Mary Gater, 77, from Harpenden, who was diagnosed with Pulmonary Fibrosis in 2013, says the best thing her consultant ever did for her was refer her to The Hospice of St Francis, where she has found the help and support she so needed.
Here she explains why the Hospice has become such a life line:
“There’s a different atmosphere at the Hospice. My hospital consultants are very good and do their jobs very efficiently but I never feel like I get much out of my appointments with them. At the Hospice the focus is on giving you self-confidence and hope and a connection with other people in a similar situation.
“Coming to the Hospice’s Pulmonary Fibrosis support group twice a month has opened up all sorts of avenues of support for me. Everyone in Pulmonary Fibrosis group has got the same breathing problems and so being able to come along and chat to people in a similar situation has been a big support for me.
“The Hospice has been a life line really. Everyone has been so wonderful and understanding. No one makes you feel like you’re being a nuisance. They listen to you and have time for you. As I haven’t got any family, everyone at the Hospice is like my family. There’s always someone to talk to and if I’m upset about anything they take the time to explain it properly.
“Dr Chadwick has been wonderful and understanding. If I’m feeling anxious, after talking to her the worry drains away. I’d been reluctant to start taking the medication my doctor wanted me to because I was worried the side effects would make me feel worse. Dr Chadwick helped me to see that it was up to me whether I take the medication or not and that it was within my control. She makes me feel that I can make the most of my life and gives me the choice over how I go about it.
“Last December on one of the very snowy days I was due to go into a care home for a couple of weeks to be looked after while I recovered from a chest infection. Unexpectedly I got a call from Victoria, one of the Hospice Occupational Therapists. I explained that the care home had a room for me but that I was having difficulty getting myself organised. I didn’t have the energy to do anything let alone walk around my house getting my things together.
“Victoria lives near me and so in quite deep snow, she walked over to my house to help me pack. She went round my house getting everything together that I needed to take and even managed to get my cat into a cattery, which was a huge weight off my mind. I don’t know what I would have done without her. I don’t have any family so she was like an angel who arrived out of the blue. What she did for me that day was over and above the call of duty.
“I would recommend anyone to come to the Hospice - it is such a lovely place. When I come here it’s like coming to see family.”
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