All of the indications were that the pain management plan, which had been determined during the stay in the hospice, was fine and for a time all went well. At home we slowly adapted to a new set of routines, with a weekly visit to the Day Centre at the hospice. These visits provided an opportunity for the hospice family to monitor Ann’s health and identify any additional help which we needed.
Unfortunately Ann’s health declined and she again returned to the hospice as an inpatient. It was obvious that to return home would need additional changes and so a hospital type bed, for use downstairs was delivered; we also received home care three times a day. These changes together with a walking frame, wheelchair and inclining arm chair altered our lives irrevocably.
The hospice offered a “Hospice at Home” service. Perhaps reluctantly we agreed to try this service, to give support to Ann through the night and allow me to enjoy a good night’s sleep. It was a great success, but we only used it once since Ann was then admitted again to Alexandra ward. Although we only used Hospice at Home once, it is a wonderful service and I would unhesitatingly advise you to accept this help immediately if you find yourself in a similar situation and it is offered to you. Ann was an inpatient four times before she died in October 2015. Throughout the period from June to October the “Hospice Family” searched for ways to help. There was always time to talk and understand where we were and how things should and could move forward. We were never told what to do. The options and opportunities were explained and Ann, with my input, decided what to do.
Ann and I had known since the middle of 2013 that her cancer was terminal. We did not spend time and effort considering the outcome, which we both understood, but in spite of her declining physical condition we tried hard to get the most from every day. The hospice family, together with our own family, friends and the clergy at St. Andrews Shifnal, could not have done more.
Ann felt safe in the hospice and she was happy to remain at the hospice until the end. She was pain free and at peace when on 13th October she passed peacefully away.
Ann died one week before our 48th Wedding Anniversary, which I spent writing the tribute I gave at her funeral. Ann’s ashes were interred on 7th November which would have been her 70th birthday,
All of my family owe a great deal to the staff of Severn Hospice for the care and empathy they gave Ann, and no words can ever do justice to the efforts they made, which meant that Ann died in peace -thank you, thank you so much.
Alan’s Story Part 2, has been difficult to write and has brought back many painful memories and if it helps just one person it will have been worthwhile.
In loving memory of Ann Cartwright 1945 – 2015