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Hi. I'm Ian Spedding and I am going to cycle from John o'Groats to Lands End. I know its been done a million times before and will be done a million times again but I have a reason which is dear and special to me.
In November 2010 my mother was diagnosed with a terminal illness. It was a cancer of the liver and the doctor told her she had probably had this for "quite some time". My mam (as we all called her) was called Jean Catherine Spedding and she was married for 47 years to my dad David Spedding. In our family there is myself I have 2 brothers and a sister and we all have partners. There are 18 grandchildren and 6 great grandchildren. I think! As you could imagine this rocked our world and we did'nt know what was going to happen.
Three weeks later mam had a routine hospital visit to see which treatment would be best suited to her to help her live that little bit longer. The doctors who examined her that day admitted her as there were signs of Jaundice. Routine as she could not be treat otherwise. She was told she would need a small procedure to help reduce the jaundice and then treatment could commence.
On Friday 3rd December mam had her procedure and it was working as it should have been which was all good . However, the doctors and the nurses could not get mams blood pressure or breathing to correct itself and on Sunday 5th December made the decision to move her to critical care and we were told to prepare for the worse! Again our family was rocked.
This is where I had my eyes opened and made my decision to which charity I would raise money for. My mothers care was undertaken by the team of amazing people in the Critical Care Unit, Freemans Hospital in Newcastle upon Tyne. We are a pretty close family and we got together and made the decision to get all the grand kids to go to the hospital to see her on Monday 06th December.
This happened as planned and each and every one of them came along and spoke with their nana (as they all called her) and some brought photos and my son James her youngest grand child made some snowflakes and wrote on them reasons to fight and memories they had together, he also gave her his teddy which never from that time onwards left her side.
There were some pretty honest discussions with the doctors in the CCU who showed their compassion and professionalism at all times along with their staff. One man in particular stood out he is called Dr. Cressey he told us every thing we needed to know and kept us in the picture. He always spoke with mam and dad first then with us. On the Tuesday he told us mam would only have 24 to 48hrs to live and we were now able to see her any time of day or night we wanted. We camped out all night in the hospital and visited her when we felt we needed to. Mam was amazingly strong she was aware of all the things that were going on around her even when she was on the heavy medication.
On Wednesday 08th December Dr. Cressey was'nt on shift and the usual routine took place but this time dad came to us after the chat with the doctors and mam. He said "its not good" and walked out. We sat in the quiet room waited for the doctor who was a man we had never met before. He entered the room with a nurse by his side and introduced himself and the nurse to us. He then went on and told us with immense empathy that mam would die that day and they would do every thing in their power to make it dignified and as comfortable as possible. He stood at the door and turned back befor he left and said " I do'nt know if you realise this but your mam is an incredibly strong woman. She should'nt even be awake never mind talking sense. I have never met any of you before and I have to give you this news I'm sorry". He left the room with tears in his eyes and we were left in the company of a nurse who explained what would happen. We all understood.
In total not including mam there were 12 people (including mams 3 sisters) by her side when she passed away and as promised it happened with dignity and she was comfortable. We all said our last good byes and mam said hers and her last words being "I'm not ready to go yet but I love you all and my grand kids as well". She left us at 16:01pm and as the heart monitor slowed to say we were losing her we all went to her and kissed her and said some thing to her. Each time a person did this the monitor showed her heart rate increase she even tried to speak as my wife Suzanne told her she loved her. She was with us till the end.
A sad story I know and we are definately not the only people who have lost some one dear to us however, I intend to bring something good out of this by raising money to donate to the DREAME Fund which is for all Newcastle City Hospitals. I am going to donate it directly to the CCU itself. I know that my mam had cancer and the cancer charities get so much more publicity but people forget about the the local hospitals and their importance and each ward as individuals need things over and above what the NHS can and will provide. My mam died and there was not a thing any of the doctors or nurses could do about it but they showed they did care and that is why I am doing this.
Oh by the way the teddy my son gave to her was with her till the very end she made sure of that. Its now cherished by my son even more than it was before!