Talking to my favourite people – Students……

Following on from yesterdays blog about my travelling escapades to Norwich, todays is all about the event itself.

Bryony Porter from the School of Health Sciences at Norwich University and having just started her 3rd year of her PhD, asked me way back in May if I fancied a trek to Norwich in order to speak to PhD students. I heard the word ‘students’ and ignored the word ‘trek’………and so I found myself waking up to a lovely sunny day in a hotel in the middle of Norwich.

I was told the audience would be a mix of students, researchers, academics and interested members of the public. They’d asked if give a I would give a talk as part of a Health Sciences Seminar. When I hear the word ‘students’ I envisage a better future. They can have so much impact on change, perceptions and treatment of people with dementia.

Bryony had sent me a detailed itinerary of timings of taxis, meeting places and even including ‘times for cups of tea’, so an immediate brownie point allocated😇🏅The seminar was also due to be recorded.

The taxi arrived outside the hotel and took me to the Edith Cavell building at the University which also happens to be opposite the Norfolk and Norwich hospital.

I was met by a smiley faced Bryony and we went upstairs to also meet an equally friendly Fiona Poland who organises the series of seminars and Linda Birt who works on the PRIDE study (which I apparently am involved in🙄)

Fiona had brought some lovely things for lunch but all I was interested in was my cuppa teas. All very civilised and very happy chit chat before we made our way down to the lecture theatre.

Once there the IT man who would be recording it, had to have an extra role of chief photographer and took a piccie of the 4 of us before people started to arrive😊

People started to file in and it became obvious that there was a mixed bag of people. There were some nurses from across the road at the hospital, researchers, a patient research ambassador and goodness knows what other professions. Always nice to have a mix.

Bryony introduced me with very nice words and the fact that this was the first seminar of the new academic year.

I spoke for about an hour about anything and everything and my passion for research. About how anyone with any difficult diagnosis should try to see the positives, after all why dwell on something over which you have no control. I also spoke of the importance of being encouraged to concentrate on what we can do rather than what we can’t. I use to run but why dwell on the fact that I can’t anymore, instead I enjoy walking.
How research, my new found passion, enables me to be involved in so many different ways and how researchers can make it more accessible and the magic of Twitter…..
I ended by talking about all the opportunities that would never have come my way if it hadn’t have been for a diagnosis of dementia…..a sobering thought for people to adapt to whatever life throws at them.

“All this goes to show that a diagnosis of dementia needn’t mean the end – it can be the start of a different life but we have to have positive support from all those around us.”

We then we had some very interesting questions, none of which I can remember as I wasn’t typing…..but I remember thinking they were different.

I never quite know how things have gone but people were very kind in their applause and thank you’s afterwards.

Once everyone had gone Bryony and Fiona took me back upstairs for a much needed cuppa tea and in the blink of an eye it was time to go as my taxi had arrived to take me back to the station.

A very different event but I had a lovely time and well worth the trauma of the long journey – thank you to Bryony for asking me and being the perfect host and for all those who came to hear me speak – hopefully a few more seeds were sown…….

I came across this nice sight to end my visit, at Norwich station when I got there….


About wendy7713

On the 31st July 2014 I was diagnosed with early onset Alzheimer’s. I may not have much of a short term memory anymore but that date is one I’ll never forget. I’m 58 years young, live happily alone in Yorkshire, have 2 daughters and I’m currently still in full time employment in the NHS. However, I’m now in the process of taking early retirement to give me a chance of enjoying life while I’m still me. I've started this blog to allow me, in the first instance, to write all my thoughts before they’re lost. If anyone chooses to follow my ramblings it will serve as a way of raising awareness on the lack of research into Alzheimer's. It will hopefully convey the helplessness of those diagnosed with dementia, as there is no cure – the end is inevitable. However, I’m also hoping I can convey that, although we've been diagnosed, people like me still have a substantial contribution to make; we still have a sense of humour; we sill have feelings. I’m hoping to show the reality of trying to cope on a day to day basis with the ever-changing environment that dementia throws at those diagnosed with the condition. What I want is not sympathy. What I want is simply to raise awareness.

2 thoughts on “Talking to my favourite people – Students……

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