Bastable Lodge is a bungalow built by the League of Friends. Family members of acute patients can stay there so that they are right on the hospital complex in times of crisis. Access is via the ward sister of the department treating the patient.
This much-used facility is free of charge, although it is hoped that visitors will give a donation towards the upkeep. There are five comfortable bedrooms and a big open-plan kitchen/living room.
Those who use the bungalow come from all over the world. During lockdown in May 2020, we received a long email from a lady in Australia who had the use of the bungalow in 2015. Part of this email is printed below
In August 2015, my husband and I were on a self-drive holiday through England, staying in a Bed and Breakfast outside Taunton, when David suffered a seizure, and collapsed unconscious at the breakfast table. David was first attended very quickly by an ambulance officer on a motorbike, soon followed by an ambulance vehicle with two paramedics, who took him to Musgrove Park Hospital. Through the kindness of the proprietors who compiled a simple list of directions, I found my way to the hospital, and spent a long and anxious day waiting as David was seen and tested by various medical staff and specialists.
As night fell, David was taken to Intensive Care and I enquired of the sister in charge, could she please recommend somewhere I could try to find accommodation and I’d need some directions to help me get there. She told me to wait and she would come back to me.
To my surprise, two security guards arrived and accompanied me to a little building still in the hospital grounds, unlocked it and showed me to a comfortable room with twin beds already made up, and told me there would only be one other man staying the night in the building, and his wife had cancer. They showed me the bathrooms, kitchen, dining area and lounge room, and explained I could buy food back in the hospital upstairs and microwave it back in the kitchen. The little house and kind treatment were heaven sent! It was a true sanctuary when I was alone, upset and frightened after a traumatic day, and I’d been worried about finding somewhere to stay in an unknown city in the dark, all by myself. Even parking becomes a problem if you don’t know where to go.
The next day a cheerful lady wearing a uniform, introduced herself to me as Yvonne, and when I asked, she kindly found me a hairdryer. I stayed there in that little building for 3 or 4 nights until my husband was discharged. I was also able to wash and dry our clothes there which was another “God send”.
My husband died in February 2019; we were married for 48 years, but I have never forgotten the wonderful medical treatment and great kindness meted out to both of us in great measure from Musgrove Park Hospital and others in Taunton, and how grateful I was to be able to stay in the comfortable and secure accommodation provided by the League of Friends.
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