From the Kent and Sussex Courier, 22 April 2011 (story by Claire Cromie).
DEVOTED mother Kay Gilderdale, who helped her ill daughter Lynn to die, has said she cannot return to the nursing job she once loved after their traumatic experience of hospitals.
Kay, of Lymden Close, Stonegate, was cleared of her daughter’s attempted murder in January last year.
Lynn, 31, had injected herself with morphine in December 2008 after being bedridden with ME for 17 years. Having discovered her daughter’s failed overdose, Kay gave Lynn more drugs when she feared she would be brain damaged.
Kay has now released a book, One Last Goodbye, in which she documents their exasperating battle to find explanations and treatments for Lynn’s illness.
Speaking to the Courier this week, she described the years of pain and confusion, which she claimed was made worse by the ignorance and attitudes of hospital staff.
“I still feel cross because it cost her unnecessary suffering and I just wish she hadn’t gone through that. Even still today there are doctors that don’t believe in ME.”
For years there was a debate as to whether ME, known as Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, was actually an illness.
So from when Lynn first became ill as a 14-year-old girl, after her BCG jab, to when she died aged 31, she was repeatedly told by doctors and nurses there was nothing wrong with her.
“They kept telling her she was pretending, that she was a silly little girl and it put terrible stress on us,” said Kay. “Nobody wants to change their life from being an active, happy person to being unable to move. I don’t really understand why they didn’t accept it.”
Kay and her then-husband Richard were constantly questioned by doctors in hospitals in Tunbridge Wells, Eastbourne and London, and scolded for not forcing her to return to school.
She said staff insisted that the cause of her illness must by psychological.
Kay said: “We had to learn to watch how we acted in front of them. I kept thinking if they would just open their eyes and see the person in front of them, they would realise how serious it is.”
Before Lynn became ill Kay worked as a nurse. Nursing and having children were all she ever wanted in life.
But now she is unable to return to her profession: “If I walk into a hospital all those feelings come back.”
It was Lynn’s request that Kay write a book to raise awareness of ME. “It was very hard emotionally. Every time I read her letters I cried and it was so emotional that I was drained the whole time I was doing it. I had to keep working on it with tears rolling down my face.
“I was so angry that she had put up this fight for all these years and she really deserved to get better, how could she not?
“I thought ‘where is the fairness in this?’ Seventeen years and there was no reward at the end of it.”
Kay, who had cared for Lynn in their Stonegate bungalow all those years, said their home suddenly felt empty. “I didn’t want to be away from here.
“I felt closest to her here, even though it felt empty.
“I will at some stage sell this house because it is too big for me, but not yet. I still feel her here.”