“These last few months have felt like I have been walking down a long, lonely road. I’ve felt very, very low. Really, it’s been the nurses from St Barnabas that have kept me going.
“I have been in the wars for a long time now. I’ve had a condition with my spine for many years and then recently my heart pretty much decided to stop working. I have a mini defibrillator inside me, and it’s saved my life more than once. Earlier this year, I was told my heart is finally failing and it’s now just a matter of time, they don’t know how long I’ve got. And then the pandemic started; and so I’ve been stuck here at home for the last 5 months.
“It was my heart nurse at the hospital who suggested we get in touch with St Barnabas. I thought it was a mad idea – I wasn’t dying tomorrow, how could they help me? But these special people have become my carers, my friends, my lifeline.
“Jess is ‘my’ nurse and she calls me at least once a week, more if she thinks I need it. She finds out how I’m doing, gives me advice on my medications. Mark is my counsellor and we speak once a week. I can share with him how I’m feeling, I find I can express thoughts and feelings with him that are a struggle with people I love.
“Sonia is my occupational therapist. She was the one who came out to my house and saw that I needed some specialist furniture and things like that – so I can get about more easily and be a bit more independent. Sonia got a powered wheelchair sorted out for me – and organised a ramp so I could get in and out of the house.
“And I also have Zoe, ‘my’ physiotherapist. Zoe has given me back mobility I never thought I’d have again. When Zoe came out to see me she looked round the house and then I took her down the stables to meet my horses. I’ve always kept horses and over the last few months they’ve become so precious to me, I can go and see them and forget about things for a while.
“Zoe asked, “What do you want to achieve?” I told her I hadn’t been able to ride, it had been 18 months since I’d been able to get on my old horse, Monty (and don’t tell the others, but he’s my favourite!). Zoe went away and worked up a physio plan just for me, to give me the strength to get back in the saddle. Three weeks later (with help) I was able to sit on Monty once more.
“At the top of my bucket list is to ride Monty on the beach one more time. But my horse box was stolen last year and so I didn’t think I’d make it. But then St Barnabas told me that one of their nurses keeps horses – and they’re hoping to arrange a trip out for Monty and me.
“St Barnabas’ team have all been utterly dedicated to me – and I can say, hand on (dodgy) heart, that it is their care that has kept me going.
“I know they need funds now to keep them caring, for lots of people like me, over the next few months. I can tell you from first-hand experience; that care is priceless.
I hope you can help.”
If you would like to donate to support people like Lisa please go to StBarnabasHospice.co.uk/get-involved/donate/crisiscare/