1. Expert Q&A: Dementia Research, Tuesday 26th March, 3-4pm

    At Alzheimer's Society our research program focuses on improving care for people with dementia today and finding a cure for tomorrow.

    Hannah from our Research Team will be answering your questions on all our research efforts on Tuesday 26 March between 3-4pm.

    You can either post questions >here< or email them to us at talkingpoint@alzheimers.org.uk and we'll answer as many as we can on the day.

John Suchet My Bonnie

Discussion in 'Books, film and music' started by Sandy, May 23, 2010.

  1. Sandy

    Sandy Registered User

    Mar 23, 2005
  2. PostTenebrasLux

    PostTenebrasLux Registered User

    Mar 16, 2010
    London & Oxford
    I heard John Suchet on the radio the day he came out with his beloved Bonnie's AD. He read the words similar to the article with such genuine warmth and feeling that even an actor could not pretend.
    How fantastic to have such an high profile individual raise awareness.
    I'll probably read his book.
  3. maryw

    maryw Registered User

    Nov 16, 2008
    That is so moving; nobody is immune from the impact of the disease.
  4. Nanak

    Nanak Registered User

    Mar 25, 2010
    Brisbane Australia
    Thank you for that link Sandy.
    Maybe, one day, there will be a cure for this vile disease?
    Mum 12,500 Miles away
  5. Norrms

    Norrms Registered User

    Feb 19, 2009
    Torquay Devon

    Thank you Sandy, and as for a cure one day ?? I`m sure of it !!!
  6. POPPY67

    POPPY67 Registered User

    Mar 5, 2010
    hi there got there befor me was just about to post about it just read a little on line book out tomorrow i will be getting it !! :)
  7. Notwaving

    Notwaving Registered User

    Mar 5, 2010
    Watched the video and read the article with tears streaming down my face. What a wonderful husband he is ,He writes so well.
  8. Loopiloo

    Loopiloo Registered User

    May 10, 2010
    My Bonnie by John Suchet

    Sandy thanks for the link. I have read about John and Bonnie before but a shorter article. This disease can touch anyone in all walks of life. Hoping to read the book.
  9. jackie place

    jackie place Registered User

    Aug 4, 2009
    eccles manchester
    My Bonnie by John suchet

    I have been following Johns story on his beloved wife Bonnie mY husband was diagnosed with AZ in Dec 2008 at the time John was highlighted his own true story of his wife .

    What a lovely story at the moment I am feeling abit down will do a thread tomorrow and explain why.

    This story of John and his wife is lovely and I will be getting the book. Why is life so cruel !!!!!!!!!!!!!
  10. PostTenebrasLux

    PostTenebrasLux Registered User

    Mar 16, 2010
    London & Oxford
    John Suchet's book was released on Tuesday and my copy arrived at 08:00 this morning! I can't wait to read it but I have to work today and tomorrow! Ah, something to look forward to!
  11. Sandy

    Sandy Registered User

    Mar 23, 2005
    John Suchet will be one Woman's Hour today:


    According to their website, another guest today is Oliver James, the clinical psychologist and author of Contented Dementia - though he's talking about parenting issues today.
  12. jaffa

    jaffa Registered User

    Aug 19, 2006
    Peterborough, Cambs

    my beloved keith died ofalzheimers 18mths ago,we met next door neighbours me 15 keith 19 married for38yrs with 2 daughters 2 grandsons,keith was diagnosed at 54 died at 59.i have followed johns story,read his book,its like living the nightmare again.you have to carry on its like two different lives,ilived the grief while he was ill.now i keep going through it ,one which will live with me forever is for the last six mths trying to get a home to take him,they said he was too young andsadly he still never had a place he died in a assesment home,this was terrible for me and the girls,i feel i let keith down.somethings ismile about then cry some i cry aboutand sob.
  13. TinaT

    TinaT Registered User

    Sep 27, 2006
    John's story and his grief overlap with our own stories so much. This is the first time that I have really empathised with a high profile person, probably because our stories of caring are so very similar.

  14. EmJ

    EmJ Registered User

    Sep 26, 2007
    #14 EmJ, Jun 9, 2010
    Last edited: Jun 13, 2010
    Hi all,

    I think John Suchet is going to be on Jeremy Vine's radio programme tomorrow afternoon. (Radio 2 between 12pm & 2pm).


    (John Suchet was not on the Jeremy Vine show - sorry if you tuned in! I listened to the Jeremy Vine show on the iplayer and he did say that John Suchet was going to be on the following day but obviously there was a change of plan. Maybe he'll be on this week!)
  15. Brucie

    Brucie Registered User

    Jan 31, 2004
    near London
    I caught a recent appearance by John on "Loose Women" today when cleaning up our Sky+ box and was struck by the similarity of his wife's early symptoms to my Jan's - in particular, his description of her faint in a restaurant in the US.

    Jan's early dementia was mostly surfaced as faints of the type he described, and I have never until now come across anyone who described the faint in the identical way I always do.

    I always say that each case is different and indeed so did he on the programme, but cases can also be frighteningly similar too.
  16. BeckyJan

    BeckyJan Registered User

    Nov 28, 2005
    Can you describe them for me Brucie? David passed out many many times during 1996/1997 - this resulted in a pacemaker being fitted. It was from then that David's confusion and memory problems started.

