2020 Never Forgotten, Norma Patterson
Generous, loving and adventurous; Brown Owl for 22 years and missed every day .
Norma Patterson was admitted to Alice House Hospice on 27th March, just after the first Covid-19 Lockdown was announced by the Government.
“Mam was a wonderful lady, always placid and gracious.”
Terry, one of Norma’s three daughters, spoke about that time, “Mam had been living well with heart failure following a heart attack in 1993 but it had recently worsened to the point she needed more expert palliative care than we could provide for her at home.
Mam was admitted to Alice House on the 27th March just a few days into the first national lockdown. At first she was allowed 2 named visitors but after a couple of days staff noticed Mam had a cough and although we knew this was a long standing symptom of her heart condition, they had to respond as if she had Covid. No tests were available at the time so staff had to take precautions to protect her, other patients and themselves by wearing full PPE and all visiting was stopped.
A few days later it was decided she didn’t have Covid and this was relaxed but we were then told that the wards were being split to ensure continuing safety for patients without a Covid diagnosis. Once Mam was moved into the long stay end there was to be no further visits allowed. This was devastating for us as we knew Mam was close to the end and we might never see her again. Before moving her to the new ward my sisters and I were allowed to visit for an afternoon with Mam. This was a very special time. She was in a good place, although a little confused due to the medication we all had a lovely couple of hours and even quite a laugh with her.
Unfortunately once she was moved communications with staff were initially sketchy which we found really hard. We had always been very involved with her treatment especially with the drugs and the associated side effects. This was upsetting for us, not being able to get a clear picture of what was going on, it would have been really good to be able to have one point of contact during that period but the medical teams were still adjusting to a new way of working, at a time that was difficult and worrying for everyone.
My partner and bother in law had a last visit with Mam on the Sunday before she died. I couldn’t visit that time – I had my wonderful memories of the afternoon visit which I didn’t want to replace with anything else. I did write a letter for her though which was read softly into her ‘good’ ear. I told her how loved she was and what a wonderful Mam she had been. She kept waking a little and saying ‘thank you’ and ‘lovely’; it gives me comfort to know she heard my words even though I couldn’t tell her myself. Mam died 3 days later on 15th April.
Mam was a wonderful lady, always placid and gracious and talking about her, knowing that the 2020 Never Forgotten campaign means she will be remembered, feels like ‘tying up some loose ends’. It’s important and helpful for us to talk about Mam and thank you for making the effort to remember.”