Well I worked as a caretaker up in the school in Raheny for 19 Years, I was 19 years up there and before that I was an upholsterer, so I worked at upholstery, like I worked all my life and then to get this was a huge shock to me.
Vivienne McCann (Joe’s daughter):
He’s very independent like you know, you have to kind of we’ll come over and we’ll do stuff for him because it needs to be done and he’s one of these people that won’t ask for help, like even sitting in agony on the chair he’ll tell you he’s fine, there’s nothing wrong with him, but you know he’s in pain.
I was diagnosed with prostate cancer two years ago, they said it was after spreading into the bone into the leg. When they told me first I was in total shock. I kind of had an idea that it was prostate cancer but I didn’t think it was after spreading, but they said it was after spreading. But they said that they caught it in time and they said that they could not operate on the leg because the bone would just shatter completely. So there’s nothing they could do with the bone but it was a complete shock to myself and the family. Raheny hospice then got in touch with me and I went out there for treatment, like it was relaxation therapy, occupational therapy and physiotherapy I went out there for. I found them absolutely brilliant, they couldn’t do enough for you, you know out there.
I’d say the biggest improvement I’ve seen in him would be his mental health because at the beginning he was trying to fight the cancer obviously and he was trying to be strong for everyone around him. And I think then at times got so much from dealing with that, with the medication that he was on, his anxiety was very high. Where once he started learning how to do the meditation and like there was a major difference in him, like stuff that would normally kind of, you’d see the trigger in him, he’s a lot calmer now in the situation.
I was getting the occupational therapy, the relaxation, the breathing, I found that totally relaxing to me, you know what I mean, and then the physiotherapy, I was getting the physiotherapy. I was getting that about once a month and then they put it up to three months then, you know what I mean, because they were giving me stuff to do at home. So they still send me out brochures just to keep up the work, the breathing. The brochures contain puzzles and things like that, just to keep you occupied while this was going on, you know. So hopefully, hopefully we’ll get it back soon, this COVID thing will go, and we’ll be able to get back together again, you know what I mean.
I just think with the lockdown we found, especially me, I went into lockdown with my kids so I could be around him but like he missed my brother’s kids because they weren’t isolating to the extent that we were and, you know. I remember one time he was walking to the shop and he had to kind of walk by them and that affected him because he couldn’t stop and hug his grandkids. Yeah I think, at times, he found it lonely, you see my brothers were still in work, they’d drop in and out to him where they couldn’t at the time, so, with regards to that it was a bit of a struggle for him. Like he got through it, he was fine, once he was able to go back out and do his walking again, he was back out, he’d walk the dog. We have a dog over there so he walks my dog in the morning to kind of get him out, that’s the excuse we give him to go, get the exercise in.
I just think that you assume when you hear the word palliative care, like it’s, it kind of knocks you back a bit because you’re thinking, oh is there something going on here that we actually don’t know about, is he not telling us because, you know yourself, when you hear palliative care you think of someone that’s on their death bed and they’re receiving palliative care, where like I think we have seen a whole other side to it. Whereas it’s a support system, it’s being around people that are in the same position that you’re in, going through the same fights, the same battles and I have to say it’s just amazing the support that he has got from Raheny hospice, like, it really is.
I must say I couldn’t fault them in any way. I found them brilliant, the palliative care, it was absolutely great you know.