Eve Bates started to feel ill on her 90th birthday. She was enjoying the party on September 3rd 2008 with 55 friends and relatives in St Mary’s church hall, Walton, when she turned yellow and was breathless.
The next day she felt even worse and after seeing her GP was taken to Ipswich Hospital.
There doctors said she had jaundice caused by a tumour on the pancreas and was operated on. A stent was put in and Eve was later told the tumour was terminal. But she made the decision not to have invasive surgery of chemotherapy.
A week later she was discharged and wanted to stay in her own home so employed private carers and was visited by the district nurse and Macmillan nurse. The Macmillan nurse referred Eve to St Elizabeth Hospice in October and there she saw Dr Philip Wilkins, a consultant in palliative medicine.
Eve, who lived in Felixstowe, had never been to a hospice before, explained her son Martin Bates. But she was a former district nurse and knew what she was facing.
“She was impressed by the calmness and warmth. Everyone smiled. Nobody hurried her and she was offered an appointment at day services,” he said.
But before she started using the day services, Eve’s condition deteriorated and Mr Bates, a retired college principal, called our Hospice at Home Service at 7am one day in November.
Mr Bates said: “My brother Adrian and I were staying with her and thought she was going to die in the night. The next morning it was obvious there had been a change downwards and we called Hospice at Home. They were brilliant and they put everything in place.”
A nurse came to sit with her the following night and the next morning she was admitted to the hospice’s in-patient unit where her care continued until she passed away two and a half weeks later.
Mr Bates said: “The care was fantastic as was the support for the family. We spent all our time at the hospice during the last few days and there were always volunteers available to look after the family’s needs. It was the small details of care for all of us which eased the burden considerably. I cannot praise the staff and volunteers enough.”
“Mother was at peace, she was calm.”
“For the first time in 30 years she wanted Oval tine and they found it for her. There was nothing she needed that wasn’t provided for, both in terms of nursing needs, her well-being and spiritual support.”
“She was in no pain, towards the end she was sleeping, listening to music and was at peace.”