she was holding her head up trying to look out her little glass crib. A nurse who was walking past said " Oh my gosh, look at her. She's been on this earth before.
Sadly when my little girl was 5 months old she developed encephalitis. Our GP treated her for colic and because the encephalitis was left untreated, it caused massive brain damage and epilepsy. She spent a week in hospital after her diagnosis. They ran a battery of tests and said she was suffering from a rare form of epilepsy called Salam Convulsions and these were caused by the Encephalitis. She was the only case in 40 years to have this type of epilepsy at the hospital.
|Mum and daughter|
I also felt I needed to offer my support so I joined a mothers group at Lyndsey's special school and helped to raise money. I used to help the staff take exercise classes and go on outings every week with the kids because there wasn't enough staff to help or push the wheelchairs. I loved feeling needed. I helped raise money too at the local children’s respite home.
The years passed and it's true to say I had to fight for every single thing Lyndsey needed. I even fought to stop the council from closing the special school. They wanted to sell it to the Catholic Church and move our kids miles away, but we fought and protested and eventually won.
If not with her seizures, which she has every day, it was chest infections. She had pneumonia nine times over the years. Then there were cuts and bruises from banging her head and face while having her seizures.
|A day in the life|
M. What makes Lyndsey smile?
|Keith and Pat|
He grew to love Lyndsey as much as I did. My health improved and I would just have the odd flare up, but we coped with it.
He asked me to marry him and as we were going away to our friends in Blackpool for that Christmas 1997, we decided to sneak off and do it on the quiet. We had both been married before so we didn't need to have a big ceremony.
|Pat in hospital|
I had forgotten how Lyndsey would be if I left her; I was literally drowning in my own grief.
Another sweeping change was that we no longer had a specific social worker and Matthew was put through to the duty social worker who knew neither Lyndsey nor myself.
A few months ago my doctor started me on Morphine for the pain. It has helped but for how long is any ones guess. I had to buy myself a mobility scooter because now I can barely walk and can only stand for 5 minutes at a time. I don't know why life has had to be this hard.
|"Here's to life!"|
It’s not easy. But hey, we are alive and kicking and I am a stubborn woman.
Thank you for sharing your story Pat. You are a truly amazing woman.
FOLLOW PAT ON TWITTER @angelbummer