Sycamores

The Hospice makes the most of its leafy surroundings with plenty of windows and several small conservatories, a contrast with the tall, often inaccessible windows in the wards of the old buildings of Pinderfields Hospital just across the road.

We’re here visiting my mother-in-law Betty. They’ve done all they can for her medically in the hospital and the aim of the Hospice is now to make her comfortable rather than to bombard her with all resources of modern medicine in order to come up with a cure for her condition.

I see it as the difference between hard-nosed Health, with a capital ‘H’ – with all it’s targets for waiting lists, meeting budgets and successful outcomes – and well being, a softer concept which is more difficult to measure but is obvious when you come across it.

Leafy views and fresh flowers in vases, hair-dressing and aromatherapy sessions, have no place in the already stretched budgets of our National Health Service but they make such a difference to the way you feel, such a difference to the atmosphere of the place. The Health Service view might be to diagnose the problem and work towards a cure, seeing the patient to some extent as a problem to be solved. With the Hospice, it seems more as if the main aim is to treat you as a human being.

Having said that, we’ve got no complaints about the treatment Betty received in her months on the acute wards but the Hospice feels like the right place for her to be now.

3 Replies to “Sycamores”

  1. Dear Richard and Barbara, I am so sorry to hear that Betty is not doing well. But indeed as you have said, hospice is a miraculous way to make people comfortable, respected and able to be with family and friends in their last days. I am glad that this is available for her and all of you. You are in my thoughts and prayers. You have been doing a wonderful job of continuing to keep the diary, and to educate us on so many subjects during her illness. thank you. Hugs, Rachel

  2. We had the phone call at 5 this morning, exactly a month since she enjoyed Christmas dinner with us, that Betty had died. I know ‘peacefully in her sleep’ is a bit of a cliché but that really was the case and it’s typical of her not to cause any fuss. ‘Don’t worry about me’ she’d say, for example as we tried to help her with her drink yesterday afternoon.
    I might have grumbled once or twice in my diary about all the visiting and medical appointments that her illness involved but I’ll miss her and, in a way I’ll miss those interludes in the calm, peaceful, friendly atmosphere of the Hospice. ‘Life affirming’ hardly seems the right way to describe my first experience of a hospice but I think it demonstrates what life should be all about, what it is all about most of the time really if you don’t dwell on the negative elements of it – as I’m not unknown to do. Thank you for your thoughts and support Rachel.

    1. Richard I am so sorry for your loss. Thankful to Betty for introducing you to hospice. We all have to face this ending someday and what a blessing they have brought us as a good way to go. But those of us who remain mourn the loss of our loved ones as we also celebrate their lives with us. Love and prayers to you and Barbara.

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