Day 2 - Tragedy and joy - John’s story

I am 73-years-young and am fed via parenteral nutrition (PN) five nights a week. I am married to Brenda and father to Richard (who tragically passed away seven years ago) and Karen. I also have four grandchildren. My home artificial nutrition (HAN) story began when I went away on a Christmas break in 2015, contracted the flu, came home and felt very unwell. I was referred from the local hospital to Southampton where I was diagnosed with intestinal failure with no known cause, although it was believed to be the result of a viral infection.

On my PN journey I started out having a nursing service, and was fed via a PICC line, which was changed to a central line six months ago. Now the nursing has been reduced because I’ve been taught to do it myself; one nurse said it was like losing part of the family after four years of visiting me! To be honest, I’m free! I was at death’s door, I needed nursing care but now I can do it myself and I feel I have my life back! This is the one thing that I wish I’d known at the start - being able to self-care is so liberating.

Brenda has been to hell and back with me; seven years ago, we lost our son, and just two years after that, I was taken ill. Life has been rubbish, until I turned the corner by having the central line placed. As a family it’s been a terrible time but now, we are finally enjoying ourselves. We both love our coach trip holidays and are keen to enjoy as many holidays as we can.

Gardening is my main hobby; it’s rewarding to keep the garden tidy and then sit back and see the fruits of my labour. I really feel as if I’ve achieved something when I’ve cut the hedge or the lawn, the garden is my sanctuary. Brenda, my wife and I really enjoying relaxing in the garden.

I also like to read thrillers, murder mystery’s and war books. I enjoy watching football which drives my wife crazy! I’m a dedicated Manchester United fan! We have a Mediterranean cruise coming up in September, which is 14 days on P&O Britannia. We cannot wait to board that ship - we really deserve this holiday; it is the trip of a lifetime. We are very much looking forward to sharing the experience with our granddaughter Maria and her boyfriend.

My advice to others is: go for it in life, don’t sit about wallowing in being ill, make the most of what you can do. PINNT is a great resource for helping with things like travel and it is marvellous to be able to talk to people who know what you are going through and can give genuine advice.

HAN Week