“On track to living again, thanks to Rowcroft”
Raymond Tait didn’t think he’d see another Christmas. When he arrived at Rowcroft’s Inpatient Unit in October, his health had deteriorated so badly that in his own words, he was “ready to die”. But through expert, specialist care 24 hours a day, the Rowcroft teams worked hard to get his medication right, control his symptoms and helped him to walk again – which he’d thought impossible. Raymond’s now looking forward to enjoying Christmas in his Torquay home with his wife Sheila and the rest of the family.
Previous impressions of the hospice
“I’ve lived in Torquay for 36 years and I’ve always been under the impression that Rowcroft is a place to go to die,” said Raymond. “I’d been in and out of hospital, but when they told me I was coming into the hospice I thought, oh no that’s it then, my time is up. I thought it meant I had a week, maybe two weeks left. How wrong was I?! My impression of Rowcroft has changed completely – they’ve nursed me back to health!”
“When I came in, I was in a terrible mess. I was taking a bucketful of pills each day, and my body had ballooned up due to excess fluid in my system – I was twice the size that I am now and you couldn’t even see my knees or my ankles.
“The doctors set about analysing my tablets and medication and all the side effects that I was experiencing. For example, I had been on three different types of tablets for angina, so they looked at taking some of these out of the equation, and seeing what the results were by taking regular samples of blood. Boy did the doctors work hard in getting my medication right, and they are so good at this! The first problem they solved was the excess fluid – within two weeks I’d decreased in size from being a massive ugly balloon to being an ordinary shape again, and I felt so much better.”
Starting to walk again
“Although I’d been told I’d never walk again, it was important to keep my body moving. Initially it took three people to help me get onto my feet to stand up and sit down again, and it took me half an hour to get my breath back from the exertion. They helped me to do this nearly every hour. And soon I found that I could get up on my own, without help, and that I was improving tremendously. One day when I stood up, I realised I could shuffle my feet; I could even lift my leg up. I wondered if I could walk, and it was then that I took four steps! It was fantastic, like winning the football pools! When I told the nurses they were amazed. And I’m continuing to improve all the time; yesterday I walked 12 steps!”
A new perspective
“Rowcroft has changed my entire outlook of what’s ahead of me in life. I thought I would be facing the rest of my life confined to a chair, for which I was eternally grateful because Rowcroft’s teams had nursed me back from the edge of death. But when I discovered I could walk again, I was just over the moon. I know it will take time, I’ll need to build up my strength and I may need a walking stick, but I can be mobile. I can get a mobility scooter in the boot of the car, and my wife and I can go places together. It’s changed my whole life and I’m looking forward to the future.”
The hospice team
“I’d give Rowcroft eleven stars out of ten. There’s not one thing I could fault about my time here. The staff have been tremendous – 24 hours a day they’re lovely, and nothing is too much trouble for them. Everything is spotlessly clean, the meals are fantastic, everybody is brilliant at their jobs. I’ve even had a chance to spend time with Charlie the therapy dog! All in all, it’s been absolutely magical – like waving a magic wand.”
“The family and I can’t speak highly enough of Rowcroft,” said Sheila. “We’re so grateful.”
Raymond sadly passed away on 17 January 2023, following care and support by Rowcroft’s teams.
Read more blogs from the hospice
- Myles goes the extra mile for the hospice
- Rowcroft’s achievements over 40 years
- 40 years of caring for our patients and families
- Nurturing touch
- Countless reasons to volunteer in Rowcroft’s shops