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Remembering Betty

Compassion and care at Cynthia Spencer Hospice

Betty Maddocks spent the last few days of her life at Cynthia Spencer Hospice. She was diagnosed in 2008 with Waldenström macroglobulinaemia, a rare form of non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma. Three years on from her passing, her husband, Mike, continues to support Cynthia Spencer Hospice after the compassion and care shown to Betty and her family.

Mike’s story:

I promised my wife that she wouldn’t have to die in hospital. A year before she actually died I got in contact with Cynthia Spencer Hospice and we started seeing a consultant there every two or three months. He talked to us about the process and about going into the Hospice; it was counselling really. 

When my wife had her last blood transfusion in June 2011 we were told she had a week to 10 days to live. We booked in with Cynthia Spencer Hospice and they said to ring when we were ready to come in. The support we had when we went in was magnificent, unbelievable. 

She had her own private room, ensuite bathroom, a big patio window overlooking the garden. For the first two or three days I was able to wheel her outside. It was summer and we sat in the garden. 

On the Sunday she fell into a coma. The nurses were just wonderful; they did everything – they fed us, they put a mattress at the side of my wife’s bed so I could stay with her 24/7. On the Monday and Tuesday both my daughters came in and the staff gave them a double room there. I stayed on the mattress in my wife’s room. They were just wonderful, it was just so peaceful. 

After she died on the Wednesday, the nurse asked if we could leave for a while and we went and sat and had a cup of tea. When we came back they had dressed my wife in the clothes we had wanted her to wear, combed her hair and put her make up on her. They had put tealight candles around the room. She looked so peaceful. Then they moved her into the chapel of rest. It was all done so sympathetically and caring – it was just wonderful.

In the November, Cynthia Spencer Hospice invited us to a service of remembrance for families which gave us a chance to share memories. Each family was given a rose.

When she was diagnosed in March 2008, they [doctors] said she would have 6-10 years, she lasted three. It really got hold of her. She was 64 when she died – too young to die.


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