St Margaret’s Hospice, Yeovil

13 May 2009

Well here we are back in the hospice having arrived on Monday. I had twelve days at home with an extremely high level of nursing care. Teams of two coming four times a day plus a night nurse, plus visits from district nurses and others. And, although it was good to be in one’s own home surrounding by one’s own belongings I was limited to the bed, set up in the dining room and the chair in the conservatory. I could move no further around the house or garden and was, in reality, more restricted than I am here in the hospice. It was also very disruptive to home life and I felt it to be an unnecessary burden on Fiona (though I expect she’ll deny that!). Here in the hospice I have complete 24 hour nursing care and last night, for example, I was in need of that. Two or three times in the night I awoke in a coughing fit and struggling for breath. I needed both an oxygen line and a nebuliser. I also needed the extra drugs that are available here to prevent me from panicking so thank God I was here and not at home! That’s a hard thing to say but nevertheless true. The hospice is a roomy, airy and generous place where visitors can come more or less at will and where there are comfortable rooms and niches in which to sit and relax and where tea and coffee is freely available. Having said that please do not visit without clearing it with Fiona first as some times too many visitors at once can be overwhelming. All in all, I’m glad to be back here. I think I’m in the right place but I was glad to have the opportunity to see my home for what will probably be the last time.

I forgot to mention last week that I had a lovely visit from Richard and Deirdre Williams, the organist from St Bart’s. We were able to discuss important things like music. Yesterday it was a terrific pleasure to have a visit from the bannoffee pie queen, Maxine, a member of staff at Frenchay Hospital. It was not only great to spend a good gossipy half an hour with her but also to catch up on the news of all those other nurses who looked after me so well. Greetings to you all at Frenchay. As always it was great to receive an uplifting visit from Penny Laker and partner Charles, they are just off on a four-month cruise in their boat – I do envy their life on the ocean wave. Today I’ve had (apart from family) two visits, firstly from recently retired army padre the Reverend Paul Cattermole. Unfortunately I didn’t get too much time to chat with him, as I was asleep when he arrived but as he only lives down the road in Montacute I hope to see him again soon. The other visitor was the Right Reverend Tom Burns, Bishop of Minervia (South West Wales). Tom has very kindly agreed to officiate at my funeral when the day comes and we spent a good hour or more talking over old times. As he left I asked for his blessing – and he asked me for mine! It was great to see him. The biggest surprise this week, however, was to get a visit from my gorgeous cousin, Charlotte and her French boyfriend, Nico. Charlotte spends most of her time gallivanting around foreign parts as a snowboarding instructor, however yesterday she was en route to Weymouth via Devon and then on to Biarritz where they will be spending the summer. Last weekend was a real family weekend, not only with the usual suspects in parenthesis but a quick visit from my darling niece Elizabeth who came home all the way from South Africa to see me, leaving behind her precious newborn son. I was devastated not to be well enough to spend more time with her and the others but that’s the way it goes and I’ve no doubt that they all understand and sympathise with my situation. It was great also to see my old chum and Anglican convert Father Michael Kirkpatrick who, when the day comes, will be organising the main events on my funeral day.

Despite alluding to funerals on a number of occasions, up until today I have tried to avoid using the word but the time has come for me now to let it be widely known that when notifications are eventually issued I would find it pleasing if attendees were to kindly wear mourning. Ladies please go and buy your new black hats now in the spring sales! Ha ha!

Until next time


Comments on this entry:

  1. Though meetings may be far apart and years roll inbetween, time can never change true friendship – it is evergreen. Affection that has stood the test of life’s experience, the love of one who never doubts and never takes offence, this is God’s precious gift and as our way we wend – we find the greatest thing of all if we can find a friend.

    With love to my dear friend Graeme.

    — Heather · Thursday 14 May, 2009 · #