Archive for June, 2005

Day 34 – Wednesday 1st June – Part One

The best day so far

I got a phonecall at 9am from kp.

kp:- Guess where I have been all night ?
dp:- Where ?
kp:- Fast Asleep

Karen had had, for the first time, a good night’s sleep. I think it was a combination of the pain relief patch and an exhausting day yesterday. She said the nurses had told her this morning that every time they checked in on her on the night, she was asleep.

Her good night’s sleep was obvious when I went in at 12.30pm. She was full of life and had just finished a physio session without too much discomfort.

Jane is a 1950′s film star
Jane visited this afternoon and had us all in stitches. Karen was holding her belly like I have never seen before. If she had still had stitches and staples in, they would have surely popped out.

She was doing impressions of 1950′s film stars, with their posh accents, terms like “Scamp and Ginger the dog” and her impression of a war-time tailgunner. Don’t ask.

Cards, Cards & More Cards
Karen has probably 70+ “Get Well” cards on one wall and pictures of family/friends on the other wall. The nurses are forever commenting on how many cards she has. Today it was the turn of some visitors who were passing kp’s room. They went past, did a double-take and came back and said something like “Someone’s popular”. They then went to get other family members to have a look. :-)

Thanks everyone for sending them.

I only stayed a couple of hours and left Marie, Yvonne and Jane looking after kp. As I was left, she was getting all her wounds redressed.

Today, Marie has done the morning shift, Yvonne is doing the afternoon and I am back on the evening shift. Jane is performing her role as transport/entertainment manager.

Thanks all of you !


Day 34 – Wednesday 1st June – Part Two

Not much to report from the evening shift, but Yvonne had an eventful and upsetting time with kp on the afternoon shift. The “special” chair has finally arrived.

Thanks for all the cards by the way !!!

Karen was put in the chair “for an hour”. After an hour she was very uncomfortable and was keen to get back into bed. Yvonne called for assistance to get her back into bed on 3 occasions and it took a farther hour to gather the 5 nurses required to get her from the chair back to the bed. Karen was very upset and in a lot of pain. She has lost confidence in the nurses and will not be going back in the chair unless they can guarantee they will get her back into bed after an hour. Quite Rightly So !!! Let’s see if we can pin them down to this tomorrow.


Karen had been keen to see her nephew Chris. She had heard that he visited when she was sedated and critically ill in the rotating bed, but he got upset and had to leave the Intensive Care Unit.

Chris and Karen were pleased to see each other and exchanged kisses and handholds which is not something Karen does very often !!

She looked 100 times better than when Chris last saw her. David (Yvonne’s husband) brought Chris up.

Picture of Chris (left) and Dave (right).
(For all the fellas out there, David isn’t gay and is happily married)

After the family left, kp + I spent some nice private time together, but she was quite tired and wanted to get into a comfy position for sleep. I sorted that and then positioned water and the buzzer for during the night.

And left her to dream…………


PS – Got a bizarre message from my mum when I got home. It went something like this :-

Mum :- Been speaking to a friend who has been reading the blog and she says a man has found a cure for MRSA and it is for sale in ASDA.

This seems surreal, but I feel sure she has not been on the bottle. I will ring you tomorrow Mum ! Thanks to the friend who found this !!! :-)

Final Photo – This is Karen about a week ago in the Intensive Care Unit, dancing (with her hands) to some 70′s music

Marie, Michelle + kp (sisters)

Day 35 – Thursday 2nd June – Part One

Karen had another good night’s sleep but was very tired and groggy this morning. She didn’t want breakfast and no amount of coaxing would get any food down her. She didn’t want the buildup drink the nurse provided in place of breakfast.

She feels light-headed when we turn her and I really feel she needs to be eating more. I tried persuading her, but you don’t mess with kp when she is well, and you definately don’t argue with her when she looks like a tired Wee Willy Winkie.

Phoned the police for an update. They are going to be questioning the man involved over the next few days.

An uneventful morning.

The fun started to happen as I left at lunchtime. Marie, Jane, Yvonne and Debs arrived and the laughter began. Shame I had to leave, but I have an overdraft with the Bank of Sleep at the moment and need to catch up.

Maybe more to post later when I return on the evening shift and hear all the gossip.

Day 35 – Thursday 2nd June – Part Two

It sounds like Karen didn’t stay awake much after I left and was asleep most of the day.

When I arrived, Ethan (Karen’s Great-Nephew) and Michelle were eating off the hospital eating tables (the ones that slide over the beds). Yvonne was in “Nurse” mode.

When I said “Hi” to Ethan and got a hug, kp opened her eyes briefly, saw me, then fell back to sleep again.

About 10 minutes later, she awoke for a little chat to Ethan, but I could tell it was taking a lot of effort to put on a face for him. She was in pain, despite the Fentanol Patch. I asked kp if she wanted more pain relief and she did, so the nurse gave us 2 Tramadol to give to her.

Ethan (8 years old) was pleased to see Karen and vice versa, but I think he was a bit wary of seeing kp in a hospital bed, very quiet and not her normal self. He was more keen to see my motorbike.

When Michelle, Yvonne, Ethan and Dave (heterosexual taximan) left, kp continued to sleep until her next visitors arrived (relatives Stacey, Marlene and Celia). Stacey is a nurse and she filled us in on good practice and what they should and shouldn’t be doing. kp had a temperature this morning (38`C) and they hadn’t checked the temperature all day, which they should have done if her last reading showed a temperature. They should have also took blood cultures. I am not sure if they did this or not.

