A Hospice Journey With Chappy and Ruby
Did you know Waipuna Hospice not only provide care and support for people facing life limiting illnesses but for their family and friends as well? The majority of people receiving support are cared for where they feel most comfortable – in their homes. Our goal is to help people make the most of their lives; to live every moment in whatever way is important to them.
Chappy and Ruby, a couple who are receiving hospice support know how the services of Waipuna Hospice can make the world of difference. Chappy and Ruby were blissfully living their lives, until the day they received a letter. A letter containing one little word that would forever change their lives – “terminal.” Chappy was diagnosed with terminal heart failure. Ruby explains just how confronting the diagnosis was, “we were devastated. We always believed there was an option somewhere. We thought there was going to be a plan. When you get to a stage of receiving a diagnosis the biggest thing we felt – which probably many families who go through the same journey feel, is a sense of loss. A sense of feeling helpless. It’s just hopelessness. So we cried. We were petrified, the word terminal was so definitive that we felt stripped of hope.”
It took a lot of strength for Chappy and Ruby to come out of isolation and visit their doctor. This time they were introduced to the notion of hospice, which hit them again. Chappy says, “I had an issue with hospice, because I thought it was a place you only go to when you’re close to death. I called it the departure lounge. I’ve known people who have gone there to get relief and have passed away. I thought, I don’t need that. I was in denial that I needed help.” Initially, Chappy refused to go to hospice, so Ruby went to see what it was all about. “I wanted an understanding of what hospice could do. So in the beginning I started going for carer massages. Waipuna Hospice soon became a place of comfort and security. To the outside world I presented a strong image but during this journey, I was emotionally exhausted. The chaplain at Waipuna Hospice kept the wind beneath my wings. I could vent my frustrations without any judgement.”
It took Chappy a month or so to build up the courage to see how hospice could make life special for him again. Once he started visiting Waipuna Hospice he didn’t look back. Ruby can’t emphasise the importance of hospice care enough “there was this whole other Day Service that the community doesn’t know about. It’s such a critical part of the care. I think it takes away the fear of pain in life. It’s more about wellness.”
“The support from Day Services was comprehensive and provided a wraparound programme that supported our whole family. Our situation is a bit different – it’s not just me and Chappy. As grandparents raising grandchildren we are responsible for their safety and stability. Our journey through hospice is inclusive of reassuring our grandchildren that our family unity is intact, strong and supported. The children participated in counselling, play therapy and specifically designed programs for them, such as the Christmas bauble programme, Easter hunts and Hangi for Hospice. Without this journey as a patient and a family unit we would not be as well physically, emotionally and spiritually. Waipuna Hospice maximises our health status.”
Waipuna Hospice would like to say thank you to Chappy and Ruby for sharing their story with us. If you would like to share your story please click here.
This story was first published in our newsletter – Waipuna Connections, issue 73.