Suzanne’s Story – ‘So this is the hospice’

24 November, 2017

Our former Day Services patient Suzanne Crossan wrote a very moving letter about her experience at Kilbryde Hospice:

Not just sad and lonely, more like depressed and suicidal. Abandoned by my best friend, and living alone with a chronic lung disorder, only oxygen therapy and pills were keeping me from death’s door. At Christmas time, an ‘angel’ called Marie set me to rights by saying: “go to Kilbryde Hospice, help is awaiting you there’. So I did just that, with a little help from my doctor and an interview with a nurse. Day Services at the hospice and Counselling were suggested.

With trepidation, I awaited the arranged transport on the day. Despite a previous visit, the huge atrium and lift to the upper floor enhanced feelings of anxiety. What lay ahead?

Sitting on a cosy chair with a buzz of nurses, volunteers and patients around me, a nice cup of tea helped the nerves settle and the teas kept coming! How I remember the merry-go-round of activities of that first day. Anxiety was replaced by joy, brought on through companionship and the challenge of new skills or therapies.

What therapies? From the banging, strumming and rattling of extraordinary instruments in Music Therapy, to the tranquil motions of Chi Gung which I still practise at home to increase my energy levels, to the creative craftwork which resulted in me painting, making a bead bracelet and a thank you card – a focus for intense work on finger/hand control. I was drawn into the peacefulness of the Quiet Room with the chaplains and given support, and my counselling sessions helped me face up to my fears. The hydrotherapy bath was fabulous. The choir singing and breathing exercises helped strengthen my chest muscles as well as being a source of great enjoyment and laughter.

So what did the hospice do for me? It brought companionship and chatter back into my life. I learned to smile again and took better care of myself. I was emotional and shed tears, and was nursed back to liking myself. I was helped to find peacefulness of mind. My confidence exploded and I felt good.

My journey continues on a much firmer footing. I am free from the ‘sea of despond’ (Pilgrim’s Progress). I cannot thank the hospice staff enough. They are brilliant. If you are given the opportunity to attend, in whatever capacity, my advice is grab it with both hands.

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