Interestingly, Stacey said that the Fentanol Patch is a morphine derivative. So that could explain her grogginess for the past 24/36 hours. kp didn’t have too many smiles for Stacey and Co. but I KNOW this is just down to her current state.

I left shortly after Stacey’s Clan, kp was finding it very hard to stay awake.

One of the last thing’s she said to me were that she hoped she had a better day tomorrow. Me too love, me too……………

Day 35 – Thursday 2nd June – Addendum

There’s a couple of things I forgot to mention about yesterday. I can only remember one of them. :-(

The one I can remember relates to a visit we had from Karen Lax’s husband and daughter. Karen Lax was next to Karen in the Intensive Care Unit. She was a little older than Karen but similar in many ways, very loving husband and family, big Donny Osmond Fan and you might recall both Karen’s were due to see Donny Osmond in concert in September 2005.

We got quite close to the family and enjoyed hearing each other’s progress.

Sadly, Karen Lax died in Intensive Care. Marie arranged for a card to be sent to the family to say how sorry we are that Karen didn’t make it. Today, Karen’s husband and daughter came in to see how Karen was doing, which was so nice of them. Karen’s husband was understandably still upset and this made the visit so much more special. Thank you !!!

They brought with them a card and a Donny Osmond photo that Karen Lax had. This is now on Karen’s wall.

Thank you.

You are all in our thoughts.

Day 36 – Friday 3rd June

Not too much to report today. Marie was on the early and she reported that the consultant, dietician and tissue viability nurse had been in.

The dietician, aware that kp enjoyed soups, had advised that if kp wasn’t eating very much she could have buildup soups. Nutrional soups by Nestle with additional vitamins etc…

The consultant didn’t say much of note.

The tissue viability nurse had advised that kp’s head wound needed redressing and swabbing. Ditto for her groin wounds where the X-Fix was that kept her pelvis together in the early stages. I have seen all of these wounds. The head wound (at the back) is a big head wound and is looking a lot healthier that in the early days when it was one green mass. It is like a big crater, probably 10cm x 10cm, but is now showing signs of healing. I don’t think she will need surgery on this now. This needs daily redressing as it weeps a lot.

Her wounds where they inserted the metal rods for the X-fix are deep. You could probably put your finger in and if you pushed hard enough see it coming out of the other side of her body. So far, I have resisted the temptation. But I get bored easily, so expect a photo soon of me passing a piece of string through kp’s front, coming out of the back of her body.

That will be pay-per-view only ! ;-)

The head wound is still infected with MRSA and we still have to go through the rigmarole of barrier nursing (gown and gloves) which is frankly a pain-in-the-$rse. Mum’s cream arrived in the post today (the MRSA cure). I asked the nurse if we could apply it, and she said she would look into it. She hadn’t heard of it, but when I left tonight she was busy researching it on t’internet.

Veronica (kp’s friend from London) arrived today. She had been dying to see kp for ages, but couldn’t because of infection control in ICU. Also, Mark (from Southampton) and Margaret from Middlesbrough visited. kp was pleased to see all of them, but was too tired for any conversations of note. Poor Tracy and Lee (kp’s workmates) also visited, but kp hardly woke up at all during their visit. I am sure it is nothing personal Lee and Tracy ! :-)

kp has been in a LOT of pain today. She had a physio session this morning and was in tears this afternoon with the pain left from the physio.

She had 2 Tramadol for the pain and tonight had a double-dosage Fentanol Patch put on (double the dose of the last one).

This seemed to ease things.

When everyone left, kp was kn+ckered and was boiling hot, so I gave her a bedbath which exhausted her further, changed her nightie, sheets etc…with the help of a nurse and I left her very settled.

She should sleep like a baby because of the tiring day and the drugs she took before I left.

Let’s end with a vaguely humourous moment. Tommy and Eileen (our wonderful neighbours) lost Tommy’s mum last week, yesterday was the funeral. Eileen has been brilliant and has been letting the dogs out for us. Well, yesterday, I came home during the middle of the mam’s wake, and Eileen rushed to the fence to give me some food from the gathering. I am not a fan of cakes, so took the cake in to Karen to see if she might like it with a cup of tea.

Shortly after I arrived, I said to Karen :-

dp:- Karen, do you fancy a bit of cake from Tommy’s Mam’s wake ?

Veronica just laughed and commented on how appetising that sounded ?!

It was funny at the time.

Day 37 – Saturday 4th June – Part One

Awful Night
Karen had an awful night. She had a temperature of 39′C. She was sweating so much they had to put her back on an intravenous drip of saline. Generally a very uncomfortable night.

When I arrived (8am), she was ringing wet through. I kissed her on her forehead and it was just moisture. Her sheets had so much sweat on them they were soaking. First Job was a bedbath. I asked one of the nurses to give me a hand, but in the end 2 of them came in and did it. They changed the sheets and her nighty and she felt and looked so much better after the wash. Her temperature was down to 36.6′C.

She has an infection and until the bedbath they were unsure of where it was, but it was clear after the bedbath that she has an infection where the staples were that run from the left to the right hand side of her body at the bottom of her belly. This was swabbed to see what kind of infection it is. She is on multiple anti-biotics to sort it out. We also took the opportunity to use Mum’s MRSA lotion (Ultra). We couldn’t use it on any of the wounds, but we could use it on her legs and arms.

