“I’ve worked hard all my life, I’m not going to give up now.”
When 62-year-old Dave Nightingale from Pleasington was told he had a terminal illness, he was determined to carry on as normal for as long as possible. He wasn’t expecting his local hospice would be there to keep him on his feet and get him back home to tinker with the bikes, cars and machines he loves so much.
“I was diagnosed with advanced pancreatic cancer in November 2015. My doctor said he needed to see me and I knew by the look on his face it was cancer. I thought ‘how unlucky can one guy be?!’ In 2003 I had a bad motorcycle crash and was in hospital for 7 months. They told me I had a broken spine and I’d never walk again. But 3 and a half years later, after being in a wheelchair, I got back on my feet.
“I had my own business for 22 years as a motor engineer. I’m a self-confessed ‘petrol head’! Machines are in my blood. My dad was a farmer and I remember from a young age being obsessed with how they all worked. I remember taking engines to bits when I was about 10. Then I got into motorbikes and have been in love with them ever since.
“I’m not ready to give up on all that yet. When my doctor said I’d be better off going to the hospice I was intrigued. It had to be better than going to A+E every few days because I was in so much pain. When I got to the hospice I was wheeled through the doors and became very emotional which isn’t like me. Although I’d never been before, I felt like the hospice was where I needed to be.
“Within about an hour they got my pain under control and I felt better already. Over the course of a month they tweaked my medication under intense monitoring so that my pain relief can be administered at home.
The cancer has made me lose a lot of weight and I can feel myself getting weaker and more tired. But I can’t change that.
“I can’t get over the professionalism, respect and care shown to me and all the patients. All the staff are so approachable and make you feel at ease. From the cleaners who always politely ask if they can come and clean your room each day, to the catering staff who appeared with a full cooked breakfast one day because I mentioned I really fancied it. All the staff go above and beyond the call of duty. It was a joy to be at the hospice, a lovely experience. And my fiancée Kate and daughter Sarah could come and go as they pleased with no visiting hours or rules.
“I owe everything to the hospice – they’ve given me more time to keep going, a more knowledgeable outlook on what’s to come, and I’m not frightened about it. The compassion and empathy they show to everyone is second to none. Without the hospice I’d be lost.”