Caring for People in Harrow & Brent

“Being at St Luke’s was the very best thing that could have ever have happened for Adrian”

Jacque Kugler recently spoke to us about why she feels St Luke’s was the best place for her ex-husband, Adrian, to be when he passed away in the Hospice in May 2019.

“We first found out that Adrian was ill just 6 weeks before he died. We didn’t know what was wrong with him but we knew that something wasn’t right. He was a gardener, and physically very fit and yet all of a sudden he couldn’t turn corners very well and struggled getting upstairs to his flat. It was bizarre. Our daughter noticed he was eating in a strange manner too. He had begun to shovel his food in quickly and that just wasn’t like him. He was a food connoisseur, a slow and thoughtful eater savouring each morsel. I also noticed his beautiful handwriting had degenerated into a scratchy and untidy script.

Given all this I took him to an emergency GP appointment. The doctor had him do a number of tests, and he giggled and was embarrassed when he couldn’t walk in a straight line. He was also tested at St Mary’s hospital in Paddington where they asked him if he recognised four famous people. He struggled with David Beckham, but when he came to Donald Trump, a person he despised he hesitated, he couldn’t conjure up the name but out came an expletive! The hospital initially thought he had rapid onset dementia. However, they diagnosed him with lung cancer that had spread to his liver and his brain – hence the unusual behaviours. Six weeks later he passed away.

I took him home for Easter as his short term memory was failing and he kept waking up in the hospital in distress not knowing where he was. His fiancé flew back from Germany and we both looked after him for two weeks but then he deteriorated rapidly and became a danger to himself, making his care difficult. I contacted St Luke’s because I know how lovely it is. I knew he would love the garden. They gave him the best room in the Hospice, the one surrounded by their beautiful Wisteria which was in full bloom and had a heavenly scent. I remember the glorious sunshine and him with his sunglasses out on his patio.

I arranged for Adrian and his fiancé to marry the day after he was given his room at the Hospice. The staff went above and beyond and decorated his room with the Hospice chef making a wedding cake for them.

His bedroom had a spare bed where his fiancé was able to stay so he was never, ever alone. Alan, the Sound Therapist, kindly came and sang to Adrian with this guitar the first week we arrived. Being allowed to stay and sleep in the room with Adrian made the two weeks bearable for his fiancé. Unprompted, the staff offered her massages knowing it was an emotionally demanding time. Everyone at St Luke’s was so lovely. The Hospice helped with everything for Adrian, they bathed and changed him. Everyone was so kind and thoughtful. They saw us as a family unit and just let us just be. They took a shine to Adrian, and nothing was too much trouble to do for us. Being at St Luke’s was the best thing that could ever have happened for Adrian.

People have a fear of Hospices; death is still such a taboo subject, but St Luke’s is a beautiful place to spend your last days. You are treated with the utmost dignity and respect by all the staff. If I had the choice, St Luke’s is where I would want to die, safe, loved and well cared for.

One day someone you love might need this beautiful end to their life where kindness is key. That’s why everyone should support the Hospice. I am still able to show my support by playing St Luke’s Lottery, one for me and our daughter. I was lucky enough to win £1000 within a few months of playing. Buy a Christmas Lotto subscription for family and friends –it is a win win for everyone!”

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