John Joyce's Story

My first introduction to palliative care was roughly a year and a half ago. I was an in-patient in Galway Hospital and three girls came in and introduced themselves as the palliative care team. My first reaction was, OK, I’m gone.

At this stage so I have a palliative home care team, so it means they visit me at home. When I came out of hospital first that’s when it started, the home visits. I stayed with my sister for approximately six months when I came from hospital; because I live on my own I wanted the reassurance of somebody there. My sister was extremely nervous of me coming home and on treatment and on different drugs, tablets and that, and she didn’t know what, and to have the reassurance of the home care team calling, and also to have a mobile number that she could actually ring them at any time if she was worried about how I looked or how I was feeling or, you know, it was brilliant for her to have that like, it was such reassurance.

From that, when I moved home myself, I live on my own, when I moved home they call to me usually once a week, usually for an hour, have a chat, see how you’re feeling, anything we can do for you like, any problems, any fears, all that and they really look after you. Even in your day to day like, you know, they would really come up with solutions to any problems you had like or anything like, say, just for instance, say like, even for travelling, I travel up and down to Galway for treatment every two weeks and it was quite costly like travelling so they organised to get my free travel. That’s just a basic matter of fact thing like. Any problem whatsoever it’s never too much for them.

Well in my experience I’ve never got a ‘no we can’t’, it’s always been ‘yes we’ll sort it out for you’ like. My perception of palliative care would have changed from the first instance where I met the three girls in Galway like, they really come in to complement your treatment and manage your life around the treatment as such, like, manage your pain relief, manage your welfare needs, manage your everyday life really. And that’s why my perception has changed so much in the last year that, I would have been afraid of palliative care, would be the best way to describe it at the start. Now I would have no fear. They have taken the fear out of the words palliative care.