A mum-of-four says St Catherine’s Hospice has given her the strength to come to terms with her illness and plan for her future.
Phyllis Jones – known as Phyl – was initially worried about being referred to the Lostock Hall hospice, and has been surprised by how much the nurses and Support Team have been able to help her.
From looking after the big issues like pain management and arranging for her to go to a care home of her choice, to taking time for the small but meaningful details too, Phyl says St Catherine’s has changed her quality of life.
“I was full of trepidation and fear when the hospice was mentioned,” she admitted. “But the minute I walked through the door, all my fears disappeared. I could just feel that there is so much love here and people obviously cared. I didn’t even know this sort of help and these options were available to me when I was in hospital, and it’s made a huge difference to how I feel.
“I hope that by sharing my experience, I can reassure others that St Catherine’s is a wonderful place and not something to be worried or scared about. My granddaughter immediately commented on what a nice place it is when she visited, and said she knew I was being looked after. If a four-year-old can sense that, that says everything.”
Phyl has ataxia which affects her balance; a result of a brain hemorrhage and three small strokes she had a few years ago. She was coping day-to-day, but started to have trouble lifting her foot in early October, and called NHS 111 after taking advice from her family.
The grandma-of-five, from Fulwood, was taken to hospital in an ambulance. Full body and head scans revealed she has lung cancer which has spread to her lymph nodes and brain, which can cause weakness in one or both feet or legs, numbness, and difficulty with balance.
“Everything happened so fast,” she explained. “They told me it was terminal and they couldn’t give me any treatment because of my underlying health conditions. They said I needed palliative care and I asked if that meant I would be going to St Catherine’s Hospice. I didn’t know what to expect and I was really frightened. But it’s so serene and I’m very comfortable here.
“Bev, a social worker from the St Catherine’s Support Team, has been my rock. She’s seen me at my worst, but she’s got me through those really tough times. I’ve been here three weeks and she’s been to see me every day to see how she can help. I was suffering with a dry mouth so she brought me some sweets, and she’s also printed off information about care homes she thinks would be suitable for me and made calls to arrange for me to go to my preferred one when there’s availability. She’s gone more than the extra mile.
“And all the nursing staff, doctors, physio therapists, kitchen staff and cleaners show so much kindness and empathy. I’d like to thank them all from the bottom of my heart. They can’t do enough for you, it’s unbelievable.”
Phyl, 76, a retired sales executive with Taylor Wimpey, added: “I feel very content now. My spirits are high and I have come to terms with my situation and limited future, all due to the love, support, and strength I have been given by St Catherine’s.”
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