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31 Jan 2020 Personal Stories

Paul’s musical therapy at Kirkwood

When 71-year-old Paul Lucker arrived at Kirkwood for help with his pain, he was anxious about what to expect. But with a little help from the Kirkwood team, and being given the chance to play his favourite musical instrument, his fears were soon put at ease.

Originally from London, but having lived in and around the Kirklees area for many years, Paul has been involved in lots of overseas community projects over the years, putting his skills to use to help those less fortunate.

Paul spent 50 wonderful years with his wife, Leny. The couple were married in 1971 and had four children together – four amazing children who Paul talks of with huge pride. Paul and Leny were dedicated to one another throughout their marriage, and shared the trials and tribulations of life together.

In November 2018, Paul and Leny shared the pain of both being diagnosed with an incurable form of cancer together. Tragically, Leny died in June last year.

Seven weeks ago, Paul underwent a procedure to help with his condition. He didn’t feel well enough to go back to his own home afterwards. Kirkwood Community Nurse, Kathryn Mannings, stepped in to support Paul and his family to get everything in place so he could live with his son Richard.

“Since my procedure, I have been living with my son, Richard, and daughter-in-law, Penny, who have been doing a wonderful job of looking after me.

“Before I moved in, Kirkwood Nurse, Kathryn, helped to arrange everything I needed at Richard’s including a bed and other equipment.”

In the weeks following his procedure, Paul began to suffer from excruciating pain. When he spoke with Kathryn, she suggested spending some time on Kirkwood’s In-Patient Unit.

Paul said: “The pain attacks were unbearable; my son Richard always comforted me.

“I felt like life was not worth living, I had no quality of life and I felt like a burden.

“When Kathryn suggested that I spend some time on Kirkwood’s In-Patient Unit, I initially felt anxious. People just assume that you go there to die.

“But since being at Kirkwood, I’ve realised it’s not just a place where people die. Kirkwood has such beautiful surroundings.

“I can have stimulating conversations with the Kirkwood team, who are all lovely and friendly. I’ve had Jacuzzi baths, and the food is great too; I just feel free to do as I please.”

 Paul, pictured with Kirkwood's Nurse, Megan 

 

During one of Paul’s conversation with the Kirkwood team, he spoke about his love for music and piano and how much he enjoyed playing.

“I didn’t think Kirkwood would have a piano.” Paul explained. “When I found out that they did I was so pleased.

“I used to play voluntarily in care homes and have also played at Overgate Hospice in Calderdale.”

The Kirkwood team’s goal is to help people focus on what’s important to them personally and help them to live the best quality of life possible.

It meant a lot for Paul to be able to play his favourite musical instrument again.

“It is brilliant for me. It has been so nice to be able to play the piano. Music and piano is so important.

“Sometimes I play one or two songs, but when I feel well enough, I will play for longer.

Paul’s playing has proved so popular that lots of people have been popping in to listen. And when his friends came up from Leicester to pay a visit, the group all gathered together to listen.

 

“Being able to play the piano distracts me from the pain. It is so uplifting to see that my piano playing can give pleasure to others.

“I have also been able to engage with other patients and relatives visiting the Hospice.”

The week before Paul was admitted, he was feeling restless and struggling with his pain.

“My pain management is improving and is more stabilised. I feel better in myself and I am able to eat solids again.

“Since being at the Hospice, my condition has changed and they have been able to adapt to this accordingly.”

Despite his illness, Paul is still getting involved in overseas missions, and is currently looking forward to being involved in a project which is helping to build homes to support displaced and disadvantaged women and children in Ethiopia.

“My friend, John, is going to Ethiopia in March and he will be Facetiming me whilst he is there so I can still feel a part of the project and see the area that we are helping.

“This project is motivating me and has given me a focus to keep going.”

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