A few months back a Copd friend told me that she attends a day hospice. At the time I was puzzled as the only hospices I knew of were those where you went to die. She talked about having massages, reflexology, arts and crafts and trips out. How they had helped her to obtain aids for her home and turned her life (which had become intolerable) around. They had managed what her Doctors and care in the community had failed to do and she was indebted to them. She urged me to give it a try so I looked it up on google.
It took me a while but eventually I found “Dove Cottage“. It sounded perfect and I took down the telephone number and handed it to Jon. He talked to someone who said they would like to come and see me and a date was made.
Nicola arrived one Monday afternoon having let herself in under Jon’s instruction and found me in my bedroom. She perched herself on the bed and we had a good old chat about what the hospice was like and about myself. She explained that it was for anyone with a severe chronic condition. It sounded perfect from her description and she gave me a brochure to read later. She asked about my medical and oxygen needs and it was agreed that I go and visit that coming Thursday. At this point my son Oliver arrived home and came up to tell Nicola that one of her car tyres was flat. He offered to change it for her and I was so proud of him.
So Thursday arrived and it was a sunny day. It took us about half an hour to travel there most of it through open countryside. The hospice is set in its own grounds on the site of an old farm near to the village of Stathern in the beautiful Vale of Belvoir. To find it you first have to traverse this really high humpback bridge that spans the unused Grantham Canal. Having conquered that the going is easy. Directly afterwards is a purpose build place that is the Coffee Shop. This helps fund the entirely charity run hospice. Passing this and reaching the end of the lane you find the hospice. Oliver followed signs to a drop off point and he parked up and got me ensconced in my wheelchair. The entrance door was wide and automatic, and led into a hall way with lots of rooms off. We found Nicola who took charge and proceeded to show us around the building describing what the various rooms were for and introducing me to the various members of staff, some who were volunteers.
I was also introduced to some of the visitors/patients along the way who were engaged in various tasks such as playing board games, embroidery, tile mosaics and air fix models. It was at this point near to lunch time so Nicola invited me to stay for lunch and Oliver left me, promising to return around 3:30pm. They put me on a table with three guys who turned out to be great fun and the three course roast pork lunch was wonderful. We were offered wine or beer and it was a real treat.
In the afternoon we had a quiz and some folk went for a massage. I came away feeling that I would love to return and a date was set aside for me to visit every Monday. A driver would be arranged to collect me and bring me home again.
Needless to say I was ready and waiting for Walter my driver when he came to get me on the first Monday. He was a lovely guy who put me at my ease and let me do stuff at my own pace and locked the door for me. I found out he was from the US and was in the military and flew fast planes to the falkland isles to take pictures during the war. He would do it in 5 hours. I shall enjoy hearing more about his exploits on future trips.
I have now been twice to the hospice and I have loved every minute of it. I will let you know more about what goes on in a future blog
I will be attending their Christmas fair this Saturday so if you are in the area do come along.