Shared by Gina’s daughter, Yasmine.
My mum Gina was diagnosed with advanced cervical cancer in May 2018 at the age of 57. She went through intensive treatment to try and cure the cancer but sadly by May 2019 we were told it was terminal. From then she was referred to Sobell House for palliative care. This meant she would speak to the care team to work out the best way of keeping on top of her symptoms and managing her day to day life. The team would set up regular calls and visits at home to monitor how she was coping. As her disease progressed she ended up needing more medication to help with her pain. She had been fitted with a syringe driver that administered morphine along with anti-sickness and we had daily carers who came in every day to change this. I remember us all thinking “well that’s it then she must not have long left to be on this” – not true! This improved her life a great deal, meaning she could try and do her normal activities as she felt a little bit better.
She coped well with this until it came to the point that the disease had progressed – this meant her first admission to Sobell House in December 2019. The room Mum stayed in was brand new with a huge TV and en-suite shower room. Mum thought it was lovely. As soon as she was admitted, she started to receive the pain relief and other medications she desperately needed to feel stable again. The nurses work around the clock and were always there if you needed anything. She would have a daily visit from a doctor explaining her symptoms and the next plan, they would always do this with the most respect and care for the patient. They had a drinks trolley that came around for the patients, which Mum thought was brilliant as she loved a G&T. A Chaplain would also visit, occupational health, and many more. Everything she needed was under one roof.
Pictured: Gina (left) and Yasmine
We spent Christmas at Sobell House and I must say the dinner was brilliant! They also allowed the families to eat with the patients. At this stage, Mum had been given just weeks to live, but the doctors wanted to try a procedure to possibly give her more time. It was a 50/50 chance it would work, and it did! She was over the moon and feeling loads better, so much so she was discharged beginning of January 2020 and could come home. Unfortunately, as the weeks passed at home she became unwell again and had her second and final visit to Sobell House. This time bedbound her capacity was limited but her mind and mouth weren’t. The nurses did such a great job of not only the physical side of caring for her but the mental. She had got to the point where anxiety and worries had taken over the daily thoughts and this had affected her normal routine. Her disease was progressively getting worse which didn’t help and I think she found her lack of mobility a massive shock. The team would always reassure her and encourage her. They cared for her, dressed and washed her all the things I think I would have found too much at home being seven months pregnant myself.
The final few days had come and she was in a sleepy state. The nurses pulled me aside and told me that the end looked near. They have a family room with beds and offered for me to sleep there, she also had a pull-out bed near hers so I decided to stay there. The nurses would update me with any changes and be very open but compassionate about the situation. The last day came and she was asked if she would like a certain medicine to help her relax, Mum could hear everything even until the last minutes and told them no! We all looked at each other and smiled because we knew how stubborn yet strong Mum was trying to be. Once again, they respected her final wishes. That night on the 3rd of March 2020 she peacefully passed at 12.30am. She even woke me up with noises to let me know she was going – once she knew I was there four breaths and she was gone. The nurses and care team came in and explained to me what happens from here, and I was able to spend some time with Mum before saying goodbye.
If it wasn’t for Sobell House I’m not sure how I could have ever coped. They are the most lovely, selfless people who put the lives of others as priority, working long, hard hours but always maintaining a high standard of care and love. I will always be forever grateful to everyone at Sobell and hope this great place will continue to care for many years to come.
Thank you so much to Yasmine for kindly sharing her family’s experience of Sobell House.
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