Angelina

When the team became involved with Angelina she was a single, sixty year old former lawyer.

When she was in her forties and at the height of her career as a judge she was diagnosed with two major illnesses.  She had a psychiatric illness and, whilst she was being treated for that, she was told that she was also suffering from cancer of the uterus with metastases on her bones.

She stopped work and for many years lived alone with elderly father who was also unwell. Eventually the situation became unsustainable and Angelina went into a nursing home. Through her court work Angelina knew a member of the BELhospice medical team and he persuaded her to accept help from us.

Because of her illnesses Angelina had experienced extreme social isolation for many years. She had very few contacts, could not go out by herself and suffered from extreme mood swings. She found it very difficult to interact with people.

BELhospice’s volunteer team helped relieve this isolation. Two volunteers in particular dedicated their time to spending time with Angelina and their close involvement steadily drew her out of herself. The volunteers became an integral part of Angelina’s life and she learned to socialise once again. Together they went to cafés, played games, painted and knitted. One group of volunteers arranged a surprise birthday celebration for her.

          

As well as helping her overcome loneliness the medical team cared for her physically. Because of suffering from two separate conditions she struggled to get help from the state hospitals and she was very frightened of going into hospital. BELhospice gave her good medical care and advice without the need for hospitalisation which has reduced stress over the years. She called the medical and volunteer team whenever she needed help and counted on BELhospice to keep her informed about her conditions.

Katarina, BELhospice’s spiritual co-ordinator, was also part of the multi disciplinary team that cared for Angelina.  Spiritual care became important to Angelina. A prayer was said for her at one of BEL’s workshops and she experienced a great sense of peace from this. She developed a prayer life and was interested to learn more about God.

Sadly Angelina passed away in 2017. One of the BELhospice volunteers who worked with her said;

"Angelina was special in so many ways. In spite of so many difficulties, she still found strength to bounce back and to connect. I will always remember her. This is my dog in the photo and he is sitting beside me as I write this. We will continue to volunteer for Belhospice"


The new day-centre in our new Serbian hospice will help people like Angelina deal with issues of social isolation arising through illness.