Ken, 76, was diagnosed with incurable pancreatic cancer earlier this year. His wife, Chris, recalls the fear and panic she felt when he came home from hospital…
“Even before he was admitted to hospital I was feeling anxious and alone. At the back of my mind I was worried because he’d changed: sleeping more, eating less, losing weight. But no-one would listen. That’s how I felt until Clare and her colleagues from Rennie Grove arrived.
“We’d had a series of terrible shocks. A scan showed suspected cancer in Ken’s liver and pancreas. The doctors said they couldn’t treat it. Surgery wasn’t an option and neither was chemotherapy. We cried together - it was so hard to take. All Ken knew was that he didn’t want to be in hospital. But he was so poorly when he did get home that he couldn’t eat and he just stayed in bed. I was so panicky. For the first 48 hours I was ringing 111 and 999 on a regular basis – I had no-one else to turn to.
“Then the Rennie Grove nurses came. They were so caring and they took control. That’s what we needed - I was so frightened. I felt so alone with not a clue what to do until they turned up. The hospital had recommended steroids – but we read the leaflet and were so scared about the side effects. Clare came to see us, first with Rebekha, then with Jennie. They all took the time to talk to us about what was happening now and what we could expect in the future. Between them they reassured us, explaining that steroids could be used at a very low dose in palliative care to relieve pain and make a patient more comfortable. Gradually we felt more confident to try.
“I’m so glad we listened to them! Ken is up on his feet again, eating, laughing and enjoying life. From being bed-ridden three months ago - now he’s attending family events like our grandson’s 7th birthday BBQ.
“Having the time to talk things through with such a caring, knowledgeable team of nurses was priceless. Please help Rennie Grove take on more newly qualified nurses like Clare so they can help more people like us make the most of their precious time together.”
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