When Brian Turpin was diagnosed with Idiopathic Pulmonary Fibrosis (IPF), a rare and poorly understood lung condition, it came as a tremendous shock. IPF causes progressive scarring of the lungs which in turn causes difficulty breathing. There is currently no cure for IPF so the aim of treatment is to try to relieve symptoms and slow its progression. Brian currently uses oxygen to help alleviate his breathlessness. Here Brian's wife Mary tells us Brian's story and how the help of Rennie Grove Hospice Care has become their lifeline.
Mary explains: “Five years ago when we were on holiday we noticed that Brian was getting very out of breath and he couldn’t join in with what the rest of the group was doing.
“When we got home we went to see the GP and Brian was referred to hospital where he was diagnosed with Pulmonary Fibrosis. It was a tremendous shock to be told there was something wrong and there was nothing that could be done about it.”
After several years of seeing the consultant for regular checks to see how Brian’s lung capacity was affected the couple were told there was no need for them to continue with the appointments because there was nothing further that could be done as the disease is progressive.
Mary adds: “We both sat and cried; we felt like the doctors were washing their hands of us and we would just be sent home to get on with it. But that was not the case and we were promised that we would receive help. We have an amazing GP and he arranged for the Iain Rennie nurses to come and see us.
“Straightaway we were put at ease and we knew we were in safe hands. We were told that to begin with we would receive help from a Health Care Assistant, Katie, and that she would come once a week to help Brian. Katie now helps Brian to shower and with his personal care as well as spending time sitting and talking with him. This has meant I have been able to leave the house and have a little bit of time to myself; you cannot put a price on what that means."
“Katie is our saviour. The fact we have the same person every week is a huge positive and you can build on the relationship."
“Before Brian was ill I had heard of the charity, but never realised that they would help during the illness, I thought the nurses just came at the end when you knew the person was dying."
“I would be lost without it. It is a total lifeline. Being helped by Rennie Grove has been the most amazing thing to have happened to us. You have someone there and know you can call 24 hours a day. It is so reassuring."
Our friends that don’t live in the area cannot believe how lucky we are to have the charity’s help and at no cost. We are very fortunate this service exists in Buckinghamshire and we feel incredibly grateful for the help we receive now. Knowing this level of support is available also makes us feel less anxious for the future.
“When we were discharged from hospital we felt incredibly vulnerable and lost. If you cannot be helped then the best possible thing is that you have support and that is what the Rennie Grove Service gives us, support whenever we need it.