My dear mother, who will be 89 in two weeks, was diagnosed with PSP on 30 April last year. Over the previous 3 years, she had increasingly suffered many falls, the last one on Aug 31 2011 resulted in her breaking her neck. Miraculously, she has recovered from the neck injury having undergone surgery to have a screw inserted. Immediately after surgery, she required a tracheostomy and spent a total of four months in hospital. During this time, through lack of activity, PSP took a further hold. There was little in the way of activity (physiotherapy etc) and she lost the ability to walk, could barely speak and, since the neck surgery, is unable to swallow and has been fitted with a RIG. She was discharged early January but, sadly, was not able to return home (she lived with me) and had to move to a nursing home. Although her hearing and sight have also deteriorated, her mental alertness continues to amaze me. My mother has always enjoyed the company of others, been actively involved in the community and sensitive to the needs of others. She now spends each day sitting in an armchair, in a lounge where almost no-one attempts to converse with her, unable to read even large print library books or knit. There is absolutely nothing for her to do and it is heart breaking to see her in this state. The nursing home is four miles away and I visit her every day, missing a day only occasionally. When I think about her, and about how different she used to be, I cry and cry. When I see her, I ask how she feels and she always replies that she is ‘alright’. Some days, I think she speaks quite well – at least, I can understand her – but on other days, she shows little interest and barely speaks at all except to reply that she is ‘alright’. She never complains about anything and the staff often tell me that she has a lovely smile. Indeed, she has always been known for her lovely smile and friendly nature. How cruel that she, and other PSP victims, have to end life like this.
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