Tag Archives: Hospice

The Streets of London

“So how can you tell me you’re lonely,
And say for you that the sun don’t shine?
Let me take you by the hand and lead you through the streets of London
I’ll show you something to make you change your mind “

This is the chorus from Ralph McTell’s song The Streets of London”.  Do you know it.  Click here to hear him sing this song.

This is one of those songs that remind us just how lucky we are.  Oh we all have something about which to complain but unless one is battling a life threatening or terminating illness, put alongside those who are homeless and without any hope that things will improve, they really are minor.

If you follow my blog you will know that, until I came to live with my partner (the Architect), Thursday was always Mary Potter Hospice day.  Once a week I volunteered and helped serve lunch to the patients or should we now call them clients?

All these patients were battling terminal illness but in the years that I volunteered there,  I only met one person who was rude and ungrateful for the care he was receiving from the dedicated staff.  Of course, it was understood by everyone why he was like this at the time.  And his charming wife told us that he was never rude before coming into the Hospice.  Apparently he was a gregarious, lovely fellow who was finding it difficult to come to terms with what was happening to him.

And then recently, I experienced the other side of the service the hospice offers.  My partner, dying from a brain tumour, was transferred to Te Omanga Hospice close to where we live.  And what an amazing place that it.  The love, care and attention showered upon us both was absolutely unbelievable.  Nothing was too much trouble for any of the staff.  Cups of tea in the early hours of the morning, a friendly ear to listen when it all became to much for me, food brought to me even though I didn’t want to eat and in all an outpouring of love to help me when the inevitable time came for the Architect to leave this world.

And when that day came, the love was showered on our families.

So if today in your travels, you come across an abrupt, grumpy person, give them a smile.  We don’t know what demons they are battling in their lives and maybe a smile will help them.

“If you’re reading this…
Congratulations, you’re alive.
If that’s not something to smile about,
then I don’t know what is.”
Chad Sugg, –  Monsters Under Your Head

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One Year On

Andy arriving at the Hospice

Checking he is in the right place and looking for his friends

The highlight of the day as always on Thursday is the visit to the Hospice.  Are you all getting bored hearing about this?

This year is the 100th anniversary of the death of the Venerable Mary Potter and many celebrations of remembrance are proposed.

And looking back on last year’s blog I see that on this day Lotte and I were Looking for Andy.  Do you remember the armadillo and the adventures he had (we had) when he was visiting us?  I wonder where the little fellow is now and if he has arrived back home with Lenore Diane.

Well now on to today.  This is my lovely daughter’s birthday.  We don’t go overboard for birthdays in our family which is just as well because she had taken off today with the basketball team she coaches for a competition this weekend.  So there will be no riotous celebrations, she has to keep these young men in control.

Her own boys are spending the weekend with their father.  This all seems to be working out well for the family.  When they are with their father, apart from driving them to the various sports fixtures (they can’t get there easily from his house) he devises all sorts of interesting things for them to do together.

And lunchtime at the hospice today was rather a hectic affair.  Clients/patients choose what they want for lunch shortly after breakfast each morning,  Well today something went wrong and we had the wrong food for a couple of people.  No problem really; it just meant my going to the kitchen and reorganising the lunches.  This of course, takes time and throws the timing out.  So that by the time we got back to the first people with their desserts some had gone to sleep having become tired of waiting.

The lady from the SPCA (Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals) usually comes on Thursday with one or two dogs in tow.  These dogs are those available for adoption and most clients are pleased to see her each week.  Well, today she didn’t turn up and one elderly lady asked plaintively where the dogs were.  Obviously they derive a certain comfort and normalcy from the animals.  One man who has been there for several weeks has his wife bring in their dogs – two very large dogs from South Africa.  They could eat my Bella in one chomp but they are very quiet and placid.

Bella is settling down, barking less and accepting my friends and family when they come to visit.  She is still my shadow and doesn’t like me to leave her but today she slept in the car while I was in the hospice.  I do think she prefers that to being left at home, and as the weather is becoming cooler (by the day almost) it is not too hot for her to be left in the car.  She joins us on the terrace for lunch on sunny days and so doesn’t spend too long in the car alone.  Of course her exuberance and delight when I return has to be seen to be believed.  She reminds me of the Energizer bunny jumping up with all four feet in the air.

And from my little book of dog wisdom* :-

“Life is a precious gift.
Treat it delicately and be grateful for it,
but most importantly celebrate and enjoy it”

* dog wisdom to lift your spirits and brighten your day.  Published by Blue Angel Gallery, Australia.

