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They gave me my dad back

Andrea White

Terence Henry Lockey

Quite simply Thorpe Hall and its inspirational staff gave me my dad back.

My dad was diagnosed with the terminal condition Mesothelioma (asbestos cancer) in October 2010. He went through pioneering but severe surgery in Leicester to try and prolong his life for as long as possible and we were told this had been as successful as possible and he should therefore have another few months (rather than the low number of weeks he would otherwise have had).

My dad, however, fell into a terrible depression after the surgery and withdrew completely from life and everyone around him. He lay down in his bungalow and basically didn’t get up – I truly thought he was at the end of his life and it was so heartbreaking to see my strong dad slipping away from me, becoming weaker by the day.

Our Macmillan nurse told me that this didn’t have to be the end and that even his physical symptoms were being caused by the depression. She said that if we didn’t get him some help immediately then he would not survive long before pneumonia took hold.

The Macmillan team and myself spoke to Thorpe Hall who were amazing from the first moment and arranged for my dad to be admitted straight away. The staff were so kind and welcoming from day one and made both of us feel so cared for. Their team of doctors started addressing my dad’s depression immediately, trying different medications to get it right. But it wasn’t just the right meds that started to work – it was the constant genuine care that he received that really pulled him through.

I went in to see him every single day, and every day he was more and more like my dad again. The staff were bright and cheerful all the time and with no restriction on visiting times I could spend as much time with my dad as I was able to which was fantastic. It took a full 3 weeks for the staff at Thorpe Hall to get my dad back to the jovial and positive person that he was but they never gave up and they did it!

The day I left Thorpe Hall with my dad in the car to take him home he told me that he had been terrified to go into the hospice as he’d convinced himself he’d never come out, but now that he’d spent 3 weeks with the staff there he didn’t want to go home!! He knew all the nurses and doctors by Christian name, had been receiving regular visits from the wonderful people who donate their time and services so had been given free massages, reflexology, manicures, pedicures and a haircut!! No wonder he would have been quite happy to stay!!

My dad was back to himself and we had another few great months with him (including a Christmas!) until he finally passed away in August 2011. I know in my heart that if he hadn’t been admitted to Thorpe Hall my father would have passed away months earlier and he would have left us whilst in a terribly black place rather than in the heart of his family having made peace with his fate.

I cannot thank the staff at Thorpe Hall enough for the wonderfully kind and patient treatment they showed my dad, how they helped him through such a horrible time and how they gave him his dignity back. And that’s on top of giving us some more precious time with a man that I will be forever proud of: Terence Henry Lockey – my dad.

Memory added 21/03/2013