The fan we had been using to keep kp cool had broken. We aren’t allowed mains-powered fans for some reason (they spread the germs), but they don’t seem to mind the little hand fans. I phoned Ronnie and asked if she could get a new fan.

No Breakfast
She didn’t feel like any breakfast because she still felt hot and bothered.

The Sleep
After the bedbath and getting into a nice comfy position, kp fell asleep. I was a bit tired myself so I pulled up the chair bed and got it into a prone position and hopped on with a pillow and pulled it up to Karen’s bed at the same height to form a double bed. As I did so, I banged kp’s bed. Normally any banging like this gets a “tut”, but when kp saw what I was doing (effectively lying next to her to sleep), she smiled :-)

Occasionally I would open my eyes and check she was ok. For a lot of the time she was asleep, her eyelids were open. It was very weird. She was kind of looking into space (in each eye to a different part of space also). I will mention this to a nurse.

After out joint snooze, the tealady came round and offered kp some tea. She got a big beaker of tea, and kp and I shared it out into 2 cups.

kp:- Let’s have elevenses
dp:- Do you fancy some Maltesers and Minstrels ?
kp:- Yes please

Wahey. Karen normally turns chocolate down. But she was up for a cup of tea with hubby and some chocolate (courtesty of Lee + Tracy, yesterday’s visitors). That was nice :-)

Her drip was then replaced with one that provided a higher supplement of Potassium.

We had another snooze until Ronnie, Michelle and Adele arrived at lunchtime. They brought with them 3 mini-fans all of which sound like a plane taking off. kp wasn’t keen to keep one switched on ‘cos of the noise.

Ronnie, Michelle and Adele helped me get Karen into a nice sitting-up position when I made a real blunder causing kp a lot of pain. :-(

Before you move kp, you need to take the slack out of the sheets and I did this fine, until I came to the head. I pulled the sheet like I would normally do, but in doing so, I moved the pillow which must have scraped kp’s head wound. It hurt a lot. Sorry Love :-(

I am back at 6pm. No more pain love I promise.

Day 37 – Saturday 4th June – Part Two

kp was uncomfortable but had a generally settled evening. She had half a bowl of vegetable soup with a quarter of a bread bun that Glenn got from the hospital cafe.

She slept most of the evening while I filled in my Income Support forms from the DSS ;-)

Took me about 1.5 hours at which point she woke up and we did some turns to get her comfy at which point she rewarded me with :-

kp:- You are being so patient
dp:- Thanks Love. I really appreciate that, but I think it is you who is being patient.

Good Old kp.

I gave her the night’s tablets.

Switched off the drip which had just finished.

And left her to sleep……………………

Day 38 – Sunday 5th June

Yvonne was on the early (8am-12pm), Marie on the afternoon shift (12pm-4pm) and I picked up the late (4pm-EyesShut).

kp had an unsettled morning and was sick a couple of times. I don’t think she ate much during the day, and all she had for tea was a bit of soup and one bite of a bread bun. She feels constantly nauseous. We have sussed out why now. She is on a double-dose of Fentanol for the pain and as I mentioned in a previous blog entry, this is morphine based and one of the side-effects of Morphine is constipation and nausea. Marie raised this with the nurses and the Sister called the on-call doctor who was reluctant to change the pain medication and suggested we raise it with the consultants/doctors on their rounds tomorrow.

To alleviate the sickness, kp was given a super-duper anti-sickness drug. It seemed to have done the trick as kp wasn’t sick at all on my watch.

Karen had a conversation with Marie about visitors. For the past few days, kp has been very weak and has struggled to converse with any visitors and certainly we haven’t been laughing much over the last few days because of the problems highlighted above. She has requested less visitors. Karen really enjoyed seeing new faces just a few days ago, but we think it is tiring her out too much in her current state. So……….Please STILL ring Marie if you would like to visit Karen, but don’t be alarmed if the date/time is not in the next day or so.We are going to try and stagger the visitors to a greater degree.

Now, if Karen picks up in the next day or so, this request may change, but for now, the Queen has made her request.

Dad’s Visit
My dad made the 100-mile trip up from Lancashire today. kp was quiet for the most part, but we did have 1 gem. I had given dad an orange to peel for kp, while I degowned and went to get some cold water. Dad, like me, doesn’t go in for foods that need a lot of faff to get to the food itself and doesn’t eat oranges for this reason.

Dad:- Hey kp, if you carry on for the next 5 weeks as you have done for these first 5 weeks, you’ll be doing very well.
kp:- Do you think by then you will have peeled my orange ?

Dad only stayed about 1.5 hours because Karen was very tired.

dp snooze with kp
Like previous days, there was a time in the afternoon where kp was sleeping and I pulled up the chair bed, raised it to kp’s height and had a snooze myself (virtually alongside kp).

When we both awoke, kp said that the nurses had said next time they catch me snoozing on the chairbed, they would come in and put a wee-willy-winky nightcap on me.

After our snooze, kp + I had a really good chat for a couple of hours. We shared some tender moments, some nice hugs and just generally had a nice time.

Bowel Problems
kp has had problems with bowel movements for the past 5 days. Given the amount she has been eating, this isn’t altogether surprising, but she feels like she needs to go, but can’t. So, tonight the nurses took action and gave kp an enema and when that didn’t work a suppository. Within an hour, we had some success and for kp, some relief.

I gave kp her nighttime tablets and her Tamazepam and then it was time to go for the night………

Back at 8am.


