So ….like a lot of people during this Covid-19 lockdown, I’ve been tidying up "stuff"….including files and emails on my trusty laptop. I clicked on this letter which transported me back to those
traumatic days 16 years ago:
Dublin & Carrick-on-Suir
14 December 2004
To the wonderful Doctors, Nurses & Staff of the High Dependency Unit,
Adams McConnell Ward, Beaumont Hospital
On 13th of April this year, my 75 year-old mother, Peggy Phelan, collapsed in the kitchen at home in Tipperary with what we subsequently found out was a Sub-Arachnoid brain haemorrhage. I can’t describe the shock my 89 year-old dad, brother and I felt to see a woman that was always so fit and healthy completely knocked out. She recovered quite well from the first haemorrhage but unfortunately had a much bigger one a week later – so bad that the doctors in the local hospital in Waterford gave her only hours to live. The night of April 20th 2004 was probably the longest night of my life ……as I sat beside her bed wondering what was going to happen next and if she was going to suffer much. Against all the odds, Mam started talking again at about 7am the following morning and within days was well enough to be transferred to Adams McConnell on April 22nd 2004.
This was such a scary time for all of us as we had never dealt with hospitals before. However, the warmth and care shown to my mother, to me and to my family from everyone in Adams McConnell made things so much easier. Despite being busy, the nurses in particular were absolutely brilliant. My mam looked so small and frail; my biggest concern was nobody could see the real Peggy, always full of life, and that she would be “written off”. However, she was in good and loving hands at all times and she received three attempts at coiling. I want to say a big “thank you” to everyone involved in the High Dependency Unit. You are all wonderful!! I want to say thanks in particular to Eloise and to Cathy who were so kind to me personally but I especially want to mention Caitriona who was there for me on the really harrowing days when the coiling attempts failed and further intervention was eventually ruled out. We took your advice and decided to “take our chances”. Your kindness will stay with me forever. Thanks for being there.
The good news is that after three months in hospitals in Beaumont, Cork, Waterford and Carrick-on-Suir, my mum returned home to us at the end of June04. Her recovery has been truly remarkable and I am convinced that part of her courage and strength came from the knowledge that she was in good and loving hands wherever we turned for help. She’s 99% back to her old self, ruling the roost, baking tarts etc and is doing really well.
I want to let you know just how grateful we are to the staff and physicians, at every level of care, who have given of their time to my Mam and me. Your help has given her back to us this Christmas and we are all really going to celebrate this one! She was up visiting with me this weekend in Dublin and I took the attached photo of our little family back together. Although she doesn’t remember much of her time with you, Mam also says a big “thank you” and hopes you and yours have a wonderful Christmas. We don’t know what the future holds but in Carrick there’s a saying that “the longest liver will get the town clock” and somehow I think my mum will give everyone else a run for their money!!
Love & Best Wishes
PS In the long hours of waiting between procedures, I took some comfort in reading other people’s experiences on your notice board. If anyone else in the same position gets to read this, all I can say is take comfort that that your loved one is being well looked after in Adams McConnell. Where there’s life, there’s definitely hope.
I’m delighted to say that we had our beloved Peggy with us for a further 10 great years. Ten years during which we visited Spain, Italy, Greece and Turkey….and had great celebrations for my Dad’s 90th birthday and Peggy’s 80th. She recovered extremely well. Like many people with brain injury, in the early days she was somewhat different personality-wise. It was like that comedy film “Liar, Liar” where she would blurt out exactly what she was thinking. Over time she re-developed a partial filter to the relief of all around her 🤣 .
I often still think about the wonderful nurses and medical staff in the Adams McConnell Ward...especially during this Covid-19 pandemic. They were angels. I also think of the other patients and their families with whom we shared that time. Many of them were not as lucky as Peggy. The treasured memories I have of that time are of all the wonderful kindnesses and practical support shown to Peggy and to me and my family by our friends, neighbours, relations and work colleagues. You pulled us through. Thank you!
So, write that letter of gratitude Now to someone who has been good to You!
Bucket List Items Partly Ticked Off in the above Blog post
Number 47 - Giving Back - Write A Letter of Gratitude
Other Blog Posts
Blog 7 - Alice Springs, Australia
Blog 8 - Adelaide, Australia
Blog 9 - Melbourne, Australia
Blog 10 - Cairns, Australia
Blog 11 - Sydney, Australia
Blog 16 - Books 8 of 80 to read now!
Did you ever receive a letter of gratitude? How did it make you feel?
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My name is Mary and this is my bucket list blog ...having survived a near-death experience. I hope it encourages you to "live your best life". See how I'm completing my own bucket list items. And let me know how you're getting on with yours!