Archive for May 19th, 2005

Day 22 – Thursday 19th May – Part One

Got a phonecall this morning from one of the nurses at Sunderland to say that Mr Cross (consultant) had been round and given kp the ok to be moved to Gateshead. Everything with the operation looked great on x-ray. He will also see me at 2pm today to go through things in more detail :-)

kp is due to be moved before 12pm. We will be very pleased when she is back at Gateshead.

Day 22 – Thursday 19th May – Part Two

Karen was indeed moved to Gateshead late morning and was knackered. She was tried on the voice box but was too tired and couldn’t speak and apparently was struggling for breath, so she was took off it.

I saw the consultant : a man who commands a lot of bowing and curtseying from fellow colleagues. It felt like going to see the head consultant out of the “Carry On” films. This man had little time to give (not so much through rudeness) but the demands on his time. He is obviously a whizz at what he does and I am grateful for what he did for Karen, but at the same time, I can’t help but think he needs to do more of the “consult”ing side of things. Perhaps thats a general NHS problem.

Anyway….he’s done his bit and here’s what he did :-

He explained that he was just a technician who bolted karens pelvis together with 2 pins (either side) and a back plate. He would have liked to have fitted a bigger back plate, but there was too much infection around the pelvis, probably caused (he thought) from damage to kp’s bladder. He is happy with what he has done however. If he had been able to fit a bigger back plate kp would have been able to sit upright straight away. The smaller back plate means kp will be bedridden for 6-10 weeks (time needed for the pelvis to heal).

I asked about the dislocated hip, broken phema etc… He wanted to bolt that together also but the anaesthetist wouldn’t allow any more time under sedation. This was not a concern to him though because the alignment of the hip and phema were such that they should heal themselves in time. He did say that there was some broken hip bone loose between the pelvis and the hip and that this would need removing at a later stage. He also mentioned that kp would need a hip replacement in the medium term, but that this wasn’t urgent.

He went on to say the pelvis isn’t what would stop kp walking. It was the stroke that would do that. And to add more of a complication, he said it was unfortunate that karen’s hip problems were on the opposite side (rhs) to the stroke (lhs). This kinda makes sense. Karen can move her right leg but this is the hip with the problem. Poor kp :-(

Here are some excerpts from the various medical records….

Karen’s hip was set to be stable, which means she can start some more action-packed physio……

1905_F_report on kps condition - is hip unstable.jpg

Click on photo to enlarge

The last sentence of that excerpt hints at a bone fragment around the bladder neck. In trying to deal with this the surgeon had nicked Karen’s bladder with his scalpel.

Done well while with us. During surgery, they found a pelvic collection which has grown e.coli, so they did the least invasive surgery possible. Mr X is pleased with fixation. She may sit up in bed and should probably soon sit out in a chair. During surgery, the bladder was nicked.

Because of this, kp’s bladder needed to be constantly draining.


Click on photo to enlarge

Communication-wise, kp was still coping with the speaking valve and writing….


Click on photo to enlarge

We also learned today that Karen Lews who was in the next bed to Karen had died yesterday. We had got close to her family over the past week. She was also a big Donny Osmond fan and was going to the same concert as Karen in September. Very Sad.

Karen was exhausted today. She had not enjoyed the ambulance ride (she wasn’t sedated for it this time) and she was frightened whenever the ambulance went over a bump.

She slept most of the afternoon.

Early evening onwards she started to pick up a little, but still didn’t want the voice box on. She insisted on mouthing things. We weren’t very good at lip-reading so she asked for a pen. Last time she tried this, it was upsetting to see her attempt to write, as it ended up she was writing one letter over the previous 5 letters. Today she was better. We could pick out the occasional words. She wanted an ice lolly. Marie promptly performed her catering duties and went to the shop for an ice lolly (with ice cream in the middle) and kp went about devouring the outer ice lolly coating. She even held the lolly herself once or twice, but when she tried to put it in her mouth she kept hitting the tube coming out of her nose and wondered why she couldn’t hit her mouth :-)

Assistance was promptly given.

She then felt sick, so was given anti-sickness drugs. It stayed down :-)

She did make us laugh again today. When she was eating her ice cream lolly, one of the nurses (Vicky) said “Where’s mine ?”. Karen mouthed “Shop”


We all chuckled.

Marie left as her lift had arrived and kp and I spent some time together alone. This time got quite upsetting. kp was still mouthing everything or writing things down. It got to end of visiting (8pm) and the conversation went something like this (kp mouthing) :-

dp: -I have to go now
kp:- I’m coming with you
dp:- You can’t come love.
kp:- I AM coming !

I was getting upset inside at this point, but wasn’t showing it.

dp:- You can’t leave the hospital until you can breath for yourself, eat, drink, and get off the bed yourself.

kp then put her right arm around my shoulder and started lifting herself off the bed. She got about 1 inch off the bed (she is VERY weak) and fell back.

She mouthed something else which I couldn’t understand so then she wrote “I am coming home tonight. Its ok” or something along those lines.

I sniggered. (I wish I hadn’t, and I feel very guilty, but if you saw her you would just know she can’t go anywhere).

dp: I am sorry love but you can’t leave hospital.

She mouthed “Shut Up”.

This banter kept on for a while, until I said “Do you want the voice gadget fitted ?”

She nodded

The nurses deflated the cuff and put the voice thing on.

Karen’s voice then came out and it was unlike I had ever heard from karen. It was soft, sad, mellow, and angelic. I could tell she was upset straight away. The voice had no volume (because of her tiredness), but the words were crisp and easily understood.

kp: I want to come home.

Well that was too much for me and despite me vowing to myself never to cry in front of her in hospital, both eyes welled up instantly and tears rolled down my cheeks.

dp: I want you to come home as well love and one day it will happen, but it won’t be today.
kp: Why not ?
dp: Because you’re not strong enough and you need these machines to breath for you, you need to be able to eat, drink, and it needs to pass through your system and you have to be strong enough to get off the bed.
kp: I am coming home tonight.

The nurse could see we were both upset and she came over and told Karen why she couldn’t leave the hospital tonight. Karen tutted with her eyebrows. Hearing it from a nurse seems to bring the reality of it to Karen.

I stayed until about 9.15pm (1hr 15mins past visiting) with the nurses consent.

She was only on the voice box for about 10 mins. By the time I left, I knew she was VERY unhappy about her predicament, but I think she had accepted that she wasn’t going home with me tonight. I was still very upset but could hold it back until I got out of view.

Karen generally isn’t being the Karen I know. She will smile and wave at nurses as they come and go. She was “over the moon” to see Tony (Jane’s husband) but whenever I enter or leave there is no fuss, no wave of the hand. I KNOW she loves me deeply, but I don’t understand why its me who has to wave frantically to get a little wave of the fingers or its me who has to say “give me a kiss” to get her to purse her lips for a kiss. Or its me who has to say “Do you love me ?” to get her to say “I love you”. How XXXXing selfish am I ! It’s just strange. I know she loves me, but she is not showing her usual love to me and it upsets me.

I know from a phonecall with Marie that Karen (as of 10:45pm) is asleep and settled. So I am pleased about that.

I love you Karen and I know you love me.

See you tomorrow


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