Hospiscare patient, Bronia, hopes to get home for the weekend

There are many myths surrounding hospices, one of the biggest misconceptions is that if you get admitted to one, it’s because you are about to die.  That’s certainly the impression Bronia Rosier and her family had when she was referred to local charity, Hospiscare.

Bronia, 56, from Ottery St Mary, was diagnosed with a tumour two years ago. After a course of chemo and radiotherapy which was unsuccessful in shrinking the growth, she underwent surgery to remove it.  However, the cancer had already spread to other areas of her body and Bronia was given the news that no further treatment could be given.  She was then referred to Hospiscare and a nurse began visiting her at home.

Bronia explains: “I’ve been having visits from a Hospiscare nurse and I had been getting along all right, but recently I had a lot of pain and my legs have swollen up so much it’s difficult for me to do anything.  My nurse suggested I come onto the ward at Searle House in Exeter for a short stay to get things under control.

“Obviously, as soon as you hear that you need to go into the hospice you think you are on your last legs and you’re being sent there to die, but that’s not always the case. A lot of the time patients come in to get their symptoms under control.  I came in on a Friday and have spent 10 days in here, but I hope I can be discharged and get back home in a few days.

“The nursing team have been brilliant, they have such a caring attitude and nothing is too much trouble. No one wants to be referred to a hospice but if you are really ill and that sort of care is available to you, then take it.”

Bronia’s daughter Carla, 23, said: “I was really worried when mum said she was going into the hospice.  I thought that was the end, she was going to die in there and it would be full of other people dying.  But it’s not like that.  It’s really nice, the whole family feel looked after when we come in.  You can visit anytime, the place is full of flowers and there is always someone to talk to if you want support.”

Bronia has a large family with four adopted children, two children of her own and her husband also has three from a previous relationship.  Bronia commented: “I don’t like being the centre of attention, I am used to looking after everyone else. I wasn’t expecting to find myself in this position of needing care.

“My youngest children are only eight and ten years old and are asking all sorts of questions about what happens when you die. As a family we all talk about it very openly.  I encourage the kids to be independent and stand on their own two feet. You have to carry on with life, you can’t curl up in a ball in the corner. There are times when I am really agitated and cross about the situation.  But I remind myself I am damn lucky.  There are lots of people in the world a lot worse off than me.  I am not alone, we all have things in life that happen to us that are awful.

“I have decided that when the time comes I don’t want to die at home.  I would prefer to be at Searle House on the ward.

"It’s comforting to know that Hospiscare will be here for my family to give support after I have gone. But for now I am living in the moment and there are some events coming up which I want to be at.  First is Christmas, and then Carla’s wedding in March, so there is a lot to look forward to.  But before all that I am just hoping to get home for the weekend.”

This article is dedicated to Bronia who died at Searle House in the early hours of Friday morning on the 17th November 2017.  Bronia’s son has set up a Just Giving Page on behalf of Bronia’s family to raise funds for Hospiscare.  If you would like to donate please visit Just Giving and search for Bronia’s Page or use the following link www.justgiving.com/fundraising/lydon-ward-best.

Hospiscare is a local adult hospice charity, providing free, high quality care and support to people with any type of terminal illness, and those close to them, in Exeter, Mid and East Devon.  A gift to Hospiscare in your Will helps to ensure the future of the charity in Devon for generations to come.