Caring for each other: Padraic and Delia’s Story

This week, June 7th, is National Carers Week. Croí chatted with Padraic Costello, who shares his story with his wife, Delia. 

Padraic Costello and his wife, Delia, from Ballinrobe Co. Mayo, have been married for 45 years, with 5 children and 12 grandchildren. The couple have had to overcome many health challenges in the last couple of years, but Padraic remains optimistic, telling people to always “look at the glass half full”.

In 2013, Padraic was diagnosed with prostate cancer, but was treated immediately and made a great recovery. After, in 2016, Padraic was diagnosed with non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma and understandably, himself and Delia became worried. After returning home from a holiday to celebrate their 40th wedding anniversary in 2016, Delia began to complain of very bad headaches. Padraic brought her straight to the doctor, in which the doctor put it down to stress due to her husband’s illness. However, the pain never seemed to go away, and Delia began to get worse. Several weeks later, they discover that Delia was suffering a stroke and she was brought straight to Dublin for treatment.

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From that day on, Padraic stayed by Delia’s side and became her primary carer. “She was there for me, and now it’s my turn to care for her”, says Padraic. Padraic drove his camper-van to the hospital in Dublin, parked in the car park, and lived there for 3 weeks while Delia received treatment. Bringing Delia home was a big change for them both, but Padraic credits the support he received from his children, especially as he battled his own illness. Padraic made all the necessary adjustments to their house in preparation for Delia’s return.

Although Padraic was now caring for his wife, he still wanted to regain some normality. Padraic and Delia will regularly go for spins at the weekend and, being such a big fan of the matches himself, Padraic even brought Delia to Croagh Park to see Mayo vs. Dublin in the All Ireland! He says, “there’s a lot more planning and researching needed now whenever we want to do something, but it’s worth it to enjoy a bit of normality together”.

Padraic and Delia regularly attend Croí’s Stroke Support Groups, which welcome both stroke survivors and their family members and carers. This week is National Carers Week and Croí wants to raise awareness about the amazing work carers do. Padraic has a message for carers, particularly those looking after loved ones, “I am grateful to be as good as I am today, but of course, there are bad days. But everybody has bad days. You just can’t let the bad days take over the good days”.

To learn more or join Croí’s Stroke Support Group, visit our stroke webpage, or email healthteam@croi.ie.