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Bob’s Story

Bob was a patient at the Hospice in 2017 and thanks to help from his son and the Hospice team, was able to pursue his passion for photography whilst staying on the inpatient unit. Here, Bob shares his experience…

“The day after my 71st birthday, I was admitted to the Hospice. In the autumn of 2016 I went to the doctor feeling extremely unwell – I had no energy to do anything and was feeling terrible. He sent me for a lot of tests and I went for a CT scan at the Western General Hospital in Edinburgh and it showed that I have cancer in my bowel and bladder. The scan was at the beginning of December and I was kept in hospital whilst I had an operation to take away part of my bowel. After the operation the doctors told me I was too weak to have any further surgery and that my condition is terminal. A few days later I was given the option of going home or coming to the Hospice and I am glad to say I came to the Hospice in January this year and I have never regretted it.

My home is in Port Seton, I was born and brought up in North Berwick and have lived in East Lothian most of my life and I have always enjoyed living there. My wife Margaret had been a volunteer at the Hospice for 17 years so I already knew that it was a nice place. When I was admitted I was feeling a bit sorry for myself and it was quite an emotional time. My first impression was just how lovely the place was and I haven’t seen anything so far that would change my mind.

Bob with his exhibition of photographs

The care I have received has been absolutely first class. I have been having quite a lot of trouble lately and the doctors and nurses have been very patient and diligent trying to find out how they can alleviate the problems for me.

I recently moved from room 15 to a three bed room, and I was a bit afraid that it was going to be different nursing staff looking after me. You build up a rapport with the staff and fortunately since I moved rooms it’s all the same nurses and we still have the same conversations and chatter.

In the few months I have been here, my health has changed greatly. At the Western General Hospital the doctors said I was someone who was unlikely to survive much longer, however now the Hospice doctors are saying I can be moved to long term care and I’m going to be discharged from the Hospice. My health has stabilised because the care here is so good. Something as simple as the food is important. I have actually put on weight whilst I have been here, which is something a cancer patient isn’t expected to do.

When I was living at home, I filled my spare time with photography, making and flying model aircraft, playing golf, reading crime fiction and looking after the garden. I’ve always kept myself active and even whilst I have been in the Hospice I’ve tried to keep myself fairly busy.

Shortly after I was admitted the chaplain, Suzie, came to meet me. I find Suzie such an easy person to talk to, and she’s very enthusiastic. I said one of my hobbies is photography and she asked if I had tried doing any photography whilst I had been in here. Suzie told me there’s nothing to stop me being pushed about in a wheelchair and taking photos in the Hospice. My son, Allister, very kindly helped me with the equipment and has been a great help pushing me around in my bed and wheelchair, finding flowers for me to take photos of. I have taken about 80 or 90 photographs of flowers in the Hospice and I am thoroughly enjoying myself. Suzie even organised an exhibition of the photographs I have taken to be displayed at the Hospice, it’s wonderful to see the pictures on display and it has even inspired other people to take up their hobbies again too.”

Our thanks to Bob and his family for letting us share his experience.

A selection of the photographs Bob took of flowers in the Hospice and other local scenes are available to purchase online here. The sale of these prints is in of the Hospice, for which we are very grateful.