“It didn’t feel like a hospice atmosphere at all”
Jet’s dad Marc Henry had been in and out of hospitals for 26 years – but the Marie Curie hospice was different. She explains how staff at Cardiff and the Vale hospice provided a personal touch when it mattered most.
The hospice was already familiar to Jet: it was where her grandmother died from terminal cancer six years ago. She hadn’t realised, though, that Marie Curie cares for anyone living with any terminal illness.
“Before my dad went into the hospice, I didn’t realise that it was open to people living with any terminal illness, at the end of life. I thought it was only for people with cancer.
“My grandmother had mesothelioma (a type of lung cancer), caused by asbestos, which then spread. She had a brain tumour too. My grandfather also has cancer. But my dad died of a rare condition called Sarcoidosis.”
In Marc’s case, Sarcoidosis affected his heart. He visited the hospice for 18 months for relief from his symptoms.
A personal touch
Used to her dad being in hospitals, the hospice was a welcome change for Jet.
“My dad was ill for 26 years, so I was used to him always being in and out of hospital. But though he was cared for in hospitals, it was never with a personal touch that he got in the hospice.
“It helped us as a family, because the open hours at the hospice meant we could come and go whenever we wanted to. The nurses became such friendly faces during visiting, and I felt safe knowing I could leave my dad there to be cared for.”
When asked if any particular member of hospice staff stands out in her memory, Jet immediately answers yes.
“One nurse, Sanny, was working both shifts when my Nan and when my Dad passed away. My Nan liked him, he was her favourite nurse. He’s very welcoming and he’s very expressive. Nothing is too much for him.”
Enjoying the little things
For Jet’s dad, it was the personal touches that made his time in the hospice special.
“Dad loved being in the hospice. He said it was like being in a five star hotel without having to pay for it.
“When he was unwell, he would get quite hungry in the middle of the night. They would give him a ham sandwich and some crisps at three in the morning. Because of his illness, he never really drank, but one night he was offered a G&T and he thought that was fantastic to be able to have a drink in the hospice.”
“They would let him go out to go to parties and then come back into the hospice. He didn’t feel like he was in a hospice atmosphere at all.”
Jet has signed up to a complete a trek in Sri Lanka, raising money for the Marie Curie Hospice, Cardiff and the Vale in memory of her dad. If you would like to sponsor Jet in her Sri Lanka trek, you can visit her fundraising page, or you could sign up for your own challenge to help Marie Curie support more people and their families living with terminal illness.