Archive for May 17th, 2005

Day 20 – Tuesday 17th May

I am going to sound like a parrot (no jokes about polly parrot plz), but a truly excellent day.

Karen HAD the op today !!!! She went in at 9.30am and came out 5hours 15 mins later. This operation was the biggest hurdle Karen will face that we know of and it is one we were told she had a 50/50 chance of surviving. She took those odds, spat at them and kicked them out of the hospital window.

Having now read the surgeon’s report, there was only really one thing I (as a layman) could understand and that was this….


Click on photo to enlarge
So, it sounds like Karen’s insides were all to pot. Anyway, she stormed it :-)

Go Karen Go (dp waving like a girly cheerleader).

I am so proud of her and told her.

The day wasn’t without hitches however. Are they ever ? The remainder of this weblog is probably not of interest to most readers, but is being recorded so I don’t get a complete rollocking off Karen.

The day started off with me in a field walking the dogs when a phonecall came through from the hospital (8.30am). Bear in mind, we all thought the op was probably tomorrow, but maybe this afternoon.

“Mr Pollard. It is Nurse X from the hospital. Just to let you know that Karen is going to the theatre at 9am”

I was f++king livid at first. All the family wanted to be there for an hour with Karen before she went in for the op, partly for her sake and partly so we could say some meaningful things in case the worse happened. We had all made arrangements to allow us to be there first thing. Adele with the kids, me with the dogs etc etc… There was no way I or the Middlesbrough crowd could get there in 30 mins.

What made it worse is that the nurse said Karen had asked for me to be by her bedside. TOTALLY understandable, but I felt like I was letting her down by not being there. We had specifically told nurses to let us know if there was any change in the plan. 30 mins notice ain’t enough.

I told the nurse how livid I was and that I would be taking this further. I then put the phone down and phoned family to let them know.

Dogs back on lead and me on a fast pace for home, I then phoned the nurse back and insisted I speak to karen on the phone before the op. Her english wasn’t too good, and she was struggling to convey the fact that the phone wouldn’t reach. I told the nurse to tell Karen that I love her very much and I wanted to be there, but I have only just found out etc etc….

I hope she got this message. I will find out over the next few days.

When I got back to the house, Jane (the rock) phoned me and I started getting very upset about the fact that I hadn’t been able to be there for her, comfort her and if this was the last thing she will remember (ie that I wasn’t there for), I will f++king take this to the top or something like that.

Anyway. When I got to the hospital, Karen was in theatre, so I asked to speak to someone senior and a nurse coordinator came out. He took me to the interview room. I took with me the visitors handbook (which I had read a few times). I was very calm + polite and to the point .

The book asked that as part of the relationship between hospital and carers that we provide a single spokesperson to spread the news about the patient so the hospital is not bombarded with phonecalls. Marie is kindly taking care of all family news dissemination.

I explained that we were doing our bit but that the hospital was not meeting their obligation (as stated in their own Intensive Care Unit handbook), namely :-

A-They would have meetings with us to explain the patient’s condition etc when we first arrived (NEVER HAPPENED)
B-They would keep us informed of key information as it unfolded (NEVER HAPPENED).

In fact, we have asked to see the main consultant (Mr Cross) on AT LEAST 2 occasions and he hasn’t seen us yet. NOT ONLY THAT, after the operation I asked to see him again so we could find out what happened in the operation and what Karen’s condition was. We were greeted by “He can’t see you until Thursday”. He may be shit hot at fixing pelvises, but I think that his and the hospital’s communication is ABYSMAL!

Mr Nanu will ring me on my mobile tomorrow to let us know how kp is. Great ! :( Let’s stew for a night wondering if Karen’s pelvis is fixed or not. The consultants at this hospital really let it down ! The nurses and doctors are great but the consultants seem to have their heads up their arses. (That feels better !).


The anaesthetist did come in however and was very nice and of course, he knew bits and bobs but didn’t want to say too much because it wasn’t his area.

Here’s what we gleamed :-

It sounds like Karen WON’T need a further pelvis op.
Her Hip and Phema are unfixed.
She didn’t lose much blood in the op (our big worry)
The surgeons (Mr Cross + Mr Nanu I think) couldn’t do everything they wanted to do because kp’s pelvis showed signs of infection in the outer covering tissue, but they had left it in a situation they are happy with.

Now if you were Karen or me, would you be happy with that half full pot of information ?


Karen had a high temperature from the op. 40.8. She was still sedated, eyes open at times, but she was effectively oblivious to her condition.

The nurse was concerned that if it went higher we may have problems.

I stayed until about 8.15pm when the temperature had dropped to 38.5. Still high, but the paracetamol and the cooling blanket were bringing it under control.

The sedation was reduced and kp (back on full ventilation) was mouthing things. It is getting easier to understand most of the things she says, and I worked out she was hot, and wanted her feet and head cooling. Florence (dp) Nightingale was on hand with cold presses :)

The complaint made about shitty communication had clearly gotten round and the doctors,nurses couldn’t do enough for us about getting good communication lines in place. The nurses and doctors are superb. They are only let down by the consultants who are obviously too important to talk to relatives. Sorry about the rant, but thats how I feel.

I will be very pleased when Karen gets back to Gateshead (hopefully tomorrow) if she becomes stable.

Not much else to tell.

I would just like to take a quick moment to thank a few people.

Jane for being such a rock (she will kill me for thanking her)
Tony (for loan of Jane)
Marie for being Communication/Catering Manager and being such a dedicated communication channel to the hospital.
Michelle and Adele (sister/niece) for bringing levity/fun/care to this situation.
Eileen for looking after the dogs and
Nigel for sending occasional texts on my behalf


kp’s biggest obstacle is behind her. She has many more to come :-

Fat Embelli
Back of Head (needs op)
Nails (she broke one in theatre, she will be very angry about this)
I am sure there are more, but I am knackered and can’t think straight.

Just remembered one extra thing. We found out Angela (also in the crash) was in the next ward up. I visited her and it was great to see Neil and Angela in top form. Angela is braving her shattered pelvis and 9 broken ribs in excellent form. She got upset about karen and would dearly love to see her, but she is bedridden for 6 weeks at least to allow her pelvis to mend (she had her op last week).

Keep up the good work Karen.

I am so proud of you !


PS – thanks to Nigel (my best friend) for hosting Karen’s voice recording of her thanking people for the support

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