Billy talks to Paul outside their flat in Coronation Street
Billy wishes he was in Paul’s shoes instead (Picture: ITV)

As Paul Foreman (Peter Ash)’s physical health deteriorates on Coronation Street, it seems that almost every day brings new challenges for him and his partner Billy Mayhew (Daniel Brocklebank) to deal with.

Paul was diagnosed with motor neurone disease (MND) in April this year when he started suffering from weakness in one of his hands. He knows that the condition will get progressively worse and that ultimately he’s facing an early death because of it.

While his friends and family have tried their best to be supportive, one person who really understands is Paul’s friend Shelly (Natalie Amber), who he met at a MND support group. When he first met Shelly Paul was overwhelmed at the sight of her in her wheelchair, as he realised it was a glimpse into his own future. As he got to know her she’s been a huge help to him, as she knows exactly what he’s going through.

In Wednesday (September 13)’s episode he’d had a letter offering him an appointment with a palliative care nurse, and the suggestion that he might be looking at end of life care completely threw him.

A chat with Shelly helped him to put things in perspective, as she explained her own palliative care nurse was a huge help to her and it was all about making the most of the time he had left and being as comfortable as possible.

Paul told her about some things on his bucket list. He said he’d never seen the iron men on Crosby beach, and he’d never been to Scotland. But mostly, he admitted heartbreakingly, he just wanted to hang around with Billy.

Paul’s terminal diagnosis has, of course, been massively hard on Billy and he hasn’t always handled things as well as he could. He has a tendency to try to take over and do things for his partner, leaving Paul feeling frustrated.

When Paul got back from Shelly’s – walking painfully and with difficulty using a stick – he was annoyed to see Billy about to bring a wheelchair into the flat. It was a harsh reminder of the day that’ll come soon when Paul can no longer walk.

‘I can just cover it with a bit of tarpaulin,’ Billy suggested. Paul said he would still know it was there. But he conceded that one day he would need it. ‘Have wheelchair, will travel.’

‘I wish it was me and not you,’ Billy told him, movingly. ‘I do. I just wish I could take it off of you.’

So, so sad.

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