Day 39 – Monday 6th June – Part One

Patient Suffering
At the request of the hospital, an excerpt has been removed from this blog entry relating to another patient who cried out constantly and caused kp (and others) a great deal of distress over the past few days. It was felt it was best to tone the entry down to avoid any distress that this may cause to the family of the woman concerned. The lady died today. Our thoughts are with her husband and family.

Cracking Morning
kp had a good night’s sleep last night. She only woke up a couple of times and was snoozing when I arrived (8am).

She had a good breakfast (by kp’s usual standards). Full glass of milk, whole weetabix, and a quarter of a slice of toast after which she felt a bit sick but wasn’t.

After breakfast, I gave kp a bedbath. I am getting better & quicker at this than my first attempt. The quicker the better as far as kp is concerned, as it really tires her out. My first attempt couldn’t have been worse. I was using the wet wipes to wipe her down, but was doing the armpits before going onto her stomach with the same wet wipe. kp was not amused. Armpits are a separate wet wipe (for anyone out there who wants to do a good bedbath !!) ;-)

I got her into a nice new nightie (freshly laundered by Marie) and she looked great.

Then it was time for a turn to get her comfy before the physios came in.

I have got the turns down to a tee (if I say so myself). But I have a habit of talking through each move as I am doing it. The idea being kp knows what I am going to move next.

kp:- Will you stop telling me everything you are doing ?! You just can’t stay silent can you !

Well, there was a challenge ! So for the rest of the turn maneuvers, I didn’t say a word, and kp started giggling because she knew I was biting my tongue at every maneuver. I had a bit of a giggle myself.

She was right of course. About 5 maneuvers later, I told her my next move.

Doh !

Then 3 physios came in to give kp her workout. The family have been doing all the things they have taught us to do and the physios were pleased with the amount of movement had.

The physios however know how to give pain (all in the best interests of kp of course). Where I would stop a movement at the first “Ow !”. This physio went beyond the first, second and third “Ow !” and held her limb until kp was trying to stop the physio from holding her arm and quietly screaming. They took kp to the brink and she was very nearly in tears when they stopped. But it is all making her better.

They have set a goal for kp that she must get in the chair for lunch and dinner. kp hates the chair because she was kept in it too long on the last occasion. They assured her they would get her out after an hour this time.

After the physios left, it was time for ……….

Wash and Set
The Sister (who is lovely and I would love to name but can’t for reasons stated in earlier blog entries) came in to redress kp’s head wound. The Auxiliary who came in with her (also lovely) suggested washing kp’s hair at the same time. Well, kp loves having her hair washed. 20 minutes later, she had lovely clean looking hair, a redressed head wound and a nice new Wee Willy Winky stocking on the top.

During the wash, the Sister said she felt like “Toni and Guy” (hairdressers) and she went on to add that she wasn’t sure if “Toni and Guy” were male or female. This tickled kp and we got a big smile.

Her head wound is healing very nicely. She has such good healing skin. It is amazing.

kp told me today how much she liked the way I moved her around the bed and that “noone could do it like me”. Thanks kp. Bet she tells everyone that !

Doctor’s Rounds
The doctors/consultants came around at lunchtime. They are going to get the Pain Specialist Nurse in to work out if there is a different form of pain relief that kp can be given that won’t make her sick all the time. They are also going to try kp on yet another type of anti-sickness.

They were pleased with her progress so far.

Sitting in Chair
The physios returned at lunchtime (as promised) and got kp upright in the chair. Within minutes of achieving the position, she was sick. Poor kp. She does look great sat in a chair however.

Marie took over with Michelle and Jane to assist. I’m back at 6pm.

Day 39 – Monday 6th June – Part Two

Good News, Bad Evening
The good news came from Marie over the phone. Karen can read !

The physio had done Karen a timetable of physio for the next week, indicating what she must do at different times of the day. When I arrived for the evening shift, Karen was keen to show off her reading skills. With the aid of Marie holding up the magnifying sheet, Karen read out the physio plan.

kp:- 8am – David must pamper Karen with a bedbath and a massage.
dp:- I don’t think it says that love does it ?!

Nice try ! Smiles all round.

She did read it out correctly after that.

8am – Bedbath + Arm/Leg Exercises
10am – Passive Movement Machine (20mins each leg)
12pm – Get into chair for lunch
1pm – Get out of chair
3pm – Go to Pub. I have forgot the rest.

It’s just what Karen needs and has been asking for – Goals.

The physio is very switched on and is very good for Karen.

I have just remembered something from earlier today. When Karen was moved into the chair (quite a feat, involving lots of bodies), she is moved into it by lying her flat on the bed, sliding her over, and then the chair (in bed position) moves into a chair position. When she was moved into the chair position and sitting upright, she saw herself in the wall mirror for the first time, and the biggest of smiles appeared on her face. It was lovely to see.

This evening wasn’t a good evening however.

kp was sat upright for dinner, but it seems for the past few days, movements like this make her sick, and sure enough, she was. I am getting a dab hand at plucking a sick bowl from nowhere and whisking it in front of her. Unfortunately, tonight, I was that quick I nearly dislocated her jaw as my aim was a bit off. Sorry kp.

The evening continued in much the same way :-(

After the sickness, all Karen could eat was a bite of a breadbun with lurpak on. But it didn’t sit well on her, and she had the most agonising of stomach pains. She was in a lot of discomfort. She felt like she needed a bowel movement, but couldn’t. She was lining me up for an overnight stay as she felt that unwell.

She got a little bit upset and wanted a hug. I obliged.

