Ray Thomas's Deteriorating Health Made Easier by PDH

Photo: Ray Thomas
Tuesday, 10 January 2017
Ray Thomas realises his health outlook isn’t promising, but having good care has made it bearable.

With asbestosis, fibrosis, emphysema and congestive heart failure, Ray struggles to do much and has an oxygen supply and a bed set up in the lounge room of his Portland home.

Walking to the mail box leaves him out of breath.

There is no cure for his condition and Ray realises he has been sent home to die. He's making the most of his bad situation in the most comfortable way he can.

At 72 and with a big family that includes the recent addition of great grandchildren, it's not what Ray wants but he accepts it with the loving care of his family and health carers.

Ray appreciates having the opportunity to live at home with wife Sandy and thanks Portland District Health for allowing that to happen.

He recently spent about three weeks in PDH, and has nothing but praise for everyone at the hospital.

At one stage his respiratory problems were so bad that he only survived thanks to being placed on a CPAP machine that provides pressure to help open up the lungs for better oxygen transfer in the body. Using that saved my life, Ray said.

Ray describes PDH as either the best hospital in the world or the best motel in Portland and I didn't even have to pay.

Ray's condition came to light when he and Sandy hooked up the caravan at Easter and headed north for winter and to see their new great grandchildren.

Prior to that he was feeling fit, helping at home with renovations and painting.

However, about a month into the trip Ray realised he wasn't doing too well. Everything was a struggle. I felt bloated, had a bad back and couldn't even lift up my arms, he said. I had no `go' in me.

They decided to come home and Ray wanted to go to the doctor for a complete overhaul.

After various referrals and tests, Ray learned the bad news and was admitted to PDH on November 3.

He was in hospital for three weeks before being discharged to live at home. He is using the PDH Hospital Admission Risk Program (HARP) and visiting palliative care services to make the transition easier. A home care package takes care of his house and garden maintenance.

Ray is essentially stuck inside, but he's accepted his condition. Basically I sit and watch TV and live in the lounge, he said. If I go outside and the air gets to me I'm no good I can't afford to have a respiratory attack.

But I'm kept comfortable thanks to the love and care of family and the hospital.

Everybody at PDH treated me with such respect and the after care has been just as good. 

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