Colette Grealish Keane's Story

I am Colette Grealish Keane and I’m from Mervue and I lived a good few years in Tuam so I’m back in Galway now again. What I done for a living was home help and I used to do it in Tuam; and I done it for 30 years until I got sick. I was always a very very busy woman. I found life was great, no time to worry about anything and then this hit me.

I was just going in with a bad hip and I said when that’s done I’ll be back and running again cause some of my patients had hips done and they were flying it after two or three weeks. So I said that is the same with me but it wasn’t to be. I didn’t know there was cancer there.

I was so bad with the pain and they mentioned about going to the hospice and I said no, no why would I be going up there, thinking that it was only for sick people and he said ‘no no they’ll manage your pain because they’re experts on pain’. So I said, ok, I’ll do anything to get rid of the pain.

So while I was up here they showed me the day care and what I could get and I said that’s what I need otherwise I’m sitting at home looking at three walls. And I said, you know it’s a day out. And the first day I didn’t like it, and then the second day, I said, you know it’s not bad. And then by the third day I couldn’t wait; I was up early and looking out the window to see are they coming. I was like a little child. And I come up here every Wednesday to the day care and people think it’s really all sick people, but it’s not and it’s not knowing all the people I’ve made friends with and they are my family now. We do have a lovely meal, they give us a lovely meal and the cup of tea and the bun when you come in. And we’re all talking about what we done during the week and the conversation is going freely and there is a lot of things on offer, like getting your hair done and you can get your nails done and there is reflexology and there is physio and we have a game of bingo as well and there’s the art class. So I done the art class and I can’t believe how good I was, but I just love it. And all during the week I would be slow at getting up but on Wednesday morning I am up bright and early because I am looking forward to my day in the hospice.

Only for the palliative care I wouldn’t be as good as I am today, and I’m able to smile, I’m able to talk, I can say to people, they say ‘What’s wrong? Did you get a new hip?’, I do say, Yeh, and I have cancer, and they kind of look like this and they go away, they don’t know what to say. So I said it’s like having a broken leg or a headache. So they’re stunned with me for being so open about it but I said that’s what people needs, talk more, you know express, and tell them how good the hospice is there. I’m a new woman and I’m back nearly to normal and I’m delighted that they are here for me and they’re only on my doorstep. I couldn’t thank them enough.