She is in a bit of a vicious circle at the moment. She can’t eat, because she feels nauseous all the time (despite the new anti-sickness drugs). She can’t have a bowel movement because she hasn’t eaten enough. When she does try to move her bowels, she gets exhausted because she hasn’t eaten enough. We need to break the sickness problem and I think everything will fall into line. New sickness drug tomorrow – fingers crossed. It’s a strong sea-sickness type pill which should alleviate the sickness when she gets moved.

Eventually we found a comfy position and she got an hour’s kip. Then the evening tablets came round (6 of them, but 8 to take because the bigger ones are broken up to make them easier to swallow). She got to tablet 4 and promptly threw up again.

She couldn’t face any more tablets after that.

She eventually had a bowel movement and was exhausted and gagging for sleep. The nurses changed her nighty (which was stained from the weeping wounds where her staples were) and she looked very settled and comfy.

We’ll know tomorrow if she had a good night’s sleep.

Hope so !


PS – Thanks for all the flowers everyone has sent. She received a wonderfully exotic bouquet today from Sue Brady (ex work boss) which cheered her up.

Day 40 – Tuesday 7th June – Part One

Have I got some good news for Karen’s friends and family ! I will come to that in chronological order.

Good Night’s Sleep
Karen had another good night’s sleep and this time it was without Tamazepam, simply because she threw it up. When I say a good night’s sleep, its not what I personally would call a good night’s sleep, but its what kp is happy with. She woke up a few times and was sick a few times, but for Karen that’s a good night apparently. I think the key thing is that she got some good segments of sleep.

Physio’s Timetable
One of the first things I did was to check the timetable of events that we should be following.
8am should have been breakfast followed by a bedbath. Well, no sooner had I sat kp upright for breakfast than she was sick. Of course, she didn’t want breakfast then and passed on it completely. Karen insists I buzz whenever she is sick which I duly did and a lovely auxiliary nurse (J) came in to help her and to arrange some anti-sickness drugs (taken intravenously).

The next thing on the timetable should have a bedbath followed by some physio at 10am, but the movement needed for a bedbath would have caused too much nausea and she was exhausted so the bedbath was postponed.

Instead, I got kp into a nice comfy position and she fell straight asleep. I pulled up my bed (kp’s chairbed) and brought it alongside her bed and went to sleep myself. I was exhausted as well. It sounds pathetic, but visiting really takes it out of me. I didn’t get home until the early hours of this morning, and was up at 6am walking the dogs. I went out like a light. It’s a shame the hospital is so far from home. We slept for about 90 mins-2 hours and completely b+ggered up the timetable but we both felt better for it.

The nurses had been in while we were asleep apparently and left us sleeping. But they returned to do the bedbath and kp really enjoyed it and had a good laugh at the same time. Two of the auxiliary nurses did it as it was felt that 2 of them would be able to do it quicker with less faff for kp. One of them is originally from Sweden (B) and still has a strong Swedish accent (although she does a mean “Way aye man”). The other auxiliary nurse (J) was talking to the Swedish one (sorry about not being able to name the nurses) (both are lovely), and was asking her to pronounce various words knowing full well that her strong Swedish accent makes the words come out strange. J was doing this to keep kp amused. Anyway, they got on to an occasion where J had asked B how she made her hotpot dish she had cooked for her husband. The ingredients she put in included various items and “piss”. Translated into English, this is “peas”, translated into Geordie, this is “peas man” (but her Swedish roots make it difficult to pronounce the “e”).

Well, Karen found this very amusing and I was laughing out loud.

Apologies if that’s not funny thirdhand, but we were in stitches.

The nurses are excellent at bringing some humour into most situations to brighten the day.

Visitor for Karen
Gill (from work) visited kp today and brought some audio books to listen to. Thanks Gill. She arrived at 11am, but because of the skewed timetable she didn’t get to see kp until 11.30am. She stayed a short time because kp was getting tired, but kp really enjoyed seeing Gill and commented afterwards that she enjoyed seeing her.

When Gill left, it was time for the physios and here comes the amazing news.

Physios Visit
The Physio (X) does an excellent job of challenging kp. No Pain, No Gain. All necessary of course !

A funny moment before the good news.

She did all the usual stretches which hurt and then got to this specific one, where she lifted Karen’s left arm (stroke side) in the air. Now this REALLY hurts.

X asked kp to watch her arm go in the air and X counted to 10 whilst holding the arm in the agonising position.

Then she got kp to count. She raised the arm into the painful position and the conversation went like this :-

X:- Now, watch your arm.
X raises kp’s arm
kp:- Ow, Ow, Ow, Owwwwwwwwwww!
X:- Count to 10 Karen
kp:- 4,5,6,7,8,9,10

Nice try love !! We were in stitches at her subtle try at shortening the duration of the pain by missing out some key numbers.

The same thing happened again and this time kp counted from 1 to 10, but really fast ! More laughs. She wasn’t intending to be funny which made it all the more funnier.

kp can read now (as mentioned in yesterday’s blog). She can also tell the time which she wasn’t able to do before, but here’s the fantastic news.

After the physio had done this painful maneuvre a few times, she asked Karen to lift her left arm (stroke side) herself. Sure enough, with X’s guiding hand, kp could lift her arm about 2 inches. FANTASTIC !!!! But it gets better !

X:- How far are you raising your arm ?
kp:- Dunno
X:- Look at your arm and raise it.

kp raised her arm about 2 inches.

