Margaret O’Meara's Story
Basil became very ill at the end of 2012 with heart condition and lungs. He died two years later. An acute hospital was the wrong place for Basil to die. They weren’t able to offer him anything really comforting, soothing or hospice like. You know, they were an acute hospital; that’s their programme. He was tubed this way and tubed that way with great discomfort, he didn’t like being tubed through the nose and some of the medications he was trying to resist, but anyway, then he deteriorated through that week while he was in a ward with three or four other people, that was cheerful to a degree and good for me because I could feel other people were around, what have you, but then they moved him from there to a private room, single room, and I think that was part of their programme that they saw he was dying or going that direction. And they mentioned palliative care and I expected or hoped that I would see somebody who was saying, ‘I’m a palliative care person or I’m..’ they mentioned a palliative care team in fact, but I never saw a team and nobody ever said ‘I’m a palliative care person’. I didn’t know what the distinction between the normal nurses were and the palliative care, there was no, I would have loved if somebody had a badge to say ‘palliative care’ and then maybe one would approach them with a question or whatever.
While he was just alive, he wasn’t really able to talk to Robert very much at all, and he did tell us, he said to go back to where you are staying now, he said, ‘I’m feeling too tired’, and he said, ‘you go to bed and I want to go to sleep’. So that was a calm time with him, I didn’t know it was going to be the last time. And the hospital rang the next morning so we went down to the hospital and he had passed on, he had gone, I don’t know, only minutes probably. We were near the hospital but we were late for the final end. Yes it would have been nice to be there maybe two hours before or something, I don’t know that, but we didn’t have that. His last fortnight of his life was awful, really. That’s the sad bit for me. One maybe has a bigger voice than one thinks one has, or one loses the voice immediately when you see people that are more professional around you and you surrender to them, hand over. And in the heel of the hunt I suppose, the more comfort you can give a dying person is probably the best medicine of all.