‘Sixty seconds in pain is a minute too long’ says Whittlesey family who are fundraising for special pain relief machines

David Jarrett who had to wait for pain relief when he was dying of cancer

David Jarrett who had to wait for pain relief when he was dying of cancer - Credit: Archant

A Whittlesey family are trying to raise money to buy simple machines that can make the lives of cancer patients and others pain free.

From left: Samantha Carter, Louise Nicholls, community nursing staff, Lee Nicholls

From left: Samantha Carter, Louise Nicholls, community nursing staff, Lee Nicholls - Credit: Archant

Louise Nicholls, her husband Lee and friend Samantha Carter have been fundraising for over a year to buy syringe drivers for use in the local community. So far they have bought two for the community nursing team.

Their campaign started after the family discovered there were only two of the machines, which cost around £1,400 and slowly release a measured dose of painkiller, available for the Whittlesey area including Thorney and Eye.

The discovery was made at Christmas 2013 when Louise’s dad David Jarrett was dying with cancer and inconsiderable pain.

Telling her story on the charity’s website ngnpuk.weebly.com Louise explained her dad, who was well-known in the area and was an active fundraiser with the Rotary Club, was diagnosed with cancer aged 75 in July 2013.

The second syringe driver handed over

The second syringe driver handed over - Credit: Archant

Louise said: “He was expected to recover after an operation and treatment. Unfortunately this was not to be, his cancer was a rare and aggressive form. When he went in to have his operation they realised it had already spread and nothing was done.

“We faced many battles in his care, needing a hospital bed at home and not getting one and way too many others to list but one that really stuck was when he was in pain in the last few days of his life.

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“Whilst dad was ill he never complained. I’m not saying he was a super human but I would say he most definitely had a high pain threshold so when in the last few days of his life he started to get pain we knew it must be bad.

“We also always assumed that pain would be managed. But we had to wait for the nurses to come who then had to wait for a doctor to come to administer pain relief by countless injections, sometimes these worked sometimes they didn’t and he would need more.

“The local GP said dad needed a syringe driver to give him a constant flow of pain relief to make him comfortable. We were told by the nurse they had tried everywhere to get dad a driver but they were all in use. It was heart-breaking. To think that my lovely dad was laying there in pain, these machines were out there but we couldn’t get our hands on one for him.

“It was a few days before Christmas 2013 and we were told we were not alone waiting for one. 24 hours passed and we finally got one. I cannot express the difference this driver made to dad.

“I had no idea about syringe drivers before all this and why would I? We started researching these machines, found out there were only two in the community for use in Whittlesey, Thorney and Eye. That’s a lot of people! No wonder we couldn’t get one. That’s when NPNGUK was born. Our aim is to supply at least one more driver per year to the community nursing team. Sixty seconds in pain is a minute too long. Imagine 24 hours of it.”

The next fundraiser is on April 16 and is a quiz night at St Andrew’s Hall, Whittlesey at 7.30pm. Teams of up to eight people, £5 per person. For tickets contact: 07901847878 or 07742411234 or via the charity’s Facebook page.

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