Nigel - Our story

My name is Sue and I am Nigel’s Auntie and carer. Nigel has terminal cancer and at just 39 years old he is unlikely to see his next birthday. This news was hard to process for our family but slowly we are learning to come to terms with it and live every day we have together to the fullest. Nigel also has learning difficulties and needs around-the-clock care, so ensuring all his additional care needs would be looked after was very important.

We came to look around Dove House to see what it was like and show Nigel what to expect from his stay. Apart from hospital stays Nigel has been at home with me and his mum, Linda, so the thought of going somewhere new and unknown was daunting. When we come through the hospice doors for the first time I was so surprised by the calmness that greeted us. It feels so peaceful. Nigel was able to ask as many questions as he needed and was armed with all the information to ensure he felt comfortable at the thought of being away from his family and support network at home. This eased so much anxiety for us.

Caring for your loved one is tireless work but I wouldn’t have it any other way. However, at some point, you do need a break. Being able to rely on Dove House for respite care has been such a relief. I don’t sleep when Nigel is at home, I think when you are a carer or a loved one you just don’t switch off as you know you might be needed.
As a family we can relax at Dove House, we can ‘let go’ and know that Nigel and the rest of us are looked after. It’s hard to say ‘I might not be able to do this on my own’ but everyone at the hospice is continually there for us as a family and give us the support we desperately needed.

Everyone at Dove House made Nigel feel settled, overcame barriers with his learning difficulties, and truly understood him. The nurses and doctors are fantastic with him, they have done all sorts of crafts and painting together, made him feel completely relaxed, and even took him to the Car Boot Sale behind the hospice, which is something he loves to do! We felt reassured leaving him at the hospice so that we could have a break and recharge our batteries, but it also gave Nigel a break from us and our home.
The positive attitude shines through in everyone that works and volunteers at the hospice, it really lifts you up and brightens your day.

One thing that worried Linda when we came to look at the hospice was how much it was going to cost. It was a shock but a big relief to be told it was all free!

When the time comes we know Nigel is happy at Dove House, he is safe there and we leave our carer role at the door which is the biggest relief for us.

We don’t know how long we have left so we are filling it full of fun trips and we know that Dove House is there waiting for us when we need them. It is hard to talk about the end but we know that the hospice will ensure Nigel has a dignified death and that is all we could wish for.