This is Dave's story, as told by his wife Alison, as part of Guts UK's Pancreatitis Awareness Campaign - Kranky Panky.
The alarm clock sounded as usual on the morning of Tuesday 6th February 2018. Our usual morning routine happened, as it had done for years.
At 6.30am, I waved my husband Dave off as he left for work. Little did I know then, that was the last time he would leave our house.
At 10.30am, I received a phone call to say Dave had taken ill at work and an ambulance had been called. What had happened? Had he not been well before he left, and just not said anything?
I knew that this was probably him suffering an attack of his gallstones, over any other health problem. He’d suffered with some attacks off and on, but had always recovered after a short while.
Dave had previously been diagnosed with gallstones and ironically, on that same day he took ill, he was due to go for an appointment to get a date for taking his gallbladder out.
I met up with Dave at A&E; he was barely able to speak he was in so much pain. I had never seen him like this before.
Two days after being admitted to hospital, Dave was taken into intensive care. There was now a concern regarding his kidney function.
It was so very, very sad to see him lying there in the intensive care bed with all sorts of pieces of equipment and monitors around him; my usually fit and healthy 50-year-old husband, who still had a whole lot of life left to live.
Dave had been diagnosed with severe acute pancreatitis. I had been informed how seriously ill he was and the odds of his survival. The very prospect of him not actually surviving this was something that I just didn’t want to believe. At the beginning of the week, we were living our normal, usual life and a couple of days later, Dave is seriously ill, hooked up to all sorts in intensive care. How can this be happening? The onset of pancreatitis happened so quickly.
For 3 weeks Dave battled to stay with us, with all the intervention and help from the hospital. Sadly on the 1st March 2018 (St David’s Day), he lost his fight. I will never know if he was aware of what was happening.
I received a phone call from the hospital in the early hours of 1st March. We were a 45-minute drive away from the hospital and we were also in the middle of the “beast from the east” weather. So, with snow on the ground, we made our way to the hospital.
I was there with him at the end, along with his sister and brother in law and my sister and brother in law. We sat with him through the night.
To all his family, Dave was our world. Such a very kind-hearted, much loved man with a smile that lit up a room. His loss is felt so very much by all his family, friends and all who knew him. It is just so sad that what ended his life, was something he was in the process of trying to sort. He is missed and thought of every single day.
Although this was my story and Dave sadly never recovered, there are still many people out there who have come through the other side.
To Guts UK – keep up the good work in the research that you do, that can hopefully end all the suffering for patients with pancreatitis. Our family hopes that in the not too distant future, your ongoing research can hopefully discover a cure for pancreatitis.
Guts UK is the only UK charity funding a research fellowship into pancreatitis.
We are dedicated to finding an effective treatment for this devastating condition. People are suffering, people are dying, all because of a lack of knowledge about our guts. Join our community and champion our cause by donating to our life-saving research today.Be part of life-saving research by donating to Guts UK today.