Hospice helps David come back from the brink

A man who has spent all his life in and out of hospital has thanked Pendleside Hospice for ‘giving him his life back’.

David O’Connor, 64, from Brierfield who has a variety of health conditions including a chronic lung condition and heart disease, was referred to the hospice for counselling to help him deal with his conditions.

David’s lungs only work at 38 per cent, he struggles to breathe so can’t walk far, and on occasions this causes him to feel faint and pass out. Generally, he faces challenges coping with day-to-day life.

The combination of his illnesses left him suffering from depression and he says that he doesn’t think he would be here today without the support of the hospice.

“I’ve spent my life going in and out of hospital, but when I was diagnosed with my most recent illness I just felt as though I couldn’t cope anymore,” said David.

“I’m very lucky to have very supportive neighbours, and my friend Brian Sturgeon has been my rock helping me out and taking me to lots of hospital appointments. But, despite the help I found myself in a very bad place and didn’t know what to do.

“It was suggested that I go to Pendleside Hospice. I was a bit frightened at first, and it took me a few weeks to settle but volunteers Theresa and Shelia made me feel really welcome and calmed my nerves.

“The counselling was a great help, it gave me a sense of relief to have someone to talk to who listened to my problems and gave me ways of dealing with my issues. It was absolutely tremendous; I can’t thank them enough.”

As well as having counselling David had complementary therapies, took part in a tai chi course and attended other day service activities, including a Burns Night celebration.

“I’ve been taught breathing exercises, been given a CD of relaxing music and given some aromatherapy oils to help me when I’m at home. I can’t thank the staff enough, they are all so professional and caring – coming here is just like being at home.

“People think that hospices are places of doom and gloom, but it’s really not like that at Pendleside. The building is always so full of life and a lot of people come away feeling more positive. I’m a different person now than what I was a year go – they have given me back my life.

“Although I still have bad days I now have mechanisms to help me cope. I’ve recently signed up to volunteer for the hospice as a way of giving something back to them for everything they have done for me.”