I returned home yesterday after a week as an inpatient in my local Marie Curie Hospice. I went there because the previous week I had an investigative ‘procedure’ at the nearby hospital which left me with a bladder infection – so much for the vaunted NHS clean-up of hospital bugs! I felt so poorly and washed out the following weekend that I knew I needed a few days’ nursing care. So I phoned the hospice – whIch I visit most weeks as a day patient – and asked whether they could take me in. Within the hour, they replied saying “yes – come along”. So I have spent the last week being dosed with antibiotics and recovering from my painful condition in unexpectedly pleasant surroundings.
Not having been an inpatient before, I was unsure as to how the hospice would compare with the several hospitals where I have been a patient over the past couple of years. I need not have worried – there is no comparison. The hospice is staffed by highly skilled and genuinely friendly staff, and equipped to a standard that you don’t find in most other medical establishments. It’s like a hotel with nursing; there are comfortable sitting rooms for patients who can walk about and their families, and a [highly alcoholic] free drinks trolley, provided by the Friends of the hospice, comes around most days – so I was able to celebrate the departure of the ghastly Blair with a large brandy!
Routine and discipline are at a minimum, and necessary tasks such as washing and the administration of medicines are carried out in a friendly, informal way. Nothing is too much trouble for the staff, who are dedicated to making life as comfortable as possible for patients however ill they are. Of course, there is a sad side in that many of the patients are extremely ill and indeed dying – there was at least one death while I was there. But I cannot imagine a more supportive, friendly, and indeed cheerful, place in which to be terminally ill and to die, and I hope that it will be my last port of call in due course.
Marie Curie Cancer Care is a charity heavily dependent on voluntary funding, and I earnestly commend it to all my blogging friends who want to donate to a charity that they can be assured will use their money wisely and well.
I’m pleased to say that after my week’s ‘rest’ I feel much better and ready to resume the threads of what’s left of my life. I also feel much more secure about the future.