I’m Simon and I’m 59 years old and living with secondary progressive multiple sclerosis. I was diagnosed in 2007 and have been supported by the incredible team at the Hospice for about four years.
I was initially reluctant to come to Overgate, to me hospices were a place that you came to die. But a friend works there and encouraged me to try it so I agreed. I laughed with my wife Angela that I hoped it wasn’t one of those places where everyone went each week and sat in the same seat each time.
The minute I arrived at Day Hospice I was surrounded by warmth. The nurses couldn’t do enough for me. I was settled into a seat and handed a piece of cake and cuppa and I forgot where I was. When Angela asked if I wanted to go back next week I asked if we could go a bit earlier so I could get the same seat by the window! Each week I would enjoy my time, I never felt rushed or forced to take part in the activities. Sometimes I would join in and at other times I would just enjoy sitting back and enjoying watching the other people having fun. Because we all have fun – we have such a good laugh that I forget I’m poorly. I have made friends during my time at Overgate, and I’ve also lost some friends. Listening to other people who are also living with an illness gives me perspective and helps me to remember how lucky I am, and that other people have problems worse than the ones I might be experiencing that day. It helps you to not get lost in your illness.
I particularly enjoy the complementary therapies – Faye has magic hands and after a massage from her I feel like a new man. She helps me to relax and we often laugh that I’ve fallen asleep again.
I have really missed Day Hospice during Covid-19. I have joined a few of the Zoom sessions but I find these difficult. I am really looking forward to getting back to the normal Day Hospice and just having a hug from the staff that I now call my friends. Angela and I often say that if we ever won the lottery, we’d donate half of our winnings to the Hospice. That’s how much the place and the people mean to us. They have helped us more than words can explain and we will always be grateful for that.