This was my first full day at Oakhaven hospice in which I would be on the day patient unit. I arrived that morning not sure what to expect and whether anyone knew I was turning up that day. Luckily they did and I was quickly thrusted into a morning meeting with all the other normal day volunteers and staff. We discussed the patients attending that day, going into some detail with certain patients their conditions.
When the patients arrived at 10:30am my first job was to make the patients comfortable and start introducing myself to them as obviously I was a new face to them. I quickly got chatting to a gentleman who had bowel cancer and was pleased I did as I found his whole approach so friendly and comfortable. Later on I conversed with another gentleman, whilst talking to him he put out his hand to hold mine. This situation really made me realise just what the kind of situations I might face as a future doctor and how important it is to be able to come down to the patients level and empathise with them. I loved holding this persons hand as he told about his life and felt honoured to be in this position where he was happy to tell me so much.
At lunch time I sat next to a gentleman with motor neurone disease. He could barely speak and we had to use a board with a system of colours and letters for him to be able to spell out words to us using his eyes. Despite his horrific condition he was so happy and joyful and always had a smile on his face.
Day 3: This time when I arrived I knew a bit more of what to expect and people knew my face which is always comforting to know. During our morning meeting we were warned that not many patients may come today because of illness. In fact when the patients arrived only four turned up. This was slightly funny as there were more volunteers than patients. However this meant that a practical jobs for the patients could be done very quickly and it gave us plenty of time to talk to the patients. It was great to talk to people in such detail and I remember taking to a lady called Paula. She had such a terrific sense of humour and especially so with her condition.
Whilst there I looked back to my second day with the day patients and realised just how different the people were. From going from a Thursday to Friday, the whole set of patients changes and so does the whole dynamic.
Whilst I have been in the day patient unit I loved it! But now I go onto the next step which is the In Patient Unit. Here I will be meeting a whole new set of challenges which will only be more intense than what I have already come across.