When Sarah’s husband Martin was given just weeks to live after being diagnosed with a brain tumour her world was turned upside down. Supported by Sue Ryder’s Leckhampton Court Hospice at Home team, the couple determined to make the most of the short time they had left together.
Martin was diagnosed on November 1, 2018, and died on December 3. He had been completely fine up until that point so we wanted him to have the time and space to process everything. It was a massive thing for us all to deal with. Our son and daughter are 25 and 23.
Our priority was to keep Martin as independent as possible in those weeks he had left
When you are someone who is very independent the thought of accepting any help is quite daunting. Martin had collapsed on November 13 and the next day the hospital said they would action fast track palliative care for us and we were assigned a palliative care nurse.
Martin wanted to be at home and we would have done anything to keep him at home. Without the Sue Ryder Hospice at Home team coming in I would not have been able to do that for him. We are really positive people and our priority was to keep him as independent as possible in those weeks he had left so we got him a keyboard for the blind because we knew he would lose his sight.
Everything centred around Martin and his care and that’s how it should be
Martin was only 49 when he died and we had always lived our life to the fullest. Because he was cared for at home we were able to spend more time together and we developed a new routine. For as long as Martin was able he would come into the front room and we would sit together and watch movies. When the Sue Ryder nurses came in it gave me the confidence to step out for a walk and clear my head. For me it was the way they conducted themselves. They were just amazing. Everything centred around Martin and his care and that’s how it should be.
You think you are coping really well on your own but when the Sue Ryder Hospice at Home team turned up it was really amazing. They were so sensitive to Martin’s needs and allowing him to decide when that care level needed to increase – they didn’t push it upon him, they gained his trust which then enabled them to do more for him.
This enabled me to maintain my relationship with him as his wife rather than a carer. I had been worried that if people came in it would be noisy and obvious but it was none of that. They just came in and did what needed to be done and it also gave him an opportunity to share his concerns with someone other than me.
We had an early Christmas for Martin and my daughter got engaged
The Sue Ryder nurses were really good at seeing things and just doing what was needed, like calling the district nurse, which just took the pressure off me and the family. We just knew he was getting the best care.
I hope we were a positive home for them to come into and we tried to live to the end. Even though we knew we would not have him for Christmas we still planned for it. You have to carry on and hope that you will get there. When we knew he was not going to be there for Christmas we had an early Christmas for him and my daughter got engaged.
The care they gave was fantastic
We also had support from the night carers about three times which gives you real peace of mind. On the day Martin died the night carers had gone and I had a few hours with him on my own. When the Sue Ryder nurses came in they told me I needed to get the family home. So I got everyone back and sadly he passed away at 2pm. The Hospice at Home team came back and washed him and laid him out for me. I just think the care they gave was fantastic.
I spoke for a long time at the funeral and I remember saying, 'there are angels on this earth and I have met them - they came into my home and it was the Sue Ryder team.'
Find out more information about Sue Ryder Leckhampton Court Hospice's Hospice at Home service and how you can help support their expert palliative care for those with life-limiting conditions and the help given to their families.
Sarah's husband Martin was supported by Sue Ryder’s Leckhampton Court Hospice at Home team in 2018.