Ann’s Story

The 23rd September 2012 is a day I will not forget in a hurry. That was the date of my wedding anniversary, it was also the day I discovered I had a pressure sore, and so began the hell of the last 3 years.

Just to give you a picture of my life up to this. I was involved in a Road Traffic Accident in 1972. I was a front seat passenger. I fractured my spine at T12 level and then spent a long period of time in the Rehab in Dun Laoghaire, first in bed and then for rehabilitation. After being released I did a secretarial course in the Vocational School in Kilkenny and at the end of that I got a job with the HSE in Kilkenny. Through this I made good friends and began to socialize. Socializing was difficult in a lot of ways at that time, accessibility was not good and accessible toilets were few and far between.

Over the years before this pressure sore we were both enjoying life. We were working fulltime, I was driving my own car, we were going on one or two foreign holidays a year, going out for meals whenever we wanted and generally enjoying life. But of course all that came to a halt when I got the pressure sore. I was treated at home as I was told no beds were available in Dun Laoghaire. That meant complete bed rest and dressings by the Public Health Nurses. Suddenly everything in the house had to centre around my bedroom. The television was moved in from the sitting room. Michael had to take over all the cooking and house hold duties that we had always shared as well as looking after me. The whole balance of the home and family was changed completely.

When I look back now I think I did spend a lot of time putting a brave face on things and trying to take one day at a time

Eimear asked me to write this article to help people who are in a similar situation of having to remain in bed for long periods, to tell people how I coped. To be honest it was a terrible ordeal and I don’t think there is any easy way to get through it. I had Home Help twice a day but even so I spent an awful lot of time alone. I love to read and this was a blessing as it kept my mind off thinking about the position I was in. I also like to knit and crochet. I found it difficult to knit in a lying position but I did a lot of crochet. I recently finished a blanket that I started while in bed and I also did one for my daughter. Lisa went on holiday to America and brought me back an IPad and I must say I found this a great help, I joined Facebook and so could keep up with people that way.

There were times when nothing would make me happy and there were times when I felt I couldn’t cope and of course there were tears. For my 60th birthday I was still in bed and wasn’t thinking of celebrating in a big way but Michael my husband arranged a surprise party with all the family coming to my house for lunch and spending the afternoon together. I took part as best I could from by bed and I did appreciate the thought. When I look back now I think I did spend a lot of time putting a brave face on things and trying to take one day at a time and telling myself there will be an end to this and I will get back to a normal life again.

Nowadays I am up and about most of the time and can go out for meals and short trips. I am not driving at present as all the transferring in and out of the car would be too much of a risk. I am in the process of retiring from my job as I would not be able for it any more. So as you can see this has changed our lives a lot. However I am improving all the time and even though my life is different I look to the future with optimism and hope.

Ann Byrne