Tony Large

Anthony Large

Tony’s father, William Anthony Large, also known as Tony, was diagnosed with lung cancer, aged 87, in June 2018.

“For six months my father seemed fine, continuing to play golf between bouts of chemo and radiotherapy. Then towards Christmas his mobility started to deteriorate and we bought a scooter for him to be able to get out and about each day. He was very much still of sound mind and kept in good mental condition all through his treatment and therapy.

“We managed to get a referral to Day Therapy at LOROS and my father was looking forward to being able to attend.

“The night before, he had a fall and spent the night on the floor. He had an emergency button around his neck but he didn’t press it because he didn’t want to bother anyone! I live only about 300 metres away but he didn’t call me. He never wanted to make a fuss.

“That made me realise how frail he was.

“The next day he came into Day Therapy. Me and my sister were expecting to collect him in the afternoon but we got a call saying LOROS were going to admit him to the inpatient ward. The doctors had assessed him and decided to keep him in over the weekend.

“I felt guilty, because I hadn’t seen how frail he was getting but once we got over the initial shock it was the best thing that could have happened.

“The team at LOROS could see what was happening to him so much more clearly than I could. He was hiding things from us - he didn't want to show us how he was feeling. He never complained about pain but he was from that generation that didn't want to complain so we didn’t know how bad he really was.

"The beauty of LOROS was that they could try things out, adapt and adjust on a daily basis to make sure the treatment was correct for my father’s symptoms.

“My father was very comfortable and we felt so pleased he was getting the right care. I even felt a bit selfish that I felt so glad.

“If you can use the word enjoy about end of life care, then he enjoyed it.

“I can't praise LOROS enough. My mother is buried in Belgrave cemetery and my father used to visit every week. In his condition it was not possible for him to visit the grave which was upsetting for him so LOROS arranged a volunteer driver to take him to the cemetery which made him really happy.

“We also threw my father a surprise 88th birthday party. The staff were great in helping us arrange this and the chef even baked him a cake. We invited six of his closest friends. The surprise worked well, and he didn't know they were there. We all had a great time. As it turned out, this was to be his last birthday.

“All these things made a real difference to his stay at LOROS. They made it so easy for me, my sister and all the family too.

"We could come at any time, there was no pressure about visiting hours. I used to visit before work and have my breakfast here.

“At one point my father had to go to hospital for the day for an MRI scan and we were so relieved to get back to LOROS. It felt like coming home it was so welcoming here. He was comforted by that so we were comforted. He realised he was better off here.

“My father used to love the jolly trolley! [the drinks trolley]. You just don't expect to see that on a ward! But it’s another way that LOROS is different and focused on the patients. When you see the trolley, it makes perfect sense. He didn't use to drink much but he loved that it was here. You could hear it clanking down the ward.

“My father was well thought of - a gentle man and a gentleman. He was very well liked by the nurses which was lovely.

“Whilst he was at LOROS he wasn’t paying for nursing care so he donated the money he had saved, £500, to the Hospice instead. It was a nice touch – he was a thoughtful man.

“On 7th February Dad left LOROS and went to a nursing home. The Discharge team organised it for us and they were amazing. I visited lots of places and decided on one which seemed really good. So the team liaised about his care and what he needed and also helped us apply for funding – which we got.

“He was there for about a month and then died peacefully. I was with him.

“His death felt natural rather than a massive shock and I’m so grateful for that. He was a good age - 88, it was hard but he didn't really suffer and had good care, which has helped massively with my grief.

“I decided I wanted to give something back so I'm on a patient committee group and I volunteer as a driver, fetching patients to day therapy, running errands and getting prescriptions. I know someone did that for my dad so now it’s my turn to help.

“We all deal with grief in different ways. Volunteering at LOROS is my kind of therapy - it really helps and that’s the best kind of therapy you can have.”