Christine’s story

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"My husband Phillip was always a straight talker. He wasn’t one to pussyfoot around, bless him. So when he said to me, ‘I suppose I’d better fill in this form requesting hospice care’, I knew things were about to change for us."
Man and woman smiling to camera

“Phillip was diagnosed with bladder cancer in 2011 but after a round of chemotherapy and another of radiotherapy, his doctors said there was nothing else that could be done. This was heartbreaking news, and I felt totally overwhelmed – facing the loss of my husband with no real idea of how to go about caring for him.”

“Thankfully, this is when St Clare Hospice stepped in. They immediately became a massive source of support for both of us. Along with the wonderful Irene, our St Clare Clinical Nurse Specialist, we agreed Phillip would stay at home for as long as possible – but it soon became clear that he was going to need round-the-clock care. By some good fortune a bed was available at St Clare Hospice, so Phillip was taken in to stay on 19th December.”

“I had no preconceptions about what a Hospice was like, but I was so impressed by what I found. The whole team gathered around to greet him on that first day – a real welcoming committee! They took such good care of both of us and were always asking me if there was anything I needed. It was really like being part of a big, lovely family.”

“They understood Phillip so well. I remember one occasion when he was very upset and distressed about something, one of the nurses came in and just sat with us, chatting, for 45 minutes or so, until Phillip was completely calm again. That kind of personal attention, that level of care, makes such a tremendous difference.”

“On Christmas Day they made a delicious roast dinner and there was a really positive, festive feel in the air. I remember one chap – a big fundraiser for St Clare – came by with a sled he had made, all lit up, pulled by his two dogs! You wouldn’t see that in a hospital!”

“Naturally, Phillip’s condition got worse, and it was clear that he wasn’t going to be with us much longer. The medical team were so good, keeping me updated on any changes, preparing me for what was to come.”

“My husband finally passed away on 5th January. It meant so much to have this team around me, to help me cope. If I’d been home by myself, I really don’t know what I would have done. Even afterwards, they were there for me, helping me process what had happened.”

“I’ll be spending this Christmas with some of Phillip’s family. It’s going to be hard, but I know we’ll help each other through. Meanwhile, I know there will be people at the Hospice experiencing what we did this time last year. I’ll definitely be supporting St Clare this Christmas to help them provide more of their essential and exceptional care.”

– Christine

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