Robin’s Story

Robin, a loving husband, father, and grandfather; was fit and healthy until the onset of this disease – Idiopathic Pulmonary Fibrosis. He was actively involved in Badminton and cricket, his sporting choices, played competed until a couple of years before this death at the age of 69. He loved fishing and taught his two sons the art of fishing, and introduced them to badminton and cricket.

Robin had several admission to hospital from 2007 as the disease progressed, initially was given the name of “Cryptogenic Fibrosing Alveolitis” then to Idiopathic Pulmonary Fibrosis on following admissions (both meaning the same disease– confusing to us as family at the time. With medications for other health problems, and those for IPF Robin developed Type 2 Diabetes requiring insulin, other sided effects of medications were to follow. Robin persisted in taking advice and any medications as prescribed in the hope of a cure or relief of the symptoms.

After the diagnosis of IPF, “exercise” – he walked frequently and attended Respiratory Rehabilitation clinic regularly, “health eating” were his main focuses. As his exercise tolerance and lung capacity decreased he continued to watch NZ sports on T.V. Family and friends were important to him, and supportive in the last months of his life. He encouraged native birds to visit our garden by setting up feeding areas and kept them replenished. On his last admission to hospital, it was explained to him his life expectancy was limited. He stated he was not “throwing in the towel yet”, he wanted to go home and see Christmas with family. A Palliative care package was arranged so he could return home to familiar surrounding with his pets, native birds in the garden. Robin died a few days after discharge from hospital in October 2010.

Being a retired nurse, I had seen many serious illnesses and diseases, but feel this must be the cruelest fatal disease. It affects all who come to know it, the patient, the family, friends and also the medical staff involved.

Following Robins death, with support from family, friends, Chest Physicians (Dr M Wilshire and Dr B Broadway and NZORD who sponsor this website, I attempted to give some insight into the disease, treatment of IPF, and the services that can be helpful to patient and families.