Harald has been a Trinity patient for four years, and shares how Trinity's care has helped him practically and emotionally. 

"I’ve been coming to Trinity for nearly four years now, and I feel like I’ve done a bit of everything they have to offer!

I had hospice syndrome before coming here - I thought of the word hospice and immediately thought “oh no I’m going to snuff it!” But that’s not what Trinity is about at all, if anything it’s given me my life back.

I started visiting outpatients and going to the light exercise class and then went onto the Breathe Better group, and received some of the therapies such as aromatherapy and massage. I also went to yoga which is run by a volunteer called Mark. He does an incredible job and I’m hoping to go back after my physiotherapy is complete.

Art therapy has been my favourite thing about Trinity. I was quite apprehensive at first; I didn’t think it could be for me because I couldn’t even draw a straight line. I was soon proven wrong, and saw a whole new side of me. I’ve always liked art and looking at art, but to create something myself was a completely new experience. I’ve always loved DIY and this brought that side of me back. Trinity offers a flexibility you don’t get in many other places, and you’re free to pursue whatever you want. The emotional side is helpful too, there’s a group therapy structure and we’ve become a close knit group. Some members have died as the group has gone on, but we don’t shy away from that, we’re honest and talk about the person and what they meant to us.

I’m taking part in the Virtual Reality (VR) study at the moment. I’ve tried VR out before, but the study is a few steps up. My first session involved me swimming with dolphins which blew my mind! It calms you down, gets you out of your head, out of your illness and almost out of time itself.

You get to know the people over time, and the support I’ve had from the people I’ve met at Trinity has been amazing. The group activities really foster this, and create a supportive community where we help each other.

We can’t be friends in the sense that we’re always popping to each other’s houses, as we’re not all as independently mobile as we’d like to be, and our friendships are based at Trinity, but I still value them and I’m happy to see them.

Trinity provides me with stability and gives me the chance to come out of the house. Illnesses like Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD) are debilitating, and it’s easy to go downhill. I spent two years accepting the fact that I’m was ill, as I was only 55 when I had the heart attack that made my COPD so much worse. Trinity was a huge part of things changing for me. It’s so calm and positive, and has given me some of my independence back."

Click here to find out more about Trinity's outpatient services

Read Harald's blog for Dying Matters week

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