Dementia: ‘When I Need You’

I always try to listen to When I Need You by Leo Sayer on this day every year.  It is something I have done for the last 40 years as it is the birthday of Annette, my first wife, who died at the age of 29.  She passed away after a very brave battle against cancer.  I can recall listening to Leo on many occasions and getting great comfort from the words of the song.  So 40 years later, and once again my wife has a diagnosis that may well shorten her life.  However, the similarities in what has happened to these two beautiful people don’t just end with being married to the same man.

Annette, and Maureen, have both experienced a delayed diagnosis of  life threatening conditions.  All of the tests Annette had for her condition suggested that the lump in her breast was benign.  It was only when we insisted on a  biopsy that we were given the news that the lump was malignant.  We will never know but earlier intervention may have led to a different outcome.   There is no doubt that the options for treatment that are now available, may well have extended her life.

Maureen has also experienced delays in her diagnosis.  There is no doubt that had she been sent to the Stroke Unit at Scunthorpe her treatment would have been different.   It therefore seems likely that the damage from stroke could have been contained with the use of thrombolytic medication.  She may well have regained her vision, and dementia may not have occured.

One of the shining star in both Annette’s and Maureen’s experience has been the contribution of General Practitioners.  Annette’s G P looked after her like a daughter, and shed tears on her passing.  Dr Munjal couldn’t do any more to help us on our journey with dementia.

One other positive about Dr Jarrett, who looked after Annette so well, he supervised the home delivery of three children to my ex wife Julie.  He has sadly passed now but he was there as Juile delivered, Steven, Anna and Esme.  We are so lucky in the country to have such skilled and devoted G P’s

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