Thoughts on Thursday

MPH Logo

Today being Thursday, Bella and I made our usual trip to the Hospice.  I have said so many times how impressed I am with the total dedication of all the staff, Doctors, Nurses, Therapists, Assistants and cleaners.  They all go out of their way to treat their clients with respect,  and do all they can to make the client’s life more comfortable.

And each Thursday I am joined in lunch duty by a retired bank manager.  He is one of those cheery little men who always has joke, pun or a story to share.  He has apparently been volunteering at the Hospice since his retirement some 15 years ago.  He not only does lunch duty on Thursday but serves on a couple of the committees as the volunteers’ representative.

Today was a Thursday much like any other.  Unfortunately there had been a death this morning so the atmosphere was rather subdued.  But none of the other clients would have been aware of the death.  This part of the operation is handled so well – dignified and respectful in all aspects.

Once again I was approached by a couple of visitors who commented on the great service being offered. Of course, I thought they meant the staff and quickly agreed that we were so lucky to have the free services of the hospice and that the staff was  fantastic.  They surprised me by saying that it was not the staff but the volunteers they were commenting on.  Isn’t it nice when you do something with no expectation of any reward and then receive compliments.

As you know, I always say that I get more out of the 2 hours I spend at the hospice each week than they get from me.  However, it is nice to be appreciated.

There were few clients today and so the lunch service took little over an hour and we were out of there earlier than usual.  So Miss Bella and I went for a walk before meeting my daughter for coffee.

Oh I really do like Thursday.

true, true, true

Another Busy Thursday

Today being Thursday we went to the Hospice to serve lunch.  By we I mean Lotte, Andy and me.

Lotte is always welcome there and the staff and some of the clients make a great fuss of her; they tolerate me because they need my help and they fell in love with Andy last week when I took him there for the first time.

Lotte and Andy in the car

It's a bit tough when a visitor takes your seat in the car

Andy in the car

OK that's better. An armadillo can see so much more from here

Andy arriving at the Hospice

Checking he is in the right place

Andy signing in

Every volunteer must sign in before starting

Andy in the locker

Don't shut the door please. I'll stay quietly in this locker.

Andy and Me

Andy likes to learn all he can

We left the Hospice and the next stop was the library where Andy helped me find the book for which I was looking.

And helping

A smart armadillo can find his way around computerised records

Andy at the library

Now that book should be just about here...

And after all that excitement a little armadillo knows that he should rest so that he can be ready for the next set of adventures.

Andy on the bed

This looks like a good place to rest

And just between you and me, Andy is not a young chap at all.  He was made in 1989 so that makes him 22 years young.

We are enjoying having Andy to visit with us.  I wonder where he is off to next.


“True friendship comes when silence between
two
people one animal and a pottery toy is comfortable.”
Judith Baxter, Blogger and friend

Another Thursday

MPH LogoToday being Thursday, I went to the hospice to help with lunches.  This was the first time I had been back since my accident way, way before Christmas.  In fact it is now 8 weeks since I was last there.  They say time flies when you are having fun…?

Anyway, back to lunch time today.  Of course, all the people were different to those I had met on my last visit.  Many had gone home, some had moved to more permanent residential homes and unfortunately, some had lost their battle and had passed on.

I have said so many times that I am amazed at the way most people come to terms with their life ending.  Most of them are if not cheerful, at least pleasant to us and grateful for the help they receive at the hospice.  The occasional one is still berating all and sundry because his/her life is ending, but these people are in the minority.

I am also amazed at the care and attention all patients receive from the staff, however, difficult and cranky that patient may be.  The doctors and nursing staff cheerfully undertake their duties in a kindly and caring manner.  Each patient is made to feel important and that they are the only person requiring the attention of the staff member at that time.   The patience displayed by the staff from the doctors, nurses, orderlies and helpers is truly special.

Then this afternoon I went to another medical facility.  Annual check up time – mammogram followed by a visit to my ‘breast man’.  The delightful, charming, wonderful man who performed the surgery to remove my cancerous lump.  I enjoy meeting with him on an annual basis.  We discuss our families and what they have been up to in the year since we last met.  It’s very social and not at all like a doctor’s visit.  After some 15 minutes of chit chat, during which time we have caught up on the fact that his daughter (another Kate) has finished three years of her legal studies and when I first went to him almost 12 years ago, this kid was still at school, he gets around to examining me.

