Every day brought a new complication for Colin and Gaye to deal with, and they were thankful they could call Harbour Hospice for help at any time.
“For me the hardest part is trying to make it easier for Gaye,” Colin said.
“I want her to still go and do her things – golf, mah jong and the Hospice Shop. She needs to keep her head in shape because it’s a long haul. “I just don’t want the load to be too great on her. Hospice makes sure it’s not, because I can pick up the phone and get help.”
Colin was diagnosed with prostate cancer in April 2018. Ten months later he learned that cancer had invaded his lower spine. His doctor referred him to Harbour Hospice for pain management.
A hospice community nurse called and visited Colin regularly, and Hospice organised daily help with showering. Colin had three stays in the Hospice Inpatient Unit to balance his medications and to give Gaye a chance to relax and restore the energy she needed to continue the care at home.
Thanks to the amazing support of our community, Colin and Gaye were able to deal with each new challenge because they could pick up the phone and call Harbour Hospice at any time, day or night.
“They help you deal with the reality that’s happening now and understand what it’s going to be like. They can’t stop the illness, but they are always asking what they can do to make things more pleasant for you.”
Gaye has volunteered in her local Hospice shops for 19 years and is clear about why she is raising money. Even so, neither she nor Colin fully understood the difference Hospice care could make early in a person’s illness. Like many people, they associated Hospice with the very end of life.
“Until you’re involved, you don’t really know how Hospice works,” Gaye says. “The way they looked after Colin was wonderful and when he was in pain they went the extra mile.”
After experiencing the depth of medical, emotional and spiritual support that Hospice offers, Colin chose a new name for the service: The Angels.
Describing himself as a novice patient, he said the most valuable part of Hospice’s service was the emotional and spiritual care.
“There were a couple of times when I lost the plot and a nurse would come in to help me. All they did was hold my hand and rub my shoulders, but they lifted me into a better frame of mind.
“Hospice takes you on as if you were a personal relative, they care that much.”