X:- How far are you raising your arm ?
kp:- A lot !

Well, we all laughed because it was only a slight raise and we were ecstatic that should could do any raise at all.

The other physio (Y) raised kp’s right arm (the good one) and raised it very high and said that that is “A Lot !”

X then did some more painful maneuvres lasting about 5 minutes and got Karen to watch her left arm and raise it herself again.

Well, Karen raised her arm from the bottom to above her head (with a bit of pain). We were over the moon and spontaneously burst into a round of applause when she did it.

Is my wife a star ? Or is she a STAR !!!! So proud of you love.

kp was chuffed to bits as well. Well done !!!

Doctor’s Rounds
The doctors came round to discuss pain medication. They are going to try some new pain medication and yet some different anti-sickness drugs. She has an E. Coli infection in her water works and unfortunately it has spread to her blood stream. But the increased anti-biotics should sort that apparently. They didn’t seem unduly alarmed.

Blog Discussion
After the morning was nearly over, I was asked to see the Matron and Sister about something. I knew instantly it was about the blog. It was like being called to the Headmaster’s office (only kidding C & A). They were concerned about a previous blog entry involving a lady who was crying out a lot and that they would appreciate being told of any problems with kp’s care so they could address them rather than just read about them in the blog.

They were exceedingly nice (like Mr Kipling’s cakes) and I totally understood where they were coming from. At the same time, I expressed the importance of keeping the blog accurate so that when kp reads it, she recalls the situations in question. I offered to tone down the relevant blog entry relating to the lady (that has now been edited down). With regards letting them know of any problems, I explained that as far as we were concerned, there were no outstanding issues and I would, of course, let them know any problems with kp’s care before recording them in the blog. This is something we have done from the start and I reassured them we would continue to do so. Both C & A have the best interests of Karen and the ward at heart and I will support them in this regard whilst at the same time recording events.

Day 40 – Tuesday 7th June – Part Two

What a cracking day – When I thought it couldn’t get any better…….
When I arrived tonight (7pm), kp had been having a helluva crack with Marie, Michelle and the comedian that is Jane B.

It carried on for a good 20 minutes with kp holding her belly laughing. They sleep is the best medicine, well laughter must come a close second.

Marie was keen to pass on kp’s latest good news.

1. kp had eaten nearly her whole lunch and whole dinner.
2. kp can read without the aid of the magnifying sheet.
3. kp’s itch

Fantastic. After this morning, my only concern was her eyesight and that looks like it is on the mend. She read out a card from Sue, Alan and Danielle Brady that had just arrived. She had read it out earlier to the girls. When she read it out to me, she got it nearly correct. She read it all out perfectly, but where the card might have said “Love and Best Wishes”, kp said “All the best”. I didn’t say anything. It reminded me of a child reading when they think they know what the next bit says, but can’t quite read the words out. I think she was just tired.

All the work is done through her left eye (stroke side strangely). Her right eye can’t see at all. This has been referred to an eye specialist.

The Itch
Another thing Marie relayed from the afternoon, was that kp had an itch on her left side and she instinctively tried to move her LEFT arm to scratch it. Previously, her left arm just sat there like a dead weight and now it was moving on an impulse.

Me + kp
A few more belly laughs later and it was time for the girls to return to Middlesbrough. That left me and kp for the evening.

We sat and had a chat about what I had done on the afternoon (mow the grass) and a few other titbits.

J, the auxiliary nurse, came in and together we gave kp a bedbath and changed a dressing that was weeping. With new Nighty on, kp looked very settled. Unfortunately within an hour of the bedbath, kp’s nighty was in a right state because the pelvic wound was weeping badly. They are going to sort that out later this evening.

E. Coli 156
Before Marie left, she told me that had a certain strain of E. Coli in her bloodstream. Apparently, there are many strains, but the strain kp has E.Coli 156 (which I am sure we are all familiar with ;-) ) isn’t too bad, whereas another strain is bad. She is on an IV drip of Omoxycilin to sort this. I say she is on a drip. The doctor came round and simply couldn’t get a new Venflon (sp) into her vein to give her the drip. The doctor tried about 3 different places and then referred it to the Senior House Doctor to sort. That was being done later tonight as well.

kp has the worst veins in the world. When she used to give blood, they always struggled to find a good vein.

Sickness Cracked ?
kp wasn’t and didn’t feel sick at all tonight despite lots of moves. So we may have the sickness cracked now. I do hope so, because it makes the day much worse for kp. Finger Crossed, Touch Wood Etc…

Stiff Left Arm
Tonight her left arm (stroke side) was a bit stiff after all the physio. So I did all the exercises we have been taught to loosen it up and then asked Karen to lift her arm (as she had done earlier). It takes a lot of concentration for her to tell the muscles to move in a certain way. But, unlike the physio, I didn’t guide Karen, I just waited until there was a bit of movement in the right direction and then coaxed her on.

Well, when the arm lifted to her head, I started crying. She was lifting her arm, without ANY support from me. I couldn’t have been happier. kp did a huge smile, because she knew how much it meant to me. Hugs time !

But then of course, I got carried away.

Can you bend your fingers ?
Tiniest of Bends

Can you bring your arm to your chest ?

Can you do this …..?

Can you do that …..?

kp:- David, I am not a performing animal !
dp:- Sorry love.

