Eileen Milsom, Age 84, Homerton
When Eileen was diagnosed with throat cancer she lost a lot of weight very quickly and was on the verge of a nervous breakdown. Her doctor suggested that coming to St Joseph’s to the Day Hospice may help her. At the time she said “I’m not going there, I must be dying.”
Eileen was told that she could go with a friend for a few weeks to see how she got on. Eileen has never looked back, and this was the start of a relationship between her and St Joseph's Hospice that has lasted for years.
What support are you getting from St Joseph’s Hospice?
“Most people only come to the Day Hospice for a short period of time, usually around three months and after that time they are assessed to see if they still need support.
After attending Day Hospice for a while I was starting to cope better but at the same time I didn't want to leave the care of the hospice. I was told about all of the activities that take place in Finding Space including relaxation classes, the Friday morning Coffee Club and a support group called Share Support and Socialise. I've been coming to these groups and other events in the Hospice for the past few years now.
About a year ago, I came in one day for an art class and I liked it so much that me and my friend Pat asked if we could have a regular art class. This was the start of Doodle Club which I now attend every fortnight."
How is this support helping you?
"St Joseph’s Hospice has really helped me. It’s the best thing since sliced bread. It makes such a nice change to get out and meet people and not be afraid. I’ve made lots of new friends and really enjoy the company. I have a good laugh too. I’ve recently broken my hip so I will be coming in for physiotherapy to help me get back on my feet."
Was there anything that surprised you about St Joseph’s Hospice?
“I was really surprised by St Joseph’s Hospice, because people don’t just come here to die. My mother died here 30 years ago and so at first I was afraid to come. But now you can’t keep me away. It’s given me confidence, and knowing that someone, somewhere, cares for you is so important. Everyone is so kind and can’t do enough for you. I can’t stay away.”
If someone was referred to the hospice and was nervous about coming here – what would you tell them?
“I would say to people don’t be afraid to come here, it’s a marvellous place where you come to live and not to die. But when the time comes I will choose to die at St Joseph’s Hospice.”