Former mechanic Paul Jewitt keeps thanking the staff at Pendleside for giving him ‘the energy’ to keep going after his diagnosis.
Paul, 62, was strong, fit and healthy just 12 months ago, working as a self-employed mechanic. In fact, he hadn’t been to see his doctor in 35 years.
It was only when walking his dog around Clowbridge Reservoir that he noticed his distance was getting shorter and he was feeling weaker.
His English Setter was also acting differently around him, sniffing his body and his mouth – behaviour which urged him to see the doctor.
After extensive tests, Paul was sadly diagnosed with terminal cancer and from then on, he was visited and supported by Pendleside’s Hospice at Home service.
Soon Paul decided that it was time that he came to stay at Pendleside, spending two weeks at the hospice before leaving to go to hospital for an operation.
He said: “Without those two weeks in the hospice, I don’t think I would’ve pulled through. I didn’t realise how much energy I drew from the hospice, whether it was the people or the building, I don’t know.
“When I was at hospital, I was scared to death of losing the hospice because of the energy that it gave me. The staff cannot do enough for you. I keep saying thank you, but I don’t think that’s powerful enough to express how I really feel.”
When Paul came back to Pendleside after his operation, he was given a framed photograph of an English Setter with the words ‘Welcome back Paul’, plus hospice cook Neil Donohoe baked him a cake for his 63rd birthday – a vanilla sponge with chocolate frosting and mini chocolate eggs on top.
“I don’t think anyone understands how something as simple as that can make you feel,” says Paul. “I realise how lucky I am to be here. I don’t want to go home and just give up.
“I am a real guy, I’ve lived a full live, I’ve had a real career with real struggles and I am here today because of Pendleside Hospice. I want to show people that life is for celebrating, I want to give something back.”
Helen McVey, chief executive at Pendleside Hospice, said: “Paul’s story highlights how everyone works together at Pendleside to give our patients the best support we can, from the nurses treating him on inpatients to the cooks in our kitchen who went out of their way to bake him a birthday cake.
“We want the hospice to be a home from home for our patients and this wouldn’t be possible without our wider team of employees across all departments. Without everyone working together, we wouldn’t still be here more than 30 years after the hospice first started. Collaborative working is what it takes for hospice care to continue.”