Patricia Weiss’s introduction to Hospice was a lot sooner than she had envisaged, thanks to the intervention of her very proactive GP. Intervention for which Patricia is now very grateful.
The shock diagnosis of secondary cancer in her spine in June this year, led to a whirlwind of appointments and treatments.
After her first round of radiotherapy in July, Patricia was experiencing a raft of symptoms that she could not get on top of. Daily calls to her GP were followed by agonising waits for prescriptions to be sent to the local pharmacy and filled for husband Adrian to collect.
One night Patricia’s pain became unbearable. Both she and husband Adrian were beside themselves. “I said to Adrian; ‘we can’t cope at home any more’.”
Patricia’s GP persuaded her to agree to a Hospice referral. “They are the best people to help you,” she insisted.
“I didn’t want to go. I thought Hospice was a place you go to die,” said Patricia. “I had no idea they could make you better!”
But better she felt. And remarkably quickly.
“In 24 hours I was a different person. The doctors and nurses got all my symptoms sorted out and I just felt better and better every day.”
In fact, Patricia says she felt so much better that by the end of her ten day stay … “I felt like a fraud!”
Patricia, Adrian and their daughters Emara (17) and Rosetta (11) are a tightknit and loving family. All three stayed in the unit with Patricia, but it was Rosetta who had a special sleepover with Mum one Saturday.
“The nurses made up the pull-down bed next to me for Rosetta and we laid beside one another chatting and laughing all evening.”
Next morning the girls had breakfast in bed, courtesy of the kitchen volunteers. “Rosetta had her tray, I had my tray…. It was wonderful.”
Patricia feels that her time in Hospice was healing, particularly for Rosetta. “She felt so at home in the inpatient unit,” says Patricia. “She got to know the staff, the volunteers and some of the other people staying there. “That was really important for her.”
Since leaving the inpatient unit, Patricia has been a regular visitor; making use of the state-of-the-art bath made possible by a generous donation from local couple Janet and David Bridge.
Patricia is also taking advantage of Hospice’s complementary therapist made possible by funding from the community. Marita visits her at home and tailors a special combination of reiki and massage for Patricia. “Last time she came and made me so relaxed I woke up a while later and she had left me lying there!” laughs Patricia.
Patricia wants to thank the community that makes Hospice care possible: “you do so much more than just look after people. I felt special; spoiled. Everyone always had time to talk to me. It feels like one big family.”
And listening to her Mum talking, Emara adds her own perspective. “It’s like a fort of cushions around you.”
Rostetta has her own side of the story to tell too. Click here to read Rosetta's Story.
You can find more personal stories here.