Eddie and Pam, from Southampton, have been married for 40 years. Despite Eddie living with heart conditions and myelodysplasia, a rare blood cancer, they lived a fairly normal life until the start of 2020.

Then, Eddie lost his eyesight and started having multiple falls a day. During one severe fall on their driveway, he was knocked unconscious and rushed to hospital.

Pam remembered, “Even when recovering in hospital, he kept falling. Months later, we discovered his blood pressure kept dropping due to a medication, but we didn’t know that at the time.

“At this point he had broken almost every bone in his body. The doctors told me he would need around-the-clock care.”

Eddie spent two months in Romsey hospital for care and rehabilitation. Because of Covid restrictions, his family could only visit for an hour, once a week.

Pam said, “With so little time together, he became miserable, and I hated being away from him.”

Eddie’s surgeons advised he would only live around another four months, because he was too unwell to undergo urgent heart valve replacement surgery. This was when Pam decided to discharge him and care for him at home, where they could make the most of the time they had.

“Thankfully, when the four-month mark came and went, Eddie was still here and much happier. But we couldn’t afford to have paid carers coming in, long-term.”

Pam became Eddie’s full-time carer, staying home with him through day and night.

“I couldn’t do what I used to, like go the gym or see friends. Even to just run out to do the food shop, I needed to ask someone to sit with Eddie.

“Although our families helped when they could, it was tough. Nights in particular were really, really hard.

“I cared for him alone for two years before my family told me I needed to get help, because I was falling apart.”

Last August, Pam’s family supported her to receive help from carers at home. Eddie was also referred to Mountbatten and started to attend the free day services in our Hazel Centre.

“As soon as we walked in the door, we felt loved. We met Michelle, a healthcare assistant, and she was so friendly and welcoming.

“I know Eddie is safe and happy with her. She supports him with different therapies like art and music, and the other outpatients welcome him like they’re old friends. He always looks forward to coming."

I’ve barely been able to go out in years, so when I started bringing Eddie to Mountbatten, I thought I would leave and do my own thing.

“But I’ve made friends with the staff and other service users, too. Everyone is so nice, often I end up staying all day!

“The team have gone above and beyond to support us both. They organised a respite stay on the inpatient unit without me even having to ask.

“The fact that this service is here, and it’s free is so important.

“Now we have an amazing place to go, and I have more energy to care for Eddie at home. It’s given us our lives back.”

Your support keeps our Hazel Centre open, five days a week, to support people like Eddie and Pam. Thank you. 

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