    David literally used to call out 'Jan I am going going ...' then he would pass out for no more than 30/40 seconds. Then he would be tired, sleep and be ok until next time.

    I have never really discussed this with anyone.
  17. Brucie

    Brucie Registered User

    Jan 31, 2004
    near London
    Hi Beckyjan

    I think the 'fainting' is one of the areas where the medical people were most unbelieving.

    The first time that I really knew there was a problem for Jan - bar one or two incidents when she said she had forgotten a name, and we put it down to age - was when she told me that she had been fainting around breakfast time, and falling against things, getting bruises.

    At that time I was leaving home early to drive 50 miles to work, so was not with her at breakfast.

    Jan always felt her faints coming - "something rises in my body, then I black out". We worked out a pattern where, when she felt it, she would get to the floor with her head as low as possible. This often stopped a full faint. She also said she could feel pins and needles at the base of her spine. Over time, she also exhibited symptoms of Raynauds Disease. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Raynaud's_phenomenon

    If she fainted, she would go very hot to touch afterwards.

    We were about to leave for a holiday in Africa and had been having extensive innoculations, and were about to start on the anti-malarial pills, so we went to the doctor, thinking the jabs had something to do with it. I asked if we should not take the pills, and he said there was more danger from contracting malaria than fainting.

    While we were on holiday, Jan fainted a couple of times, so, on our return, we saw the doctor again and, because I had private medical cover from my employment, he referred us to a heart specialist, the idea being there might be a problem of arrhythmia. Symptoms include "palpitations, dizziness, fainting, shortness of breath and chest discomfort"

    When we walked in to the consultant's office for the first time he said, without even examining Jan, "you may need a pacemaker". This scared both of us but, in looking back, if only it had been that easy.

    There were tests over about six months but always inconclusive. At one time he said he wanted her to have an ambulatory heart monitor for 24 hours. We went to the hospital and she had one fitted and was asked to sit for a few minutes in the waiting room. During this time, she felt the first signs of a faint so I alerted nurses. They took her to a side room, then all hell broke loose - lights and alarms, staff running. They said afterwards they thought her heart had stopped.

    I thought that at least we would have the monitor trace, but they found nothing at all on it.

    Over the next few years there were tests by other heart people, psychiatrists, basically any private medical consultant who wanted to make a bit of money.

    Meanwhile, the faints continued, and started to happen when Jan was asleep. People say to me "how could you tell she fainted in her sleep?". As Jan's condition progressed, I seemed to sleep very lightly and could detect the slightest movement. When she fainted at night, her body would seem to deflate as she lay there.

    One of the things John Suchet said was that when his wife fainted, her eyes were wide open and he thought he had lost her. Well, I have been telling a similar tale at the AS induction courses for several years now. At least twice when Jan fainted in bed, I thought she was gone and I was terrified.

    A peculiar thing was the fact that her faints seemed to be timed. On the worst night, she fainted four times in her sleep and they wer always at a particular part of the hour. Once, lying beside her I looked at the clock and thought "there will be another one along in two minutes" and, hey presto, it happened. Weird.

    In the years since, the medics have tried to tell me these were fits, but in the way they presented, they were 100% faints.

    Nina, who knew Jan before I did [I met them the same day in 1965, and boy was that a lucky day for me], says that Jan told her she had been a fainter in her early teens. During our 25 years together before the these faints began, she had never fainted though, to my knowledge.

    For the past few years Jan has had regular fits - unlike the faints though.

    I've just been looking back through my diary and all the horrors of the early days came back to me. From day one, it has been hell.
  18. Nan2seven

    Nan2seven Registered User

    Apr 11, 2009
    John Suchet's new book "My Bonnie"

    Dear Bruce,

    Have just read your long post above. You set it out so matter-of-factly, but I was very moved by it.

    I saw John Suchet one morning on a BBC breakfast programme about two weeks ago, talking about his new book. I bought it the same day and am within a few pages of finishing it. Am reluctant to finish it as it has been such a good read. Like your post, matter-of-fact but also very moving. And informative: I have long thought that my husband's dementia (vascular) had some Alzheimer's thrown into the mix. (His mother had Alzheimer's in her final years and his sister has it now.) I am even more convinced having read John Suchet's book. I thoroughly recommend it.

    Love, Nan XXX
  19. BeckyJan

    BeckyJan Registered User

    Nov 28, 2005
    Thanks Bruce:

    Quite remarkable that David started in a similar way. However the pacemaker did seem to stop the fainting! Pity it did not prevent the mental deterioration :(

    I am sorry for the agony caused by recalling all this.
  20. PostTenebrasLux

    PostTenebrasLux Registered User

    Mar 16, 2010
    London & Oxford
    I recommend John Suchet's book

    Reading JS's book was a little like having him sit opposite me in a comfy armchair with a glass of wine and telling me what life really was like with Bonnie before and during her illness. Written with great love, compassion, humour and reality.

    I think it an excellent introduction to Alzheimer's for the "novice" and JS kept me nodding as a more "experienced" carer - something written there that appeals to most of us in our understanding and knowledge of AD.

    It is also a very gentle way to help the "head in the sand" individuals who find it hard to acknowlege the terrific disease.

    Even if a friend reads a few pages/chapters, the book offers a good insight to the most unseeing of friends....


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