A PATIENT of St. Luke’s Hospice in Basildon is encouraging people to support the charity as he praises the ongoing care and support he and his family receives.
Tony Paddon, from Basildon, was diagnosed with cancer in 2008 and had surgery to remove a kidney. He became came seriously unwell in 2020 and was told by doctors that there was nothing further they could do.
He was referred to St. Luke’s Hospice where he and his family continue to receive support – from physiotherapy sessions to help with breathing difficulties, to stays on the In-Patient Unit for symptom management.
Tony explains: “In 2020, just at the start of the pandemic, I became seriously unwell. I was in a lot of pain and discomfort, which got so bad we ended up calling an ambulance. The doctors found that my remaining kidney was only working at between 30 and 40 per cent of what it should do, which put huge pressure on my other organs and my liver essentially gave up. I lost four and a half stone in 10 days. The doctors told me I had a year left in me, maybe 18 months if I was lucky. There was nothing further they could do medically and it was something I’d have to live with.
“I didn’t know where to turn. Then one of my neighbours, Kelly, suggested St. Luke’s Hospice. I’d heard of the Hospice before and knew that it was right on my doorstep, but I thought it was only a place for end of life care. I never thought that they could help me. Kelly, who happens to be a nurse at St. Luke’s Hospice, explained how the Hospice teams could help me manage my condition and all the different services they could provide. My doctor made the referral and I kept an open mind. Anything was worth a try.
“Honestly, I was pleasantly surprised from my very first visit. It’s a fantastic, warm and welcoming place. The way you’re treated is incredible, from the very first welcome as soon as you step into reception, to the conversations you have with staff, volunteers and other patients.
“The team at the Hospice didn’t waste time in starting to arrange necessary care and support. They managed to sort and balance my medication, which has massively helped me manage my condition. They consult with the liver doctor at Basildon Hospital and help me juggle all my consultations, bringing everything into one place. It’s a lot to deal with, not just for me but also for my family, and the Hospice teams have taken a lot of that pressure away.
“I access physiotherapy at the Hospice to help with breathing problems and I’m already feeling the benefits of the exercises and techniques. I can have blood tests there when needed too.
“When I’m having treatments I get to chat to others and there are people I see regularly now. We have a laugh, chat and enjoy a cup of coffee. Everyone is going through something different but it’s very supportive and comforting.
“One of the complications I have with my condition is that my stomach can fill with fluid which has to be removed. I used to have this procedure done at the Hospital, but last time it was at the Hospice. I stayed in the In-Patient Unit for three days and the nurses couldn’t do enough for me. One night I couldn’t sleep and I walked past the door of the nurse’s office. There was a nurse busy typing away and I gave her a right fright! She stopped what she was doing, checked I was ok and asked if I wanted anything. Within five minutes I was back in bed with a hot chocolate. I even joked I wanted a bacon and tomato sandwich for breakfast and, to my surprise, they actually made me one!
“I now come to the Hospice every eight weeks but sooner if needed. I can call anytime which is so reassuring. They support my wife, Sue, as well with regular phone calls and there’s counselling available if we want it. They’re really taking care of us all.
“I’m so glad I was open-minded about the Hospice. When I first heard the word ‘Hospice’ I thought, really, have things got that bad for me? I immediately thought of end of life and I know lots of other people will too. The Hospice does care for people in their last moments, but there’s so much more to the care and support they can provide – right from the point of diagnosis and for people like me who are living with conditions affecting their daily lives. You couldn’t ask for a more supportive and comforting team.
“Things could have been so different for me and my family. Since receiving support from St. Luke’s Hospice, my quality of life has improved massively. There is always someone at the end of the phone, which is a huge relief. I can enjoy all the simple things – going out, seeing people, having lunch with friends and just carrying on with life.
“It can be easy to forget that St. Luke’s Hospice is a charity and they can’t do what they do without help from people like us in the local community. When we can, my family donates to the Hospice and my daughter uses Amazon Smile to enable the Hospice to benefit from a donation when she shops online.
“St. Luke’s Hospice helps so many people with palliative and end of life care and support – like me and my family. If you can, please consider making a donation today to help the Hospice teams continue caring for local people and their families.”
It is thanks to the generosity of the local community that St. Luke’s Hospice is able to continue to provide specialist palliative and end of life care to local people, like Tony and his family. Please donate today by calling the Fundraising team on 01268 524973 or visit:www.stlukeshospice.com/tonys-story