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Hannah Hendry, alongside her husband Alex, moved from Essex to Suffolk. Both had been long-term supporters of their local Essex hospice, and when they moved, they started to support St Nic’s.
The very first month Hannah and Alex joined our Hospice lottery, they won £1,000.
“I thought I can’t keep all this. So I sent half of it back,” said Hannah.
Hannah was transferred to the Hospice following an admission to West Suffolk Hospital. She was taken to the Sylvan Ward when she arrived at St Nic’s, and she was very ill at that time.
Hannah explains: “I didn’t know what was going to happen. I had no deep religious feelings at all, and then something happened; I don’t know what, but I was very reassured when I met the Chaplain, and she said to me, ‘Look, I’m a Chaplain, and I haven’t got a clue what is going to happen, so I wouldn’t worry about it.
“From that minute on, and as soon as they opened those doors and let me in, it was so strange; everything, every bit of fear, every bit of worry, just went out the door.
“I said to Alex; I just feel at peace. No matter which way my life goes, it will be a good one. Why is it that a building of bricks and mortar can give you that feeling?
“As soon as you are in here (the Hospice), you find out from the wonderful, amazing people who work here. Everybody from the cleaning lady, to the cook to the nurses, everybody, everybody has been a joy to be with, and I hope I haven’t driven them mad.
“I am very happy to be here, and please, please, if anybody has any worries about coming into the Hospice, let them all go out of the window as soon as you come into this wonderful place because it is truly a wonderful place.”
Hannah was taken to the hospital following an accidental fall at home; while she was in the hospital, other medical problems were revealed, and Hannah was given, as Alex described it, “quite an alarming diagnosis of the situation.” When Hannah arrived at St Nic’s, it was thought she would only live for a few more days.
Alex continued: “We were so relieved when it was able to be arranged for Hannah to come to the Hospice. But like her, I had no previous experience other than the wish to support the hospice movement, which I think is a fantastic concept.
“We played it day by day, every member of your staff; we used the phrase yesterday, they are angels. I know that all members of the nursing profession are dedicated, but the dedication in the Hospice went beyond any previous expectations, and from my own point of view, one of the surprises was that I was able to stay.
“We came in with a diagnosis of only having a few days for my wife to live, and it was important for us to spend as much of those hours together as we could.
“Fortunately, the attention that she has been given and the medical support she has been given has enabled her to turn a corner from a devastating conclusion to one of recovery. I am sure that may not be the experience of many that come to use the Hospice, but we are most grateful that for us, things have turned around, and we are looking towards a positive future rather than the opposite.”
Alex was also grateful for the Hospice’s surroundings, the gardens, and the wooded area, as these allowed him to step away for some space when he needed it.
Our family came over from America because of the medical circumstances, and they were totally bowled over by the quality and standard of the care that the Hospice was giving.
Hannah added: “There is nothing, absolutely nothing that I can say, apart from wow.
“The nurses, we’ve laughed, and we’ve cried together. It’s just been a joy, and there is nothing that I haven’t felt able to say to anybody, nothing.”
Alex said: “The surprise for me was the degree to which Hannah bonded with individual members of staff. It wasn’t a matter of someone coming in and doing their job. They had been doing far more than a job, and I put a lot of the success of her recovery down to that compassion and attention. Everybody has taken more time than I am sure their job officially allows them to, and that has made the difference.”
My Hospice experience
What can you say about a place like this? It’s the most comforting, wonderful, and joyful. This could have been the end of my life, but it hasn’t turned out that way.
The peace, the love, the jokes. Honestly, my final thing to say would be that I know it is hard for a lot of people who are going through bad times but put yourself in their hands, and you will be safe forever. You will be safe forever.