Care for any terminal illness - David’s story

David Bevins, 66, of Harrogate, has been living with Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD) - a progressive lung disease which makes it difficult to breathe - since 2000 and was looking forward to retiring from his part-time job with Asda.

But shortly after he retired, his illness deteriorated rapidly and he was referred to Saint Michael’s day therapy for support. Here, David explains the difference Saint Michael’s has made to his quality of life.

“The summer I retired was a good one but when winter came, things started to deteriorate with my illness. Suddenly everything changed. It was a real shock. I was really struggling; everything was too much effort.

“I started to feel really anxious and panicky about my breathing. I had to make an effort to even go out with our dog – all the time I’d be thinking, what if I couldn’t breathe and couldn’t get home?

“When I went for a COPD check, I told them I was feeling quite ill and poorly, and that actually I was very low and depressed about my situation.

“They recommended Saint Michael’s Hospice services and I think I went into shock at that point – was my illness really THAT bad?

“In my head, hospices were for people in the last days of their life.

“But they gave me some information about the hospice services, and day therapy and I went home, looked it all up on the website and talked it over with my wife and decided to give it a go.

“From the first moment I came to day therapy, it was so welcoming and friendly. I immediately relaxed.

“It’s been a lifesaver to have this place and space. It’s helped me emotionally and physically. I was feeling very isolated but there are other people here with similar illnesses who can relate to how you’re feeling and that’s really helpful.

“Day therapy is a chance to relax and feel more like me again. The staff are so knowledgeable about my illness; being able to open up and talk about my illness and the impact on my life with people who understand, helps so much. Finding out that many of my feelings were ‘normal’ for someone with my illness was greatly reassuring.

“The medical staff have been great in helping with some of my symptoms and the social workers have been brilliant too. For example, they looked into benefits and other support I was entitled to and helped me fill in the necessary forms.

“Coming to Saint Michael’s has given me such a boost – it has totally improved the quality of my life. The people here have helped take my problems away.”

“My illness is with me the whole time but now I feel I have some head space. The team here have given me self-belief and confidence that I can cope. I accept that my illness is chronic and I’m not going to get better but knowing people are here to help and support me is so reassuring.”

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