Margaret and Eddie Bell's Story

Margaret: Eddie got very, very sick. He was brought in to Foyle Hospice, he was in for about five weeks, so, that was over four years ago. Eddie was diagnosed with a cancer and was told that he had four months to live, so it was very hard to get my head around that. Eventually Eddie got a wee bit better and was able to go out home. I felt very, very shocked; this should never have happened to us. Eddie was working and I was working and we were thinking on retirement age, going places we never went before; our family was all grown up.

Eddie: When first it was mentioned to me about going to hospice, I said no, I just thought it was to die. I was glad then I did come. It was very good. You can do activities in there, bingo or painting, art, whatever you wanted to do. It’s a highlight of my week on Wednesday, coming here. I wouldn’t miss it now at all, I actually love it, no I look forward to coming to it now, definitely.

Margaret: There’s people here you can talk to, nurses and doctors. I think you should give it a chance. It was the best decision that Eddie did make and myself, to be quite honest with you, because he’s doing great now at the minute and I hope it continues.

Margaret Taylor: I’d say it’s only natural, you know, that people do be nervous. And I think it’s the whole concept of the word hospice. They associate it with death and when they come it’s totally different from what people imagine. And even for myself it was a learning curve. I was nervous when I came here to work first, you know, very nervous and I love coming to my work every day now. It’s rewarding because, it makes me realise what, you know. .. people say how do you work there, how can you work there with people that are dying, you know, and really it’s your life in perspective it lets you see what’s important and what isn’t important.

Palliative Care is not just about cancer; there’s other life-limiting diseases like Motor Neurone Disease, Parkinson’s Disease, different ones that probably somebody medical could tell you better than the cook. But at the end of the day behind every patient that is very ill, there’s a carer as well and this is a break for them, this is a chance, and more importantly it’s a place where the patient can come and feel safe. I think this should be available for every patient that has a life-limiting illness.