Heather’s story

75-year-old Heather has myeloma, a type of blood cancer that develops from cells in the bone marrow. She's shared a personal account of how her perception of hospice care has changed since her stay.

Meet Heather

The day I went into St Barnabas House, I had only one thing on my mind and that was to die.

Four months earlier I had a shocking fall whilst on holiday which left me in so much pain that I was unable to walk. An MRI scan revealed five fractured vertebrae and an abnormality in the bone marrow which turned out to be myeloma. I ended up in hospital, but the shortage of staff and the obvious timetable pressures they were all under, dragged me down to rock bottom. When I was told that St Barnabas could give me a bed, I was so relieved. At least I could die in dignity.

“I visited a hospice, and I felt the urge to live!”

I’ll never forget being taken off the ambulance when I arrived at St Bs and seeing three of the amazing nurses. Claire, Suzanne, and Rhonda – they will always have a special place in my heart. I couldn’t believe the care and the time they took to make me feel safe. Even making the worst of things seem like fun.

Apart from my hands and arms, I couldn’t move any other part of my body. However, after only two days, I could move my toes. A very small, and to most, an insignificant thing – but I was overwhelmed with how it made me feel. For the first time in weeks, I felt the urge to live.

Gradually the Physiotherapy Team at the hospice got me up and walking with a frame, and their patience and devotion to what they do is to be applauded. Then, there were the lovely complementary therapists that popped in and massaged my feet – sheer bliss. Even the cleaners became ‘friends’. The doctors were on top of everything, and I was very impressed by the way the whole team worked together. Nothing was too much bother.

Selfie of Heather

I feel so lucky to have such an amazing hospice within reach. Thank you one and all at St Bs - I will never forget you!

- Heather; who was admitted to us for symptom management in January 2022

What’s the hospice like?

For many people, the thought of being admitted to a hospice can be quite daunting. Especially if they have no idea what to expect. But for people like Heather, a short stay can provide them with the care and support they need to be able to return home again.

Find out what to expect when visiting a hospice