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I first met Brid in 1958. She was a hairdresser in Berkeley Road, and I worked for the great Toddy OíSullivan in the Gresham. We got married in 1961 and went to live in Santry. Jacinta our daughter and Lorcan our first son were born there. In 1969 we moved to our present address where John our second son was born. The children grew up, went to school, got jobs and then got married and made us grandparents!
In 1991 my mother died suddenly. Late in 1992 after what the travel agent called ĎThe Holiday of a Lifetimeí I did not feel good, nothing in particular, just feeling down in myself. I tired easily and walked or should I say shuffled along and I was favouring my left side.
I eventually went to my GP. She could not find anything unusual but sent for blood tests and x-rays. The blood tests were clear but the x-rays showed a stripped nerve in my neck. The doctor then suggested I see a rheumatologist. The only appointment I could get was in St. Vincentís Private Hospital at 8 am on the 14th December, a day I will never forget in a hurry. I had a thorough examination and, after looking at the x-rays a couple of times, he concluded by saying ĎI may be wrong but I think you have Parkinsonís Disease and you need to see a neurologistí
I drove home about 9.30 am, wondering what was PD. I had to wait until the 4th January 1993 to see a neurologist who said ĎAs my colleague told you and I now confirm, you have mild Parkinsonísí.
He then suggested a book from the library called "The Parkinson's Handbook" by D. C. McGoon, M.D. I read the book and then realised I had PD when my mother died in 1991. My G.P. suggested that I contact the Parkinson's Association, who were very helpful.
Brid immediately started to care for me. She joined a carers' group, did a first aid course and a course in safe lifting techniques. Then in 1996 tragedy struck. My beautiful darling Brid was diagnosed with breast cancer. After six months of Chemo and Radium, she got four good years.
Early in the year 2000 she developed a pain in her hip and knee. In May she was diagnosed with bone cancer. Again more treatment, but on October 26th Brid went to bed early as her ribs were sore. About 10.30 pm the pain got very severe and I had to take her to hospital where she was given a pain killing injection. The next day her Chemo was discontinued and she was put on painkillers.
On the following Friday I took her home to the house she loved, and with the help of the St. Francis Hospice Home Care Team, I looked after her as I had promised her.
I seemed to have forgotten about my Parkinsonís. Christmas and the New Year came and went and Brid got weaker. On Friday 2nd February 2001 she entered the Hospice for two weeks respite, but at 4.10 am on Monday 12 February, she died in her sleep.
Brid had requested she be brought home and placed in the dining room looking out at the garden and the lights she loved. She also wanted a party atmosphere (no doom and gloom) and to be surrounded by her family, neighbours and friends. We kept her at home until 11 oíclock Mass on St. Valentineís Day.