Mike writes about his experience of helping his wife through cancer treatment at Spire Leeds Hospital.
"There is no pre-training or planned course which will prepare loved ones for a life-changing role in becoming a patient carer"
"Almost every day, the press radio and tv announce yet another individual has becone affected by serious illness. We cannot help but feel great sympathy for those who are affected, not just the patient but their carers and loved ones too. But do we ever think that this could ever happen to us, and how would we cope as a patient or as a close member of the family?
"Lives are literally turned upside down. The illness and the treatment involved can often dictate that patients may not be able to return to work, may find their ability to perform routine chores around the home is affected Even those often enjoyable social events and nights out become less and less as the illness or the drugs used in the treatment take their toll. Many who find themselves almost housebound or their mobility seriously affected can do little without the support of friends, family and loved ones.
"There is no pre-training or planned course which will prepare loved ones for a life-changing role in becoming a patient carer, nurse, comforter, chauffeur, and for men who’s wives are seriously affected by illness, there is a steep learning curve to become adept in the kitchen, cleaning, shopping, taking care of the kids and juggling the family budget. The demands of being a carer whilst still maintaining an income at work can oten create enormous strains and stresses in the workplace too.
"It is a difficult and worrying time for all as ultimately we strive to make as comfortable life as possible for our loved one, all the time hoping and praying for a cure that will suddenly make them well again. There are often doubts, tears of frustration, feelings of hoplessness, and bouts of anger as the quality of life diminishes. Yet somehow, and it is most important, we must always believe there is hope. Especially when there is a highly skilled team of healthcare professionals working tirelessly to help patients in their fight against ill health.
"My wife was first diagnosed with her illness in 2001 and has since battled stoically and courageously throughout. She has undergone several major surgeries and many changes of drug regimes, some which have made her feel more desparately ill than the illness itself. All her care has been conducted by Spire hospital Leeds, and managed by a team of professionals headed by her highly experienced and extremely capable consultant with whom she has formed a bond of trust and confidence. Senior experienced care nurses are on hand to provide advice and a comforting arm of support. Help when needed is just a phone call away – even out of normal hours. Regular routine treatment is provided by an expertly capable team of oncology trained nurses with a balance of professional efficiency, sympathetic understanding and a dosage of good humour too. But this is not all, a team of specialist trained radio-ologists, surgeons, hospital administation staff including hard working and efficient secretaries and receptionists all combine to ensure all patients AND their carers are given the utmost in care and support.
"From our personal experience, there are several key individuals at Spire hospital to whom we owe a deep debt of gratitude for their selfless and unwavering support that has made my wife’s continuing battle, and my role in caring for her, just that much more bearable. In a perverse kind of way, we look forward to her weekly treatment visits!"
Mike Mason February 2010