This blog was originally published on Dyingwell.uk, a website owned by Clair Fisher.
In Clair’s words: “Dying Well was my retirement project. A space for me to document my personal journey, to explore the evidence around wellbeing in terminal illness and test out some of the theories.”
I had a brief stay in hospital in November as my bowels were partially obstructed. But I managed to break out after 24 hours and enjoy my twins 16th birthday. We went out to a show in Brighton, we laughed, and I loved it. I was able to prepare for Christmas, buy presents, decorate our house, and enjoy some really special family time. To manage that we did have to get a hospital bed into my house which felt like a big step, but I’m glad we did it because it bought me a couple of extra comfortable weeks at home.
A few days after Christmas it became clear that I couldn’t really manage at home anymore. I got severely dehydrated and needed hospital intervention. Thinking about hospital discharge it was obvious that I couldn’t really go home and I was super keen to be admitted to the care of a hospice.
I feel so grateful that this was possible for me and I was admitted to the hospice last Saturday.
Coming into the hospice really was like coming into a home from home. I have a room of my own with a hospital style bed and and a big comfy automatic ‘granny chair’. The nursing team are absolutely top notch, and they have time to give care with such gentleness and love. The hospice is open to visitors in a way that the hospital isn’t at the moment, which is so important as my family are able to come and see me whenever they want. It is peaceful here. There is a garden. I can get outside. I can have flowers in my room. And newspapers can be delivered. The kitchen stocks chocolate ice-cream in the freezer available 24/7! I feel peaceful and well supported.
This will be a good place to die.
I was grateful to have the opportunity to talk to Matt Chorley at Times Radio this week about my recent move to the hospice and why access to good quality palliative care should be something that everyone has a right to. You can listen to the podcast here.
As my journey comes to an end, I want to thank you all for following along. Do take the opportunity to talk openly about death and dying with your loved ones while you have the chance. Make plans. Enjoy every minute of simple happiness you can. Support your local hospice.
The legacy of the wellbeing side of this project will be taken up by the wonderful team at the What Works Centre for Wellbeing and you can support my continued call for better access to good quality palliative care through the Marie Curie Campaign.