When Merdella was diagnosed with a life-limiting illness she was in a lot of pain, a lot of discomfort, and had lost all hope. With the support of Birmingham St Mary’s Hospice, Merdella was able to find meaning and comfort once again and is now able to live well with her condition. Read her story below to find out how the Hospice is making her smile once again…
Supportive, understanding, and kind – that’s how I would describe the care at Birmingham St Mary’s Hospice.
I don’t know how they do it but the nurses are very good at making you feel happy again. They take away the sadness and they just help you in every way they can. It’s a nice feeling knowing that you’ve got someone who is looking out for you; someone who genuinely cares about what matters most.
Before I came to the Hospice, I had lost all hope. I have had lots of different health problems over the past 15 years and have been in a lot of pain and discomfort.
I had never thought about coming to the Hospice before my district nurse suggested it. She told me “it’s no good sitting at home all day” and she was right, so I thought I would give the ‘Day Hospice’ a try.
In the midst of all the pain I was in, coming to the Day Hospice made me feel happy again. The nurses and volunteers treat you with so much respect and kindness; they were just lovely. I was surprised by how much I laughed when I was there – not just with the staff but with the other people who were attending too.
Every week, we would have a different expert from the Hospice come and deliver an educational session for us – things like breathing techniques and tips on exercising. I have problems moving my hands but the nurses always encouraged me to try and use them, even if it was just doing something simple like completing a word search or playing a game of scrabble. It’s the little things, but encouragement like that is what makes me feel more in control of myself.
One of my favourite memories is when we had the animal therapy session and they brought in a donkey. Oh how I laughed! I used to ride horses when I was younger and so the donkey brought back wonderful memories from my childhood. Never in a million years did I expect to be petting a donkey in a hospice!
I’ve now finished my 12-week programme but I’m still receiving care from the Hospice. I use the ‘Support at Home’ service, so a lovely volunteer called Louise comes and visits me at home once a week. I can’t get out-and-about like I used to, so Louise comes to keep me company. It’s nice to have someone I can talk to who isn’t family; I can talk to her about anything and everything and we normally have a good laugh at the things I remember from my childhood.
Happy isn’t a word I thought I would use to describe my time at a hospice but that’s how I always feel, happy. The nurses and volunteers are so kind and empathetic – they understand what I’m going through and help me to be as comfortable as I can be. They remind you that life is about living and always encourage you to live as well as you can.
When my times comes, I want to spend my last days at the Hospice. I know I will get all the love and comfort in the world.
Thank you Merdella for sharing your story with us. On Wednesday 10th July, the whole city will Go Pink! to support more people, just like Merdella, to live well with life-limiting illness.
If you miss the date, you can still Go Pink! any time with friends and family, at school, with your local sports club, at work, or even down the pub! Feel silly with a pink wig, go glam and dress up in your best pink clobber, or treat your mates to delicious pink cupcakes.
Sign up for your free fundraising pack and let’s make Go Pink! a day to remember! Or you can text GOPINK to 70085 to donate £5 to the Hospice!