So this is quite a bright spot in the day,  But the mammogram that precedes this appointment is anything but.  The radiographers do try to make this as easy as possible but each year I realise that such a machine could only have been invented by a member of the male gender and I pass the time by imagining which part of his anatomy I would put into the machine.

However, the discomfort aside, I encourage my daughter and daughter-in-law, sisters and friends to have regular mammograms.  My cancer was not palpable, it was so small, but was picked up in this way.

And now I have an apology to make.  I was recently awarded a HUG award by the Island Traveler and did not acknowledge this in my post on Awards. Apologies my friend for this oversight.

If you haven’t heard of the HUG award before do visit Connie Wayne at http://ahopefortoday.com, which promotes hope, love, peace, equality, and unity for all people.  Here you will find guidelines for the award and also for accepting the award and they include:

  • You may only receive this award once.
  • Upon receipt of the award, nominate at least one other person.  The award is not time limited, so you can nominate new people or sites you encounter in the future.
  • Contact your nominees and tell them they have been nominated for the award.

As part of the acceptance I must nominate at least one person for this award and I nominate Suzicate at the Water Witches Daughter.

stylised man with cupBut also, as I have said so often in the past, I am uncomfortable about picking a few out of the many blogs I read and am inspired by, so once again I direct you to my blogroll.  Take a look at each of these blogs.  They are certainly worth your time and see how each of them qualifies for a HUG award.

 

I am just thinking

Many thought running around this sluggish brain today.  It is commonly accepted that we have about 70,000 (yes seventy thousand) thoughts each day.  Is it any wonder then I get confused?

Do not disturbSo today what am I thinking.

Last week Janet at http://thoughtstomull.com/ awarded me a Versatile Blogger Award.  Thank you for this Janet I really appreciate it and consider it an honour to have been nominated by you.

But I do have some concerns about awards (as do some other bloggers).  See this post from Lenore Diane at mythoughtsexactly.  We do love to receive acknowledgment from our peers, and I don’t even object worry about the part where one has to tell seven, eight or however many things about themselves.  No, what really worries me is having to select 10 or 15 others on to whom to pass the award.  Note – Since there are so many great blogs out there I find it difficult to select only a few.  In the past I have nominated everyone on my blog roll but I guess that is cheating! (This note was added after the post was published and in recognition of some of the comments).

So may I say thank you and graciously decline the award, knowing that I can’t accept it without the obligations that accompany it?  I hope that this doesn’t offend the donor.  That most certainly is not my aim.  I am working on being gracious in all areas of my life.  Some areas are easier than others.

Christmas bellsChristmas is rapidly approaching – only 15 days, 11 hours, 20 minutes and 30 seconds as I write this. Well many of you are a day behind us so you have 16 days etc etc.  Click here for the Christmas Countdown Clock.

I have been reading several posts about Christmas and how we celebrate,  We all have family traditions either of long standing or maybe only comparatively recently started.  One that we have in our family started almost half a century ago when my children were babes.  Each year we would select a gift for a child, wrap it and place it under the tree in a local department store.  This has been done now in three different countries in this world.  And we have carried on the tradition.  I still purchase a gift as do my daughter and family and my son and family.  The object has been to instil in the children (mine or theirs) that there is so much more to Christmas than receiving..

I have blogged about Christmas when growing up in London and Christmas in the southern hemisphere in the summer.  Christmas in the sunshine just doesn’t seem right somehow.  So I stick to the traditions, roast turkey and all the trimmings, Christmas pudding etc etc.  And sometimes the weather performs as it should in the summer and the temperatures soar.  But as our weather is so unpredictable who knows what Christmas Day will bring.

What are the traditions in your family?  I would really love to hear of them.

Yesterday was Thursday but I didn’t do lunches at the Hospice.  Instead I was asked to be part of a seminar for the administration staff.  Of course I agreed when they asked could I do something on Time Management.

Wman surrounded by paperI said “Yes I should be happy to do so” and I was until  I saw the Agenda for the day.  I was allotted 1.25 hours and the session was entitled Managing Multiple Projects, Objectives and Deadlines with a series of sub headings.

The Agenda was only circulated a week before the event so much midnight burning of candles oil went on in this house.

Of course the session went smoothly and was well received but for a little while I was concerned.

