Battling serious illness in midst of a pandemic

Dessie Blackadder


Dessie Blackadder

IF you thought dealing with the impact of lockdown was tough, then spare a thought for the many people in our communities who were already battling against severe medical problems well before Covid 19 raised its ugly head.

Adam McKendry (32) from Ballykeel is just one of many such people who are feeling the full weight of physical and mental health issues.

Most of us can grumble about the pandemic bringing our lives to a standstill and we long for a night out in a restaurant or a trip to see a show - but for Adam such enjoyments have been few and far between in recent years and he says that without his devoted parents - Denise and Francis - he would struggle to survive.

Adam explains: "To start with I've had type 1 diabetes from the age of 13 months. My control of thecondiotion up until the ages 15/16 was great, then with the effects of growing up everything went head over heels for a couple of years but I was able to cope pretty well.

"In fact, I was doing pretty good until a couple of years ago when I started suffering from osteoporosis and diabetic neuropathy which causes me to lose feeling in my lower legs.

"It has destroyed the nerve running to my stomach so I can barely eat, but when I can I'm always violently sick."

Adam has high praise for the staff of the Renal Unit which he attends but even their top class care can't always be given without a degree of pain.

He says: "The renal staff have been great but the process is not without its mishaps. I can suffer a lot of pain when they can't get the needles in properly and the pain after is really bad.

"Also I've got these massive unknown blisters appearing all down my shins, wrists and hands which need treated regularly because they become infected badly. I also have heart and liver problems which have gone undiagnosed over the years. "

On top of this mountain of problems, Covid 19 has made thing even more difficult for Adam.

He says: "Just worrying about covid is a horrible thing that preys on your mind. I worry that I could pass it to my parents who also have a vulnerable status as well as myself. I've been told if I get it that it is 'time up' for me because my symptoms wouldn't let me survive it.


" I'm in hospital three or four times a a week and I've been near to positive confirmed covid patients. As a result, the anxiety levels I feel for my parents go through the roof.

“I’ve missed quite a few appoinments because of Covid related reasons so I’m well aware of a lot of the frustrations which surround the current situation.

"My parents have both been a phenomenal help to me and I can't thank them enough, I never will be able to."

And, in a shattering blow, hopes that Adam could receive truly life changing treatment have been dashed for the time being.

"I was told I was going for a double transplant of the kidney and pancreas but now it's jeopardised because of my low health and it seems the doctors fear I wouldn’t survive the operation," he says.

Reflecting on his current situation, Adam explains: "Before covid and lockdowns became commonplace for everyone, I was already well used to having to put restrictions on myself.

“The last time I was able to be out and do things remotely normally was two or three before anyone had even heard of coronavirus or even thought about lockdowns.


“To be honest the restrictions have made no lifestyle differences at all to me.

"I fall all the time causing breakages, thats why I'm always casted up and the metal bars inserted in legs just the give me the strength for a couple of moments.

"I was told it may take longer than a year to for them (the breakages) to heal and - and that's only if they do.

"The condition also mean that I take random pains throughout my body- the reason for gthis is yet to be diagnosed. I can barely move as well being unable to move to the bathroom and such.

"I haven’t been in my kitchen in well over nine momths so I have to rely on my parents for food and without their help with this and so many other things life would be impossible.

"I'd like to thank each and every one who helps me from renal to my parents and also the delivery man who brings my meds. All of them should be classed as heroes because that's exactly what they are to me and other patients in the same boat.

"As far as Dialysis, a special mention needs to go out to Janice, Damien, Linda, Belinda, Jay, Percilla and all the tea ladies plus more! You are all the best of the best!"

Adam would also like to thank all the doctors and staff at Cullybackey Health Centre for their ongoing support.

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