Alzheimer’s and the Flu – Norrms McNamara



Alzheimer’s and the Flu

 This is another great article to the insights of Alzheimer’s when ill by Norrms McNamara

I started with the flu on New Year’s Eve, just a shiver and a runny nose at first. Then it all went downhill from there culminating in one of the worst nights we have ever had last night. So, here I am, with the flu, add into the mix, Alzheimer’s, COPD, and major breathing problems and it’s just a recipe for disaster which came to a head  last night.

I cannot remember ever feeling so ill as I did last night but Elaine has assured me it’s happened a few times (Don’t you just love this illness NOT!!!) By 8 o clock I was totally convinced I was breathing my last as the fluid built up on my lungs (heart failure symptoms) I had my Oxygen machine up to full tilt at 5 litres a second and my mind was just all over the place and I really couldn’t get a grip on what was reality and what wasn’t.

Going to bed was a monumental manoeuvre which could have only been organised by “My Angel” Elaine. The four pillows were put into position, the oxygen machine moved into the hallway, oxygen mask on, tablets taken and so to sleep? Err No!!!

As soon as I lay my head down I started to cough and felt as if my lungs had just smoked 50 cigars one after the other!! (I don’t by the way loll) It was impossible to breathe and I was sounding like nothing from this earth. Panic started to set in and as much as Elaine reassured me all would be ok before I knew it I had jumped out of bed and was back sat in my reclining chair in the front room with my headphones on listening to “The Greatest Love of all!!” (A story for another time I promise)

Elaine eventually settled me down and I convinced her that I would now be ok in the front room and would she please try and get some sleep without me waking her every two minutes. The time was 11-30pm, two and a half hours past my normal bedtime and I tried to settle down listening to my music but no matter how loud I played it I could still hear my lungs wheezing like an old stem train.

Elaine being the “Angel” she is kept coming into check on me and I even tried to pretend I was asleep at one stage so she could get some sleep but you can’t fool that darling of mine and she was having none of it. The time was now 1-45am and Elaine ordered me back to bed with an extra two pillows, cough medicine, oxygen mask but no music.

This part I have no memory of, but as the fever peaked I apparently started to ramble about holidaying in Blackpool with Elaine and my wonderful mother and the pleasures of eating a foot long hot dog!!!LOL LOL In some ways I wish I could remember this as going on holiday with my mum just before she passed away was one of the best holidays we have ever had, and I still sit and weep sometimes as I think back to the laughs we had.

Eventually, daybreak came, and as I turned over to look at Elaine she was already looking at me, smiling and telling me in her own unique way that all was ok and we live to fight another day. How long she had been awake she never said but by the look of tiredness on her face I don’t think she got much sleep last night. I just mouthed the word “Thank You” and “I love you” as I drifted off for another ten minutes or so, safe in the arms of the only woman I have ever really loved. 

Let’s face it, it’s bad enough having the dreaded flu, but to have Alzheimer’s when you have it is one of those things I am famous for saying” Nobody told me this would happen!!!” So many things are changed when you have this horrible illness, the goalposts are moved so many times its hard to keep up!! Your everyday life is changed forever, not only for you but all around you. Please remember, your loved ones are the ones who have to deal with the fallout from all this and I for one will be eternally grateful to “My Angel” for being there for me and being as patient as she is. Would I be as patient?? I would like to think so, but, if I am totally honest I don’t know if no would be.

So to all you carers/Caregivers and loved ones I thank each and every one of you for doing what you do, do I believe in Angels?? YES I DO!! They exist here and now and are looking after all of us who are affected by this dreadful disease.



Norrms McNamara speaks & writes from his heart on Alzheimer's disease


Hopefully tomorrow will be a better day xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx

Best wishes, Norrms and a very tired Elaine xxxxxxxxxxxxxxx

3 Replies to “Alzheimer’s and the Flu – Norrms McNamara”

  1. Norms:
    Sorry to hear you had a bad night. I have COPD also and I know the feeling that you described… lungs filling up, not being able to breathe. It is horribly scarey.
    Now that my Vinnie is in a nursing home, I fear the day that I may have a bout with the flu. Who will be there to take care of me? Thank God you have Elaine. My prayers for fast recovery.
    Love, Jackie

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