Glyn’s story, as written by his daughter Becky.
My dad Glyn was taken ill very suddenly on 9th November 2019. It started as a normal Saturday. Dad had driven to his local town with mum for coffee and a shop. All was fine.
Early afternoon he felt unwell with stomach pains and started being sick. He thought it was something he had eaten. When I phoned mum that evening, she mentioned dad had not been feeling well. We thought nothing of it. It was just a bug, he’ll feel better tomorrow. But that evening after trying to call 111 and being cut-off several times, my parents decided it was time to call 999.
Dad was taken to our local hospital in the early hours. Typically for him, he didn’t want mum to go with him as she doesn’t drive. He didn’t want her stuck there.
I knew nothing of this until the following evening. My daughter had a hockey tournament and they didn’t want to bother us! When I phoned to ask how dad was and to let them know how things had gone, mum told me that dad has in hospital.
I went to see him the following day. Although he was obviously uncomfortable, he didn’t look too bad. They said it was gallstones. We were waiting to find out what would happen next. Dad spent the following week waiting with very little information. He went down at the end of the week to have the gallstones removed and that’s when everything changed! When he came back to the ward, he was moved to a side room. Now, he was wired up, on oxygen and looked extremely ill.
This is when we started learning a little of pancreatitis. We never really got any proper answers from the hospital. By the time Dad was admitted, things were so bad he had necrosis and his pancreas was beyond saving. They did not try to operate; the gallstones were located in such a way that they couldn’t be removed. It was such a shock.
Dad was moved in and out of the ward every few days. It was like a game of Tetris. We never knew where he would be. Often, the moves were during the night so if he had managed to get to sleep, he was woken up so they could wheel him off!
He had every complication along the way. Blood clots, internal bleeding, pneumonia and more. Dad was left without water and nutrition on many occasions.
He rallied a bit at Christmas, managing to eat a little. We even talked about him possibly coming home for New Year. But things went downhill from Boxing Day, until he lost his fight on 22nd January. Dad would never come home again.
His stay in hospital was a painful one. We were often left with no information. There were a few kind nurses who had a difficult job to do, but many came in and out, never giving their names or explaining what they were doing. I felt like a helpless bystander. I felt I was in the way. I did not know that dad was nearing the end, I didn’t know what to do and often feel now that I let him down by not demanding more answers.
We didn’t want to upset the nurses and doctors, or take up their time. I truly regret this now, as Dad deserved their attention. During his 11-week stay in hospital Dad endured approximately 10 scans, 6 x-rays and 5 endoscopies! Those were the ones Mum knew about and made a note of.
Dad was a truly kind and generous man, always there for us without fail, he was knowledgeable and could fix anything. He was an artist and belonged to The Plymouth Society of Artists. He adored being in his studio, pottering away. He was one of the founding members of the Dartmoor Rescue Group too. He liked to be a bit of a character and could be quite grumpy, especially before his first coffee of the day, but we loved him with all our hearts. I miss speaking with him and putting the world to rights together. He was the centre of our family, married over 50 years, a wonderful dad to my brother and myself, a doting Grandpa to my two children.
I hope that anyone reading this who is going through something similar will make sure they ask all the questions and feel strong enough to get the answers they need. I hope all doctors or nurses reading will realise the impact of giving just a moment of their time, to explain what they are doing. Exchanging a friendly word with family members it can mean such a lot!
I am also crafty and love art just like my dad did, so I am hoping to use this skill in the future to fundraise for Guts UK.
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-changing research by donating to Guts UK today.