Cynthia Bond (74), who has been bedridden for the past 16 years, yet has not once suffered from a bed sore and still greets anyone who enters her room with a big smile and a sparkle in her eye. Her story is a shining example of the benefits of quality palliative care.
Cynthia was diagnosed with an acute form of Rheumatoid Arthritis in 2014, which, according to her niece Delicia Okkers, started with her struggling to talk. “It escalated very quickly, where she couldn’t walk any more. I tried to take care of her, but it became very difficult as she reached a point where she couldn’t move at all… We absolutely love Aunty Cynthia. She was our mother when our own mother, her twin sister, fell ill with very much the same disease. She unfortunately passed away after developing septicemia because of untreated bed sores.”
Delicia’s brother, Selwyn Pandy, then contacted FWC Hospice Care Centre in Hursthill, Johanesburg and Cynthia was admitted as a long-term patient, where she’s been taken care of for the past six years.
Cynthia’s caregiver, Peggy Foster, shares that it has been challenging looking after someone who is completely immobile, for example keeping her relatively active and occupied during the never-ending hours in her bed. Cynthia has to be turned as regularly as possible, even though she experiences terrible pain in the process. “Her body is completely rigid and if you try to move her or change her position, she literally cries out in pain. Unfortunately, this has to be done to prevent bed sores,” Peggy explains.
The team at FWC Hospice have also come up with some innovative methods to assist Cynthia. As she is unable to speak, they use an alphabet board where they point to the letters. Cynthia then indicates through some noise if they are on the right letter. “We have come up with some basic sentences and will understand what she says once the letter has been ‘approved’ by Cynthia,” says Peggy.
Volunteer and famous screen writer, Hanneke Schutte, often pops in to read to Cynthia, who absolutely loves a good book. “Nothing brings me more joy than to see Cynthia’s face light up when we get to a good part in the story. We’ve laughed and cried and I always look forward to seeing where the next book will take us,” she shares.
To support the care of more patients such as Cynthia, kindly contact FWC Hospice on 011 837 2999 or visit https://www.backabuddy.co.za/senses