Mary O’Reilly

Mary has been a patient at Pembridge for more than seven years. This is her story about how she came to be with us and what she thinks of the team who support her.

After being diagnosed with lung cancer, I had half my lung removed. I was going downhill, getting infections…. you name it, I was getting everything.

I have been in pain for 10 years. I’m on a lot of pain killers, two types of morphine and other drugs. It doesn’t always take the pain away but it gradually eases it.

It’s worth more than anything in the world to be free of pain. I’ve sometimes nearly banged my head against the wall because I’ve been in so much pain.

Lisa the community nurse from Pembridge came to visit me at home and have a cup of tea.

She was gradually explaining Pembridge to me but because I was so poorly, I just said very abruptly “no”.

She never got annoyed with me.  She said “Alright Mary”. It wasn’t for maybe a month after that I was sitting there thinking, “Mary you were very abrupt with the nurse and she is still taking the time to come and see you and have a cup of tea with you.” And that was the day I said “Well ok then”. I was so nervous.

The Day Hospice Manager Claire met me at the door. She introduced me to everyone and that relaxed me straight away. I sat down and I felt at home;  I don’t know what I needed to be nervous about.

Claire always reminds me “Make sure you’ve got plenty of medication for the holidays coming up”. She reminds all the patients, which is good too because people do forget.

I love Claire; she’s been there for me.

When I arrive I see Sister Gertrude (the spiritual care volunteer) and have Holy Communion. Then I go with Tanya the massage therapist and have a back massage.

The massage, oh god the massage is absolutely brilliant. She has very little music, a little radio or tape she has. She plays very, very soothing music and she has a lovely lamp in there that changes colour sometimes.

It doesn’t take the pain away but does it ever ease it, it loosens all that tightness I have in my back and it’s lovely. Tanya is such a dream.

Art was a no-no for me but the lovely art teacher put me so at ease. He said “you can do it Mary”. He encouraged me; he never once put me down and I started doing art that I didn’t think I could do.

The first time I painted a card my nephews and nieces were going crazy, ‘can I have one, can I have one!’. So most of the cards I did, they all wanted them.

We have a quiz with Richard and he reads us stories. Sometimes when he’s finished the story I say “Richard that was a load of c**p!” and he just roars laughing and the rest of them will say “yeah Mary’s right”. But Mary has to say it first [laughs!].  He is just the ideal person for that job because we give him a lot of banter and wind him up, but he loves it as much as we do.

I look forward to it every week. Oh my god. It’s my highlight. My family know not to make arrangements for me for a Friday. I said you dare make arrangements for me for a Friday, you know I’m going to my Day Centre. I love it here.

I thought “I’m going to get a free massage, where do you get a free massage? I’m going to get a 3 course lunch, I’m going to get cups of tea. It’s just home from home for me. I love it, the more I come the more I love it.”

With your support today, people like Mary can continue to receive the best possible care from the Pembridge team to make the most of the time they have.