Ann Batchelor (64) is living with Motor Neurone Disease (MND). She’s been a supervisor at Molten Brown for 21 years. She had a couple of falls last year which led to a diagnosis of a rapidly progressive form of MND. Ann has sadly been told that she is unlikely to see Christmas this year and is receiving personal care and support from the St Clare Hospice at Home team. Ann lives near Saffron Walden with her husband Ken, and their two Yorkshire Terriers, Albert and Bob.
“It all started one evening when I had a fall after a late shift. I blacked my eye and blacked all my leg. I went to the doctors and they did some tests and I found couldn’t walk straight.”
“I then saw a neurologist and was quickly diagnosed with MND. It was all so fast. Last November I was walking around.”
Ann is now being visited everyday by the Hospice at Home team. “They have made a massive difference to me and Ken,” explains Ann. “We were struggling and I didn’t have the hospital bed. They arranged one for me but it was still hard to shower, as my legs were giving away. I couldn’t wash my hair because I can’t keep my arms and hands up very long.”
“So when the Hospice at Home girls started coming it was just a relief to be washed every day and to feel clean.”
“I call them my little angels because … I don’t know what the word is, they’re different. They seem to understand what you are going through, they’re just so gentle, and they keep your dignity as well.”
“You’re not laying there naked, you’re always covered with towels. They are just lovely people, they really are.”
Ann has decided she doesn’t want any treatment that would prolong her life. Her voice is getting weaker and she explains, “My diaphragm muscles are going, which makes your lungs work. I’m meant to be on a NIPV machine, but that can prolong your life. So I don’t use it because I don’t want it to be prolonged. Apart from that, everything’s great,” she jokes.
“I’m not afraid of dying” said Ann, “Within two weeks of my diagnosis I had sorted out my insurance, planned my funeral and written my Will. Being so organised must be the supervisor in me. One of the reasons I’m not afraid is because I had a son who died when he was 29. I’ve asked for my ashes to be put under my son’s cross at the church. I know when I go, I’ll be seeing him again.”
We are sad to update this story to say that Ann died on 4th May 2023. Her family and friends are in our thoughts.
Support for Motor Neurone Disease
If you, or someone you know, is living with a complex neurological condition like MND, and would like to know more about how St Clare can support you, please ring our First Contact Service on 01279 773774