Changing Tides with Denys Moss
If you had asked Denys Moss what hospice care meant three years ago, he would have told you it was the place you go to die. Now, Denys’ weekly visits to Hospice are one of the highlights of his week.
Eight years ago, Denys and his wife Lynda moved to Tauranga and spent years establishing a life full of joy. Their time was spent working hard in their garden, volunteering for local charities, and for Denys, singing in the local barbershop quartet group, Harmony-a-Plenty. Then, three years ago, life changed when Denys suddenly became short of breath.
“I went along to my doctor and they discovered that I had calcium sitting on the crust of my trachea” explains Denys. “I remember when we got the news that I was terminal. My doctor called me in and asked if I wanted Lynda to join me. When I asked her why she told me it wasn’t good news. So I took Lynda in and when the doctor told us I had four months to live, we just sat there and cried“.
It has been three years since Denys received that initial diagnosis, and although he has beaten the odds to date, life is far from normal. Denys can no longer go on holiday, work on his beloved garden, sing in his barbershop quartet group, or even eat the foods he loves. However, he still has his biggest pleasure in life, his family.
“My wife and family are the only pleasure that I have left in life. Lynda is my best friend, and we’re still on our honeymoon after 47 years of marriage. Every night when we go to bed we hold hands, and we never go to bed angry. I still court her like I did when we first met”.
Before his diagnosis Denys admits to hating the idea of hospice care.
If you had asked me three years ago, I would have told you Hospice is the place people come to die and there was no way in hell I was going to end up in hospice care. I hated the idea of it so much I would intentionally take the long way to the garden centre so I didn’t have to drive past the building”.
However, all that changed for Denys once he became a patient.
“My first hospice nurse was Sandra, and she was phenomenal. She really restored my faith in hospice care by showing me that it’s not about death, but about caring for someone. The nurses come when you need them, and not only do they provide medical support, but they also calm me down when I am in a panic and remind me that I am not alone, which is important in such scary times.
“The support, strength, and love that comes from Waipuna Hospice is incredible. There is nothing quite like a hospice nurse. You know if someone is coming from Waipuna they are going to be top quality because they truly are a special breed.”
Denys now visits hospice once a week for the Day Programme, which is a day of fellowship for patients to come together and enjoy a meal and some form of entertainment. Denys has been coming for the last three years, celebrating Christmas and birthdays alike.
“The Day Programme is one of the highlights of my week. I especially love it when they have Warren, or Uncle Wazza, in to perform because he gives me the microphone every now and then so I can sing along. It’s my little spot in the sun, and I love it, especially because I can’t sing with my barbershop group anymore. It was a sad time when they had to cancel the programme because of COVID, I really missed it”.
The very idea of missing his hospice visits is still an odd sentiment for him, which really shows just how much his view on hospice care has changed.
“In the matter of a few months I went from hating the idea of hospice, to loving it. Coming in every week gives me something to look forward to, and is one of the highlights of my week”.
“I think I hated the idea of hospice so much because death is such a scary thing. I didn’t want to think that one day I would need hospice care, let alone that one day I was going to disappear. But now, I don’t know where I’d be without it”.
Waipuna Hospice would like to say thank you to Denys Moss for sharing his story with us. If you would like to share your story please click here.
This story was first published in our newsletter – Waipuna Connections, issue 76.