She knew I was excited and it was a nice way to end a dp physio session.

kp Phone Home
kp has made such progress over the past 24 hours, I thought we could see if she could do something practical which she hadn’t been able to do previously, namely use the phone. This was a problem before, because her hand-eye coordination was poor and when she tried to replace the phone on the tv (where it sits), she would just end up pushing the tv away. She also couldn’t dial because she couldn’t see the numbers.

So, I brought the phone into range, and suggested making a phonecall.

kp:- I’ll phone Marie

Sure enough, she could lift the phone off & dial the number. A huge smile appeared when Marie picked up at the other end. I think she was chuffed with herself. Could she replace the headset however ? You better believe she could !

That’s about all I can remember.

So, all in all, an absolute cracker of a day. I can’t help but think back to something F said, (the consultant in ICU). He said the patients in Intensive Care that do the best are the ones that make slow steady progress,. I am ever so slightly concerned that kp is doing too well. Stupid really. She is not in ICU, so maybe it no longer applies, but its at the back of my mind. It’s also on kp’s mind. She doesn’t know F said this, but she said to me yesterday :-

kp:- It’s just my luck that after all this effort and progress that something else comes along and kills me off.

Obviously I reassured her to the contrary.

Well done Love for today. You’re storming !!!!


Day 41 – Wednesday 8th June – Part One

Karen had slept well, but been in a lot of pain when she woke up.

It is very difficult to get the right blend of pain/nausea medication. It seems the balance has shifted from nausea to pain. No sickness at all, but kp is constantly in pain.This challenge continues today. kp is going to try Diazepam today to see if that helps.

Not much to report from this morning.

Bedbath, New Nighty.

Both kp + I slept for an hour or so.

Her limbs had stiffened up a bit since last night, so I did a bit of physio to try and loosen them up.

The Doctor came to report that the E.Coli infection is on the wane thanks to the Amoxycillin IV drip, which is great.

That’s about it.

I got called into the visitor’s room for another meeting about the blog. This time it was the physios who were concerned about identifying them by one of their initials. And also one of the physios felt that yesterday’s Part One made it sound like they were giving kp too much pain. Neither kp + I believe this to be the case. We think they are doing a sterling job and to be fair I think the blog reflected this, but to save any upset, I have anonymised the Physios initials and toned down the specific comment that was referred to in the meeting.

Day 41 – Wednesday 8th June – Part Two

I am sitting at the computer trying to remember what has happened tonight and am so exhausted I am really struggling to recall any events.

This is NOT a call for sympathy.

ok……A student nurse (Z) came into Karen today (should have written this in Part One), and I instantly recognised her as being an ex-work colleague. She looked as pretty as ever and it was great to see her. The last thing I remember about her was that she was jacking in her sales job, and going to retrain as a nurse. It was kinda weird to see her coming to tend to kp and not selling her a computer training course. Nice one Z.

Marie told me a few things that happened in the afternoon. She had heard the nurse naming the infection kp has in another wound, it began with P and my task for the evening was to find out the name but I forgot. Something like Popperdopulous.

It has been a very hot day today, and kp’s room was sweltering. No Mains Electric Fans allowed, but we are allowed a battery fan, which sounds like Concorde on takeoff. kp can only stand it on for 5 mins before the noise irritates her too much.

kp had managed to stay in the chair for 45 mins today, her coxxix was killing her (sorry if the spelling is wrong), but she means the bottom of her back.

I asked kp to do a few tricks with her left arm today, but I could only get the slightest movements compared with yesterday. Not worried about this. She was on Diazepam for the afternoon and evening and it really knocks her out. It takes all her concentration to move her left arm, and she didn’t have any left for today.

Since the accident, kp has been getting various words wrong. Some of the times this can be quite funny. Today, I asked her where the pain was and she replied

kp:- It’s in my slabs

She meant her calfs (of her legs). They probably feel like slabs to her.

Not the best of evenings generally, lots of bowel movement issues which were causing kp quite a bit of distress. Another enema and glycerin suppository provided some relief. Shortly after this, she had her Tamazepam and when I left she was asleep.

If I think of anything key that I have missed out, I will add it in a future blog, but generally it has been an uneventful night.

Day 42 – Thursday 9th June – Part One

A cracking morning with a little bit of bad news.

Another good night’s sleep. The Diazepam seems to be doing the trick with only a little pain seeping through.

With sickness pretty much in control, kp enjoyed some weetabix, toast and a glass of freshly squeezed Orange Juice. We did a few physio exercises to loosen her left arm which gets stiff overnight.

The Sister and a nurse changed kp’s dressings and gave kp a nice bedbath and kp looked great. kp has a Pseudomonas infection in her right hip wound and E Coli in the blood stream but that’s on the way out.

Eye Surgeon
The eye surgeon visited kp today. He brought all the kit needed to check her eyes. Her left eye is spot on and has no problems at all. She could read out all the letters on the chart and the peripheral vision is fine also.

The bad news is her right eyesight isn’t as good. He pointed a light into both kp’s eyes and whereas the left pupil contracted when the light shone it, the right pupil actually got bigger.

When he tested the periphery vision on the right eye, it was clear kp had a much narrower field of view. She couldn’t see things that were low until they were directly in line with the eye. It’s as if the eye can only see up (if that makes sense). In fact, up and right. She tends to find it hard to see things from the left and bottom until she actually looks directly at them.

She could read parts of the eyechart with the right eye, but when it got to the 4th row down, she struggled. He anaesthetised both eyes and checked the pressure and they were both fine. So, no glaucoma.

