A Martlets Christmas

A Christmas Star

Malcolm is staying on our inpatient unit and celebrated his 85th birthday last week. While on the ward he received his first-ever video call, via a Martlets iPad. He tells us about the care he has received from Martlets and why he intends to keep on video-calling once he returns home. 

I came into Martlets around 10 days ago as I have kidney disease; I was getting symptoms that were difficult to manage at home. Martlets suggested I come in for a stay to try and sort out my medication and things. Then I hope I’ll be able to manage better. I’m not well enough to look after myself anymore so I’ll need help from carers when I return home.  

I had my first video call yesterday and I found it a remarkable experience.

Everyone at Martlets has been tremendous, and I’m even learning new things while I’m here. One of the doctors couldn’t come into the Hospice a few days ago so she spoke to me on a video call. It was wonderful – I didn’t know it was possible to do that. A nurse brought me a computer tablet into my room and suddenly I was having this two-way conversation; it felt as though the doctor was in the room. To communicate with somebody who’s there on the screen was such a wonderful thing. Seeing a person in their own home is fantastic; it makes me feel more connected than if I was just hearing a voice on the end of the phone. 

I don’t have a computer or even a mobile; I’m a bit ‘old school’ in that way with technology. But now I’m going to invest in a computer of some kind when I go home. I just want to be able to make video calls from it. I’ve never operated a computer, but I’ve been told that Martlets’ computer people can help me with advice on what I need and how to use it. Apparently, Martlets offer coffee mornings and quizzes and all sorts using video technology you can use at home. So it might be that I can take part in those if I can learn how to do video calling.  

It was my 85th birthday last week. Even though I spent it in the Hospice it was the best birthday I’ve ever had.

I really mean that. Everyone here was so kind and made it such a nice day. The kitchen workers baked a special cake for me, and the staff came into my room and sang ‘Happy Birthday’. I live on my own and that just wouldn’t happen if I had a birthday at home. I’ve had 85 birthdays now and the way everyone here helped me celebrate this one has been remarkable. I will remember it for the rest of my days. 

Everyone – from the doctors and nurses to the cleaners and canteen staff – has been wonderful towards me. They have so much to do and yet they take the time to be kind and to do that bit extra. My room opens onto the garden, and this afternoon a nurse took me out in a wheelchair all wrapped up. We went right around the garden, and it was great to get some fresh air. My room is really cosy, and I have a TV to watch too. 

It looks like I might have to stay on the ward at Martlets over Christmas. But I know the staff will go out of their way to make it feel festive.

The Martlets doctors want to make sure I’ll be well looked after when I go home. So, we have to wait for a community care package to be put in place. With COVID and pressure on health services it’s harder these days to get home care sorted, especially around Christmas time. I’ve already had a Christmas roast dinner here and it was delicious. Perhaps I’ll get to have another one on Christmas Day. I have never been so spoiled in all my life with all this tremendous food. I wasn’t eating much at all before I came in. Now, I’m putting on weight, and I feel so different to when I first came in here; not just physically but also in how I feel. They’ve given me a bit of hope and laughter and I’ve found little things to enjoy.  

I’d like to take this opportunity to wish everyone at Martlets, and out there, a very happy Christmas. I hope the new year is a good one for you.