We are so grateful to patient Joe Brewer and wife Dorothy who shared their story in the Nelson Weekly this week, to help us maintain awareness of the service hospice provides.
Joe was admitted to the hospice service in the middle of this year and has been amazed at the care he’s received. Joe, 86, has not had invasive tests to determine his diagnosis but has liver failure and is “just wearing out”, as wife Dorothy explains it.
Dorothy says the best thing about hospice care is “knowing they are there”.
“One of the lovely lovely nurses comes regularly. They run through any problems, anything that we need. But also I know that if anything happens, I can just pick up the phone – and I have a couple of times.”
Joe was admitted to the hospice inpatient unit for some time but was able to go home. “I had no idea that most patients could be cared for at home,” Dorothy says. “However lovely and caring hospice is, it’s not as nice as home.”
“On a good day, (Joe) can still go out for a drive – Rabbit Island is a favourite – or just out for a coffee.”
Joe and Dorothy were visited by one of the hospice volunteer life story writers. She interviewed Joe, recorded their talks and wrote up his life story, including tales from his time of military service during the Korean War.
Joe found the experience worthwhile, despite some of those memories being difficult to bring back to the surface.
“He was doing National Service in England,” Dorothy says. “So it wasn’t his choice to go but he went and it was a huge part of his life.
“Some of our family in England read it and said ‘I never knew you were going through such a dreadful time.”
Dorothy says she appreciates that the hospice cares for the whole family.
“I just can’t say enough how wonderful they’ve been. And caring not just for the patient but for the family. That’s such an important part.”
She says she and Joe have decided not to buy Christmas presents this year, but to donate the money to hospice instead as a sign of their thanks.