I saw first hand the incredible care ellenor gave to a close friend in their hospice – but that was 25 years ago! And so when I received my own diagnosis early last year I thought that maybe I would need them myself one day – but I was still nervous about going to a ‘hospice’.
My condition isn’t operable, but I take chemotherapy pills just to keep things at bay (so far they are doing their job, touch wood). But they really reduce my immune system – and so I was isolated at home on my own during the first lockdown. My children arranged my shopping for me, which the supermarket delivered to my door. But I couldn’t see anyone in person.
I had my TV, my books – and I bought a jigsaw! But I am a ‘people person’; I was an active member of the W.I. before my diagnosis and I love spending time with my friends and family. During lockdown I missed them all terribly.
My hospital nurse first suggested that I get in touch with ellenor – and so, last year, I had the first of what were to become my regular phone calls with them. They were so kind and so helpful. They are there for me when I need to talk about how I’m feeling, how my condition is progressing. But they’ve given me such wonderful, practical help too.
They made sure I was signed up for my ‘attendance allowance’, which helps me with the cost of getting to and from hospital. Thanks to them I now have a care plan in place and I’ve talked that through with my children, so everyone knows what I want to happen when my times comes. Having that is a big relief. Their support has made me feel better; and I have decided that, if they’ll have me, I would like to go to ellenor for my final days.
I am very excited as I write this, because I have just received my invitation to go into the hospice for the very first time two weeks from now. I can’t wait to see all the staff who have been so kind to me – and to put faces to voices. I have also been promised there will be lots of tea and cake on offer, so I’ll be there early!
I’m looking forward to meeting others, making friends – but also being taught new ways for me to feel better more of the time. One of the classes I want to sign up to is their new “I.T. and Biscuits” group. I’m really not very good with computers or the internet. I speak to my family a lot on the phone, but I want to be able to see my children and my grandchildren – and so I need to learn how to ‘Zoom’ – and they are going to teach me!
I realised recently that having ellenor enter my life does not signify an ending – it’s a beginning. They’re going to help me to feel as well as I can, do as much as I can, for as long as I can. And there’s so many like me who need their help right now. I’ve been supporting by donating things to their shop inside the hospital whenever I go. I hope everyone realises how lucky we are to have ellenor to care for us, because we are all going to need their care someday.