Over the last few years, I have been a regular inpatient at Bournemouth hospital. In 2016 I spent 7 months all together as an inpatient and last year I was admitted 6 times. Thankfully my admissions are reducing but I am prone to sepsis which can come out of the blue and involves a prompt visit to my local A&E and an admission.
When you are feeling poorly and in the hospital, I find one of the hardest aspects is organising my visitors. I have amazingly supportive friends that are keen to help but sometimes I can double book them and then go days without seeing anybody. I used to write a timetable in my notebook so I could set out who was visiting and try not to cram too many people in on one day and then take a picture of it. I rely on my visitors because my family live in Wales and live on my own so I need help from my friends bringing items in for me. I always wished that there was an app or website that you could send friends and family updates and schedule your visitors.
Well, now there is and this free website is called No More Grapes. Their mission is to improve the lives of those with cancer or chronic illness by making it easier for friends and family to provide support. I really like the name because this website encourages conversation with your loved ones and a modern approach to update and identify ‘purposeful gifts’ to make life easier when you're in the hospital so that you no longer receive grapes when you don’t really like them!
To get started you need to create a profile where you give your email address, password and confirmed password as well as first and last name. You will then receive a confirmation email which will provide a link to your profile. There is an option to upload a picture of yourself and you can ‘take a tour’ of the site which shows you how to use it.
To start with you can invite friends to ‘My Circle’ by providing their email address and they will receive an email and a link. You have an option to ‘share what’s new’ updating your circle with any news by a post, video or a new event. Next, there is a linked calendar which your friends can see and arrange visits when you're an inpatient or have appointments.
I have put my colorectal surgeon appointment down which is on the 6th June and also wrote a post next to this to ask if any of my friends can accompany me. I know this is an important appointment discussing the possibility of total proctocolectomy surgery which for me and my complications will be quite risky so ideally, I would like a second pair of ears.
When I am in hospital one of my regular requests are makeup remover wipes, body lotion and flavoured water. This website also provides a wish list tab which you can browse and pop things that you would like. In my wish list is a premium member voucher year membership for 'Borrow My Dog'. When browsing the shop there are lots of items from moisturisers, body lotions, juicers, cinema tickets and even spa breaks.
I also like that the website provides posts and news about different topics like living with cancer, talking support, gift ideas for someone who is ill and real-life stories.
I can honestly say that I will definitely use this website when I am next admitted because it is so simple to use and will take the pressure away from trying to organise visitors and updating everybody regarding my health. My circle will receive any updates that I post on my profile which will make it so much easier than messaging my friends individually. This also means if you prefer keeping the updates off social media you can and keep them in this private network.
I highly recommend this website if you have lots of hospital appointments or are admitted regularly to make visiting simple and allow you to organise your visits.
Collaboration with No More Grapes