I must say first this is hardest article I have had to write for my website as this is very personal to myself and my family, but I did need to write this and the charity I am talking about for me is the most amazing charity. But anyone reading this will be able to associate to a charity that is very close to your own heart.
We all say there are too many charity shops on most high streets, but we normally don’t see the work the charity does for the end result they are raising for. Well this is about the great things they do for that charity and without them many of these charity’s wouldn’t be able to do the great work they do for people. This just not to do with charity shops but all sorts of charity fund raising. This is not about the major charity’s that have TV nights or chart topping singles, this is about the smaller local charity’s that most people forget about, but these do play a amazing role in normal people like me or you.
My own personal story is to do with St Giles. I knew the charity shops but didn’t really know what the charity was about or for, well St Giles do palliative care for the terminally ill, for people with cancer etc. The have day centres and also hospice for either rest bite care or end of life care. This is about our personal experience about the St Giles hospice on the site of the old Goscot hospital in Walsall.
My father Ken was diagnosed with pancreatic and liver cancer back in earlier in 2014 Unfortunately this was already at stage four, he did have a few rounds of chemotherapy but he kept getting infections and being very week and kept ending up in hospital. I will not say which hospital as the times he had been in was not a pleasant experience with mistakes made and the care was not good at all, to be honest I have seen animals treated better that some of the staff treated people. Though I must stress on other wards the staff where great, especially the palliative care doctors, who arranged a syringe driver pump for pain relief. This really did help my father control the pain as well as a pre-existing chronic back problem.
He was offered a place at the day centre at St Giles we went in one Friday to look around and find out what goes on. Each day in the day centre is different on the Friday they do bingo and competitions, but If you don’t want to get involved you don’t have to. The staff are available just to talk if needed etc. These days do help the patient and also the family as does give both a break from the care that is needed. The St Giles hospice is in two parts one for the day centre and the other for the rest bite care or end of life care, which have separate rooms for overnight stays.
Unfortunately my father couldn’t make the next Friday as was back into hospital, though he did use the day centre once more on a Wednesday, and he did really enjoy it as did give him a break from being at home, as at this time his mobility was getting worse, so was mostly stuck in the house unless I took both my father and my mother out, which to be honest was mostly hospital appointments, Chemotherapy appointments as well as visits to A&E.
Unfortunately one day my father was very ill and the district nurses that came in each day arranged for him to go into the main St Giles Hospice to get his pain under control. My mom and father got their an hour before myself and partner got there.
From the onset the doctor that was in that day and the nurses were absolutely great they went through the whole medical history and was on top of the pain relief straight away changing his normal medication and increasing the morphine syringe driver.
My father was in the hospice for nearly two and half weeks before he passed away at the end of October 2014. In that time nothing was two much trouble for the staff, getting anything he needed. They would come in every two hours to help my father move in the bed. Now my father was a smoker, and before anyone reading this thinks that is cancer was caused by smoking, it wasn’t as really this was un-related. But if he wanted a cigarette there is a smoking room that he could have a cigarette, this is only for the patient, though family and friends can be in there aswell. If he wanted one at any time they would wheel him down to have one, which I think is amazing. Though just after a week of being in he was unable to have a fag, so they even provided nicotine patches to take away the craving his body was having.
There are several other rooms available for the family to sit and just have time on your own, they allow you to stop over either in one of the rooms or will even put another bed in the room the patient is stopping in. Two nights before my father passed they allowed both myself and my mon to stay aswell. There is a room for you to make tea or coffee, they do ask for donations for this, which we kept keeping putting money in as this was only fair, as they provide the tea, coffee, sugar and milk.
There is no limit to how many people can visit, not like a hospital where normally you can only have two or three people visiting at any one time. They do even let you bring in the loved ones pets like their dog. The outside is a very calming place to walk around, and so in inside even though around 50% of the people staying in the hospice will spend there last days there.
All throughout my father’s stay in the hospice, they kept on top of the pain relief and really did help support our family, my father was like me a joker in most parts and he did make the staff laugh a lot as even his pyjamas where brightly coloured cartoon ones that make people smile.
Now St Giles is only half founded by local council, the other is from fundraising, charity shops and other charity fund like the lottery etc. I really do have to thank the great staff they have their from the nurses, to cleaning staff, from the reception staff to the doctors that work there.
As you couldn’t ask for any better care.
So for myself seeing what great job these local charity’s do, it does make me think about giving more to charity, but really only ones that are close to my heart. Im not one that believes in charity’s begging for money outside shops or even doing bag packing at your local supermarkets, as I always think you can be pressured into giving money. But I do think you should always give to charities as without donations and fundraising places like St Giles would not exist and that would be a great shame and they do provide a service that in this case I really do think the government should support especially in cases like this where there is really no other option and I know I would like this support for my last days on this earth.
So think next time you have spare clothes instead of taking them into these weight in places that give you a few quid for all your kilos of clothes, giving them to a charity shop will help support that charity and what’s an extra £5 in your pocket, you will be doing more for people that really need the support of local charity’s, I know I will now.
Thank you for reading this as this has been very hard to write, but going back to my first sentence I think this need to be said, so if this has moved you please share my story, or see St Giles website for how you can help out HERE. I normally decorate my house with Christmas lights, this follows on from my father doing this, see HERE for more details, this year I will be raising money for St Giles, so if you want to see the lights or donate please get intouch with me firstname.lastname@example.org
And again thanks to all the staff at St Giles hospice for all the care and the support they gave my father and our family at a very upsetting time.
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