“My mother had bad rheumatoid arthritis and had to be looked after for many years. She was 75, but young at heart. Unfortunately, she had a bad fall in November 2020 and was rushed into the hospital at the height of Covid-19. That time, there was no visiting allowed. She was transferred to the Mater Hospital on December 21st and, in mid-February, she contracted the virus.
I got to visit her on Christmas day for a few minutes wearing full PPE, and then not again until the day before she died, on February 18th. It was one of the longest and most difficult time in my life. I was constantly worried about how people were treating her. Harrowing thoughts were going through my mind daily. When I finally got to see her, I could instantly sense that had taken good care of her. She was in a four bedded high-dependency unit with three other people, all with Covid-19.
They allowed me to gown up and see her for a few minutes. It was a heart-wrenching experience, but I was glad to finally see her. Afterward, the nurse manager said that they had an ‘end-of-life’ suite available for her. This is a room that was made possible by Irish Hospice Foundation’s Hospice Friendly Hospitals Programme, designed to look and feel warmer and more family-friendly, more like a hospice room. It has lovely wallpaper, low light, and less medical equipment.
There was a glass door with a sitting room behind it. Because of Covid, those doors were closed, but I could sit behind the glass door, all day and all night. They even allowed me to go in every few hours wearing PPE. That end-of-life suit made a crucial difference in the experience of her last days. All I kept thinking was that this room is saving me. I had heard of people standing outside of windows or waiting in cars as family members were dying, so I was very grateful to have this beautiful room.
I wanted to give something back and, that is when I heard of the IHF Camino walk. Without giving it much thought, I signed up. It was one of the best decisions in my life. Besides raising over three thousand euros, I also made many new friendships and the whole experience made my grief for my mother a little easier.”
Today’s interview marks the start of a series of interviews by Humans of Dublin with individuals who are either beneficiaries of or contributors to the work of IHF.