"Nothing was too much trouble" - Why end-of-life care is so important

Mike, 43 years young, sadly passed away last year from Glioblastoma, which is a brain tumour. There was only 49 days from Mike being diagnosed to him passing away at Huddersfield Royal Infirmary. What was supposed to be a basic eye test turned out to be the worst day of Mikes life. After the eye test, Mike was referred to the hospital for an MRI and other various tests and scans. Unfortunately, the doctors found a tumour growing inside Mikes brain stem. Due to the nature of where it is, the doctors couldn’t take a biopsy, meaning it was hard to know how to treat it.

Unfortunately, Mike’s condition got aggressive. Mike lost the use of the right side of his body almost like he had a stoke just a week after being diagnosed. Mike received radiotherapy for 3 weeks straight, sadly, it didn’t touch the tumour. Mike was rushed into Huddersfield Royal Infirmary on the 17th of August, 47 days after his diagnosis. Mike was admitted to the Major Assessments Unit, who aren’t necessarily prepared for dealing with a young end of life patient. Usually, patients only stay on MAU for a short time before being moved to a relevant ward. Sadly, this was the day in which Mike’s family received the call that they had not been waiting for.

Jonathan, Mike’s brother, said: “I cannot even begin to express the care and compassion Mike received from all the staff on MAU. He got put straight into his own private side room, they also moved a bed next to his so that his husband, Andy, could be by his side. They even cleared out their staff room and made it into a room where we could sleep and rest directly opposite Mike’s room. They sacrificed their room for us and decided to take breaks in the corridor and other places.

“They went to supermarkets in their own time after working 12 hour shifts to buy us supplies out of their own pocket. They could not have done enough for us! We had unlimited access to the room to come and go as we please. Nothing was too much trouble.

“Three hours before Mike passed, I sat and shared a whisky with him, something that will make me smile for the rest of my life. I washed his head and even fanned him for nearly two hours, moments I’ll cherish forever. Then, we sat and snuggled up to watch Netflix whilst he crammed in as much M&S soft dessert he could.

“At 11pm on Friday 18th of August, Mike told us to go and get some rest, I’m sure he knew he was going. We had been there since 2am, we didn’t want to leave but Mike persisted. At 4:48am, on Saturday 19th of August, we got the call from Andy to say that we needed to get back. Mike was gone.

“I cannot express the peaceful way in which my brother passed with loved ones around him, the doctors and nurses made him comfortable and managed his pain medication unbelievably, he was still able to kind of talk and point at things he wanted. He took his last breath with Andy cuddled up by his side. We managed to sit and say goodbye which I didn’t realise how hard it would be.

“Mike was the biggest, brightest, most clever, caring 43-year-old man you could ever meet and had one of the biggest hearts ever. He could be a diva when he wanted to be. He had a passion for the outdoors, was always cycling on his pride and joy or walking for miles with no other intention that just enjoying life.”

Jonathan has decided to walk solidly for 49 hours, an hour for each day Mike had to deal with this terrible illness. Also, to understand what it’s like for an NHS worker to be constantly on their feet all day. So not only in remembrance of Mike, but to say thanks to the NHS workers at Huddersfield Royal Infirmary for looking after Mike.

Jonathan said: “A lot of people don’t realise that hospitals like Calderdale and Huddersfield need generosity and donations, we need to look after them. We all have our struggles and trauma, and this is mine. It would be great to give back for all the amazing care received, I don’t have a limit and if you can give just £1, I will be forever grateful.

“Porters, cleaners, shop workers, nurses, doctors, specialists, even those who work residential, out in our community. You are all worth your weight in gold!”

CHFT Charity would like to wish Jonathon a special good luck for this hike. Visit Crowdfunding to Calderale and Huddersfield general hospital. MAU on JustGiving to donate.