Patient Story – Karen Ruler
Karen is a warm and generous 49-year-old from Yalding. She has two “incredible” children, Annie aged 19 and Harry who is 22. Karen was a teaching assistant for 15 years before having to give up the job she loved because of cancer. She is also a huge fan of pamper days and spa treatments.
How does the Hospice help you?
“The Hospice gives me a tremendous amount of support, they’re absolutely amazing. As well as taking care of me and helping me manage my pain levels, they’ve helped me to organise my affairs.
“It’s humbling the amount of support I’ve been given, the Hospice has helped me in so many ways.
“And they’re really good at explaining stuff to me. I came into the Hospice this time after a stay in two hospitals where I hadn’t received much information and it felt as if my questions were being deflected. It’s different here, as soon as I arrived the doctor explained everything and said it in such a lovely way. The nursing staff explain what’s happening to you clearly but not brutally. They listen when I want to talk and they make me laugh loads.
“They even allow me to bring in my cat. It’s like home and if I’m well enough I can even go out for a Spa treatment for a few hours – which they arranged!”
Was the Hospice how you imagined it would be when you came for the first time?
“I was introduced to the Hospice through my friend Sarah. She told me that they don’t just care for you at the very end of your life, they also support you emotionally as well as physically. She said it wouldn’t hurt to speak to them, so at first my doctor referred me to the Hospice for counselling about a year and a half ago. That has been hugely beneficial because it’s enabled me to talk about my ‘demons’ and to encourage my children and parents to talk too.
“After my chemotherapy finished, the hospital also referred me here to help manage my symptoms. As soon as I came onto the ward for the first time I felt a good vibe about the place. The nurses introduced me to the Syringe Driver and that really helped control my pain, which has in turn enabled me to be more independent and do more for myself.”
What do you like about the Hospice?
“It’s very reassuring to know you can come here and they take very good care of you and help you with whatever you need. Everybody is wonderful. I call the nursing team walking angels.
“My son Harry feels more comfortable visiting me at the Hospice because it’s more tranquil and yet there’s also laughter. Harry’s view is that it’s just so different and peaceful and there’s no hospital smell!
“I hope that, in spending time at the Hospice and now choosing to die here when the time comes, it will make the transition easier for my family.”
If someone was referred to the Hospice and was nervous about coming here – what would you say to them?
“I’d say don’t be scared, give it a chance. Visit the Hospice first before you make any assumptions because it will be completely different to what you’re thinking. The focus is all about you. The nursing staff, the support team, they’ll do everything you need at your pace. As soon as you come here, it’ll be different to what you’re expecting and you’ll just know.”