Michael was diagnosed with lung cancer in December 2016. When hospice care was first mentioned, he wasn't really sure what a hospice was! Three weeks into being a patient at St Leonard's Hospice, here are some of his thoughts.
Posted Aug 15

Michael's Story

Michael was diagnosed with lung cancer in December 2016. Hospice care was mentioned early on in his illness and, at the time, he didn’t really know what a hospice was. Michael has been on the St Leonard’s Hospice In-patient Unit now since mid-July and here are his thoughts about his time here.

“It’s the polar opposite of what I expected - I can’t praise it enough. I’m blown away by this place. They have the right balance between taking really great care of you, but not being too intrusive and clinical. It’s not a hospital atmosphere at all. I’ve never felt so good in a ‘medical setting’. I felt so ill when I came in but they knew exactly what to do.

You go into reception and it’s like the reception of a really nice hotel. And the staff here are like friends; almost like family now to be honest. It’s a real comfort always being surrounded by the lovely staff and volunteers. You can’t help but feel calm and peaceful. They not only support me, but give my wife all the support she needs too. And they always make a fuss over my granddaughter which puts everyone at ease.

They have ways of normalising life in here – like being offered a sherry with a meal! I’m more partial to a whiskey but that’s not a problem either. My wife brought me a bottle in so I can have a whiskey and coke if I fancy one.

One thing I was quite nervous about was the bathing service. It’s great to be able to have a wash when you want but it’s a strange situation to be in with someone you don’t know that well. But the staff here put you at ease. You’re made to feel so comfortable and treated with so much dignity.”

Luckily, Michael feels well enough since being at St Leonard’s that he was able to attend his son’s Matthew’s wedding on 3rd August in Bristol, and has also been on a day trip to a Garden Centre in Pickering with his wife Heather.

“I didn’t realise you’d be able to do these things while in a hospice. It doesn’t have to be all about your illness, but still being able to live and do what’s important to you as well.”

Michael’s family have been supporting St Leonard’s Hospice already, through the charity shops. His daughter Rebecca buys lots of clothes from the Hospice charity shop on Scarcroft Road, just off Bishy Road, and he and his wife have donated lots if items in the past. He also has lots of items he plans to have donated to the Hospice in the future to help continue the care the Hospice delivers. 

Here's Michael outside the Hospice just before his trip to the Garden Centre