Day 15 – Thursday 12th May 2005

What a cracking day. Karen is on a normal bed. Her face swelling is greatly reduced. She’s been opening her eyes a lot (when she is not tired). For the past few days, Karen has been trying to tell us things. She no longer has the mouth ventilation (she is on tracheostomy ventilation) so her lips are free to move. The stroke means only one side of her mouth moves, but she is desperately trying to tell us things but its very hard to work out what she is trying to say as no air comes out of her mouth, so its a major lip-reading challenge.


Click on photo to enlarge

You can tell she is frustrated because she does a tutting motion.

Marie got upset one time in front of Karen (something we all tried not to do) because she was getting so upset for Karen and her frustration. I did the same once, but managed to avert her eyes (as someone else was there to distract her). These were the worst times in some ways. At least when she was sedated, she wasn’t getting upset and frustrated.

We have a stroke chart with letters but she is too weak to point to the letters, and the hand that she has movement in is the one on the end of her broken arm.

So, we would point to the letters and get her to stick her tongue out when we were on the right letter. This takes forever and tires Karen out. We never got past letter 3 of a word, and we would end up spelling something like “GEZ”. We never managed to work out what she wanted from this chart.


Karen was doing very well on the ventilator (down to 35% oxygen mix), so we asked if they could put the speech gadget on and deflate the cuff that stops air passing past the vocal chords. They had to empty her stomach first as we couldn’t risk her vomiting and breathing down the vomit. They deflated the cuff, and it took a while for Karen to get used to the sensation of air passing over her vocal chords. But then bit by bit we could hear VERY faint words. I was on the wrong side of the bed and couldn’t run quick around to put my ear right up to her mouth.

“Where is the toilet?” (very very quiet)

I explained she didn’t need to worry about that. There are tubes and things taking care of that !

I didn’t realise that they had still to fit another gadget to the ventilator to make more air pass over her vocal chords.

When they fitted that, Karen could talk and WOW – it was marvellous. I can’t recall what else she said, I was too elated.

I think I asked if she was in pain, is she fed up and some other dumb questions.

It was just great to hear that Karen was still Karen. There was a lot of visitor changing in 10 minutes so everyone could hear her speak.

She soon got tired and fell asleep and they inflated the cuff and the voice stopped.

A Cracking day. From the “crying bins” outside the hospital where we would bawl like babies in such sadness thinking kp wouldn’t live through the night to Karen in a normal bed, colour in her cheeks (something she never had when she was well !) to Karen conscious and speaking – words can’t describe the feeling of elation.

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