Cheryl Dodd - Patient Relative

"The care Dad received from first being admitted to when he passed away extremely peacefully three days later, was impeccable.  He was treated with care and dignity. ”

 Cheryl Dodd Father Image

“My Dad wasn’t the most health-conscious person.  By the time we attended the GP in November 2015 due to concerns for what looked like swelling to his neck, I can only assume he had known about its presence long before I noticed and began pestering him to have it looked at.  Dad’s journey with cancer was rapid, we didn’t know that November, we would lose him within three months. 

The uninvited role of primary care giver to a parent dying of cancer is a frightening, confusing and lonely one.  It consumes every aspect of your life, from the ability to focus on work, to your relationships and friendships.  It affects your physical and mental health.  You don’t really understand what is happening, you must suddenly navigate health care systems, medications and terminology that feels completely alien.  You feel out of control.

The ability to regain some control came from the help and support offered by Hospice Isle of Man. Through the support of Dad’s Palliative Care Nurse, I was introduced to a family of support offered by the caring team at the Hospice.

Emotionally support was made available to me.  My key worker met me regularly, primarily to help me cope during Dad’s illness and be prepared for what was to come.  It was more than that though, I was able to talk about all my day-to-day stressors, my experiences of being parented by Dad and to be honest, I looked forward to this safe space where I could talk about anything I wanted to, without judgement.  That support continued after Dad’s passing until I had built resilience and my need for their support naturally came to end.

Caring for Dad, getting him to appointments, ensuring prescriptions were collected and trying to work and study, all at the same time was physically and emotionally exhausting at times.  I was so grateful then to be able to access complimentary therapies, also offered to me through Hospice.  The benefit of being able to attend for massage and relaxation cannot be understated.  An hour just for me, where reality halted, enabled me to get back up and carry on. 

For Dad, he was adamant that Hospice was where you went to die and so declined offers of short admissions to bring his symptoms under control, a service I had no idea was offered.  When he was ready, he allowed me to take him to Hospice.  The ability to communicate so easily with the care team allowed them to understand Dad’s wishes (and stubbornness), ensuring a bed was available for him, when the time was right.

The care Dad received from first being admitted to when he passed away extremely peacefully three days later, was impeccable.  He was treated with care and dignity.  My biggest fear was that I would alone to deal with his passing.  I was treated with care and respect.  I was made to feel a part of the care team for Dad, rather than being external to it.  The team chatted to me, made me laugh and comforted me.  The team in those last few days, removed the burden from my shoulders, allowing me the space to begin to absorb the inevitable.”

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