“To complain about a lack of time is like a fish in the sea complaining that it has a lack of water”
Judith Baxter
A short time ago I wrote about flat packs.  Some people hadn’t heard the expression before and they and others were kind enough to leave comments.  And for no other reason than I think it’s a great photo I give you…
Flat pack car

Flat pack cat

Just Another Thursday

“Death crept quietly into the room
Where once there was laughter, talk and tears
Now it is no more
Silence reigns
Death has replaced life.”
Judith Baxter 1938 –

It was just another Thursday for me and for many others.  But for one family at least, it was not.  I arrived at the hospice to be told that a patient had died.

I had got to know this particular patient over three weeks that he had been in the Hospice.  A cheerful youngish man (difficult to say just how old he was – maybe 40) he was a joy to speak to and was always surrounded by his wife and family.  I do not know this man’s name.  Only first names are used at the hospice, but I was cheered by him on Thursdays when I saw him.

He had obviously come to terms with his life ending but I don’t think his wife and family will have yet.

So for his wife and family I offer this poem from David Harkins (replacing the pronoun she with he):

“You can shed tears that she is gone
or you can smile because she has lived.
You can close your eyes and pray that she’ll come back,
or you can open your eyes and see all that she’s left.
Your heart can be empty because you can’t see her
or you can be full of the love you shared…………
…………Or you can do what she’d want:
Smile, open your eyes, love and go on.”
David Harkins 1959 – Silloth, Cumbria, UK
Read the full poem here

Rainbow

My rainbow

And I will share my rainbow with them.

And It’s Raining

Rainbow

My rainbow - looking forward to spring

Rainbows apologize for angry skies.
Sylvia Voirol

I don’t know who Sylvia Voirol is but I like the sentiment expressed.

I am finding it difficult to write this post as Lotte is sitting on my lap having inspected the desk and all that’s on it then deciding my lap was the better place to be.

Lotte on desk

Another helping hand

Today the awful weather has continued.  Snow only in the high country and in the South Island but rain, rain and more rain and now we have thunder.  No wonder Lotte is scared and needs to sit with me.  But there is nothing we can do about a rainy day.  My response has always been “Now I don’t have to water the garden” but after this spell of such bad weather even my “Pollyanna” like behaviour is waning.

Several things on my mind today that I should like to share.

  • Obviously my post about homelessness struck a chord with many of you.  Thanks for taking the time to comment.  I am aware of course that this is a problem world-wide and one to which there seems to be no immediate solution.  But one wonders if some of the money being spent on the military were to be redirected here, could it make a difference?

Goods for Mary Potter

  • I had thought that when I moved house last year I had downsized to the extent that I now had nothing superfluous in my life.  What a surprise when I decided to get rid of two bookcases and their books.  This of course, led to more searching and the result of that was this pile of things to be picked up tomorrow for sale in the Mary Potter Hospice shop.  Why do we clutter our lives up in this way?
  • And talking about Mary Potter Hospice I received this blogpost today from an acquaintance, Blair Styrer.  Blair channels Tabaash and whether or not you believe in channeling I encourage you to read Blair’s post.
Bird painting

This one is mine.

  • Still on the Hospice – a couple of weeks ago I had Jae my youngest grandson helping while I served lunches there.  He had a broken ankle and was on holiday from school but his brother was not, so he  decided to spend the day with Granma. What a joy and delight that small (12-year-old) boy is.  He charmed everybody with whom he came into contact.  In particular one lady who was going home that day and gave him one of her paintings.  He was thrilled and she also gave him one for his Granma.  After leaving the hospice we hot footed it to a local store (Briscoe’s) to buy a frame for his painting.  He proudly presented it to his mother to hang in her office.  Again, I am amazed at the generosity of people in the last stages of their lives.

Lotte has been looking longingly outside as she has not had a walk for two days.  Every time I have opened the door she has taken one look outside and turned around back into the house.  On Monday, the day of the heavy snow, I bought her a waterproof, lined jacket to keep her warm and dry on her walks.  On the way home from the shop I stopped the car intending to take her for a short, quick walk.  She had other ideas.  I got her out of the car and she planted her four little feet firmly on the ground and refused to move.  Then she turned around and leapt back into the car.  Who’s in charge here I hear you asking.

Lotte

Please may I go out?

Lotte at window

Or maybe out here?

So as soon as the rain lets up a bit we shall venture forth into the weather.  This of course is one of the joys of being owned by a Tibetan Spaniel.  We dance to her beat and her program.

If you get the choice to sit it out or dance
I hope you dance.
From “I Hope You Dance” as sung by
Leanne Womack.