A senior citizen who said she just wanted to die following chemotherapy for bowel cancer changed her mind after coming into contact with a Rennie Grove Hospice Care nurse.
Ann Ginger, 71, recalled: “When the nurse first came to see me she simply sat by my bedside for two hours, holding my hand, listening to me and responding to my concerns.
“She was so gentle and so lovely and she somehow gave me hope. At my lowest ebb, to know there was someone who understood – because she’d seen it so many times before – made such a difference to me.
“My family and oncologist were brilliant, but I just found it easier to talk to a nurse in my own home.”
Ann and her family initially thought she had appendicitis when she experienced a sharp pain in her abdomen.
“But after an urgent operation, I was shocked to learn they’d cut out a tumour,” she explained. “The pain I’d felt was it bursting. I needed a hefty course of chemo as it was an aggressive form of cancer.
“I felt well after the surgery, but I think that made it all the more of a shock to feel so utterly awful once the chemo started. It made me so sick and my stomach was so uncomfortable. I remember thinking ‘Please just let me die.’
“I know someone going through a similar experience now, but without the additional support Rennie Grove provides. She feels she has no-one to talk to.” Reflecting on what happened to her, Ann said: “We are so, so lucky to have this service in our area. The nurses could arrange for prescriptions to be prepared later the same day. They liaised with my oncologist and they always had time – they were never in a rush.”
She had her final dose of chemo last autumn and feels stronger every day.
“I don’t have a bucket list,” she confessed. “I’m just enjoying getting my normal life back again.”
A Rennie Grove spokeswoman said that as treatments improve and patients live longer with life-limiting illnesses, the hospice would increasingly support patients like Ann through therapy and its side effects.
She said: “Her story demonstrates how much our patients value the time our nurses have to explain, reassure and discuss concerns alongside providing specialist and hands-on care.
“With an ageing population and influx of patients predicted, we need to find ways to maintain this level of care and provide support to an increasing number of people.”
It costs £6.7 million to fund the service annually.
> For more information visit www.renniegrove.org