Paul and Anne's story

Paul and I had been together for more than 50 years, and we have a close loving family with two daughters, and four grandsons. Paul had always been extremely fit, running marathons both in the UK and abroad and he was a keen cyclist. After investigations into a persistent cough, Paul was diagnosed with Idiopathic Pulmonary Fibrosis, a progressive and incurable lung disease, and this was a devastating blow for us.

For about five years Paul had a pretty good quality of life, although in winter we always tried hard to protect him from the usual colds and flu. He was still getting out on his bike, and even bought a super duper electric one that gave him four more glorious months freedom before he finally had to stop.  Paul was very determined and never, ever complained.  In December 2019 Paul had his first stay at the hospice, as he needed support managing his symptoms, his breathlessness had worsened bringing with it feelings of anxiety and distress, and we quickly learnt the numerous solutions Dove House utilises to alleviate these problems. When we arrived, we were greeted by such friendly caring people, and Paul was soon made comfortable, within a short time his medication was reviewed and he had continuous oxygen.  The most difficult subjects were immediately addressed, sensitive conversations with the caring and compassionate staff helped us talk through Paul’s wishes for end of life care.  I could see him visibly relax, both of us knowing he was in the best possible place.
During the next few days Paul received close and attentive care from the multi-disciplinary team including physiotherapy to help with his mobility and breathing techniques, and aromatherapy to help with relaxation and cough management. The occupational therapist, with the community teams, arranged for adaptations to our home to make things easier for Paul at home.  After six days he came home feeling much more relaxed, secure in the knowledge that should he need it, the doors to Dove House were open to him. As his condition deteriorated, Paul was readmitted to the hospice, and he was once again enveloped in the calm, caring atmosphere that is Dove House, as the whole team swung into action to address his needs.  Paul was then able to return home for 11 precious days surrounded by family.

Paul’s final stay at Dove House was for end of life care, and the staff there supported our whole family throughout this time, they gave us support for needs that we didn’t realise we had. Our family will never forget the care and compassion extended to us all and our eternal gratitude goes to:- the doctors always on hand to answer questions; the nurses and carers constantly there to make sure Paul was comfortable; the smiling kitchen staff suggesting tempting alternatives at mealtimes; the physiotherapists helping him stay as mobile as possible; the complimentary therapists with essential oils to help him relax and breathe more freely, and not forgetting all the ancillary staff who also contribute to making Dove House the amazing place that it is.