Tuesday, August 21, 2007
Brave Michael takes a deep breath – Against The Odds
Accordion player diagnosed with a severe respiratory problem always dreamed of recording again – which he did. Now he is one of the founders of a local group to help similar sufferers
MICHAEL McGloin began playing the accordion when he was sixyears-old. As an adult he travelled the northwest playing music in pubs, clubs, halls and community centres. He also recorded several solo tracks and an album while holding down a full-time job.
But playing in smokey clubs and pubs took its toll on the resident of Cartron in Sligo.
In 1997 he started to have difficulty breathing and he was diagnosed with Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease. COPD is also an umbrella term for emphysema and chronic bronchitis with symptoms including shortness of breath and coughing. It affects up to 110,000 adults, mostly prevalent among the over 50s, and is the second highest cause of respiratory death.
“As a result of smoking and playing in smokey pubs, clubs, halls and community centres I had my first respiratory arrest on October 10, 1999,” he wrote on his website. “I had to give up my day job and playing my music, which was the hardest of all.”
Michael spent a lot of time in and out of hospital, but always dreamed of recording again. Against medical advice he went back to the studio in 2004 and recorded a 14-track CD called Against The Odds.
He has since been referred for a lung transplant evaluation in the Mater Hospital, which he hopes will take place soon. However, Michael is now using his experience with COPD to help others suffering from the disease.
Staff at Sligo General Hospital, with the help of Michael, have set of the Sligo satellite branch of the COPD Support group. Michael is also on the working committee of the COPD Support Group at St James’ Hospital, Dublin. The satellite branch of the support group was launched recently at the Sligo Southern Hotel.
The support groups are mostly run by members with some help from health professionals and others, with the aim of offering support to individuals, their families and carers. It also aims to act as a voice for its members by highlighting any concerns they have.
“It is about raising awareness. A lot of people, when they hear COPD, don’t know what it is,” said Michael.
The Sligo group will provide a forum where members can share experiences and information on the illness.
“Meeting and talking to other people and hearing their experiences really does help. You can share information, which is really helpful. I had loads of information that I didn’t realise others didn’t know,” he said.
The meetings will also provide information on medications, new developments, healthy lifestyles and smoking cessation. The group also plans to organise social events and outings, promote continuing rehabilitation, and invite guest speakers to meetings.
Meetings will take place every two months and will last a couple of hours with refreshments available. The next meeting is scheduled for Wednesday, September 26 from 4 to 6pm with the venue to be confirmed. Notice of the meeting will be circulated to GPs clinics and local press.
For more information contact Phil or Moira, respiratory nurses at Sligo General Hospital, on 071-9171111, extension 4272, or bleep 107. You can also contact Robert, the pulmonary rehabilitation co-ordinator, on 071-9174567.