Weston Hospicecare’s day services have been branded a ‘godsend’ by a patient who has been visiting weekly since July.
Anthony Fowler is being treated for terminal cancer and spoke to the hospice in the summer where he described how visiting the day services acted as respite for his wife who is his sole carer at home.
Since then, Anthony has endured two three-week stays in a hospital where he says pain caused by infections made him give up hope on his life.
He said: “I lost my will to live not so long ago, I had two lots of three weeks in hospital but that wasn’t solving any problem, it was just bringing infections down.
“I didn’t have any quality of life.”
Anthony explained the cause of the problem was a recurring infection of his gallbladder.
Removing the organ was considered a huge risk due to his deteriorating health. However, Anthony pulled through the risky procedure and now lives a relatively pain-free life in comparison to just a few weeks ago.
He said: “I managed to talk to a surgeon and had my gallbladder removed, which was the root of this particular problem which was causing so much pain.”
Anthony’s surgery was a success which meant he has recently been able to go on a family holiday.
Anthony continued: “I have recently got back from a holiday to Cyprus with my family including my granddaughter who will be three years old on New Year’s Day.
“She is my will to live, she was the impetus to get me through, she says ‘come on grandad, let’s get this done’ so I had this operation to remove my gallbladder and it went well.
“The operation was a huge risk, there was a fair possibility I wouldn’t make it through the operation because I was so weak. My family stayed with me throughout the five-hour surgery. Afterwards, I couldn’t wait to get back to the day hospice each week because I needed something to get me out of the house.”
For Anthony, being able to be independent and mobile again looked extremely unlikely before his risky operation but for now, it has given him a second lease of life.
He said: “I was bed-bound for a while through pain and weakness, I’ve gradually managed to get stronger and fitter again.
“Yesterday I went to the gymnasium in Clevedon and I am going to go every other morning to try and build my thigh muscles up. I have also stopped using my walking stick as I was relying on it too much.
“I am now very stable with my balance and I am getting my confidence back in walking unaided.”
In the summer Anthony heaped praise on his sole-caring wife and once again he recognised how important coming to the hospice is each week to give his wife respite.
He said: “Now I am able to get out and about again, one of the best things about coming here is it gives my wife a day of respite each week.
“Coming to the hospice gives her breathing space and it is really wonderful for her to have that space.”
Anthony added coming to the hospice gives his week structure which gives him the motivation to fight to live as long as he can.
He said: “Every Tuesday I really look forward to coming here and knowing I am coming here really gives me impetus for the day and the rest of the week.
“This place is a godsend to me. I get advice about my therapy far easier than having to go to the hospital, I have have had various questions answered about my medicine which may have needed a doctor’s appointment which means waiting for an answer when I don’t know how much time I have left. It is lovely to have advice so readily available and in a homely environment with other patients in a similar situation.
“By coming here I have got a wealth of information to treat my condition and how to stay positive rather than if I was to stay in the four walls all week at home.
“It is the highlight of my week and it gives me a better quality of life and I am learning to handle the situation I am in.
“Everyone here is doing an absolutely fantastic job, personally I cannot see where anyone can improve.”
During the last year, the hospice has been open for more than 130 patients like Anthony who need medical attention but are well enough to remain at home.