He then put a drug in the eyes which makes the pupils dilate. 15 minutes later he returned and examined the back of kp’s eyes in detail. The upshot of the examination is that Karen has a damaged fibre optic nerve in her right eye. There is nothing that can be done about this, and although kp’s eyesight in the right eye won’t get any worse, it won’t get any better either :-(

My first question to the Eye Man :-

dp:- How will this affect kp. Will she still be able to drive, watch TV, read and do the ironing ?

The eye man found this very funny and kp started laughing and pointing at the eye man because he kept laughing for ages. (The ironing joke is one kp has heard many times !)

The eye man said that she could still drive as the DVLA only require one good eye. Then he racked his brain for things she couldn’t do and he came up with :-

  • Driving HGVs
  • Getting a Pilot’s Licence

kp:- Is there anything else ?
dp:- You wouldn’t be too good at archery !

This tickled kp also. It’s amazing how she can laugh at such bad news.

There was nothing else that would be affected by the damaged Optic Nerve.

Kathleen (work colleague) visited kp today, bringing with her some nice lotions for kp. kp enjoyed seeing Kathleen. These gifts couldn’t have been better timed because the physios came in moments later.

Pamper Session
kp had a fantastic physio session. She has struggled to stay the full hour in the chair. So, the physios had arranged for some things to keep her mind occupied and that she would enjoy to encourage a longer stint in the chair. They worked a treat and kp thoroughly enjoyed them.

Once in the chair, kp had her feet positioned in a bowl of water, and the lotions that Kathleen brought were used for a big pamper session. She loved it. Whilst one physio did the feet, another encouraged and helped kp to do her nails. All great things that help Karen get back to doing day-to-day things with her hands. I think the idea is to encourage the right arm/hand to remember how they work.

She was then given a nice leg massage, and washed her own face which she found very beneficial. She then put various lotions on her face. This physio session did her the world of good. I must say the physio team at Gateshead has been absolutely superb.

By the time they had finished, kp had been in the chair 1.5 hours ! She had a cracking pair of smooth red legs, soft feet, and a moisturised face. A real good combo of physio and pampering.

The Pain Man
The pain specialist came to see kp just as I was leaving. He had a good discussion with kp and kp felt confident that he could fix the pain. She is going to be given Antripoline, and then weaned off the morphine patches and the Diazepam.

That’s about it for this morning.

Day 42 – Thursday 9th June – Part Two

Nowt to report
An uneventful evening. kp was VERY very tired tonight. Poor Marie (on the afternoon shift) had to resort to the crosswords in “Take a Break” as kp slept the whole afternoon and woke up just as I arrived (Cheesy Grin Time). You missed “9 down” Marie.

Things didn’t get much livelier when I was there. kp pretty much slept the whole evening and I got away early (8.45pm). She is on a new pain killer and I think the lack of pain and the Diazepam are allowing kp to catch up on lost Z’s.

I took a photo of Karen moisturising her hands earlier and showed it her tonight on an A4 size photo. I wanted to confirm that she didn’t mind me putting it on the blog.

Karen sitting in her chair and moisturising her hands.

kp’s bowels are also working much better now. This was causing much anxiety earlier in the week for kp, but fingers crossed, that we MAY have cracked this one.

Day 43 – Friday 10th June – Part One

What a HOOT !!

I left kp early last night and I knew she would either sleep like a log, or have an unsettled night as she had slept so much during the day.

She slept like a log – not waking up AT ALL during the night ! And the day showed it – kp was on top form.

Full Breakfast,
Washed her own face,
Moisturised her own face
Did some leg exercises herself
Etc Etc…

The Pop Quiz
Veronica had left a Pop Quiz for kp last night and I took it in to kp. Ronnie had asked that I record me singing the songs and place it on the internet. Well, I did the first few songs without the intention of recording myself, but kp loved the quiz so much, I started recording it half way through. We both had so much fun !!

Click on Pop Quiz to see kp’s answers or go to “Day 41 – Wednesday 8th June – Part Two” and click on comments.

To listen to kp + I singing the songs in question, click on either of these links

Part One
Part Two

And yes, we should get recording contracts. We have been told so many times how talented we are, but it’s not fair on other musicians to let such talent into the world. They need to earn a living.

We had a real hoot and it left kp in fine fettle for the Physio.

The physios were impressed with kp’s progress.
Right Leg (side of the fractured hip) – Painful at times, but kp can lift her knee to about 70′
Right Arm – no probs – works fine

Left Leg (Stroke side) – Good Movement. kp can lift her leg to about 90′. Because of the stroke, kp has altered sensation for her left side. If you rub her legs (one by one) and ask her to say which side you are touching, she can correctly identify each leg. If, however, you do it to both legs at the same time, she says “right”. This is normal apparently in the early stages of a stroke.
Left Arm (Stroke side) – kp hardly ever moves this arm voluntarily, and so it stiffens up within an hour or so of some physio. If you ask her to move it, she moves it, but it takes all her concentration to get it to move. She is unable (at present) to do specific movements, like wiggling fingers or lifting the arm in a certain direction. It’s as if she can send the signals to the arm to do something, but she needs to look at it, to see what the signal has actually made it do. But, hey, its more than we had 3 days ago. I’ll take it and run for the door. I feel sure we can work on this and get her back to near 100%.

During the physio, kp had LOTS of laughs with the physios.

She is keen to know if all the movements she has are on target for getting her up and walking as soon as her pelvis is declared as “weight-bearing” by the orthopedic surgeon. Yes is the answer.

The physio then went on to explain that if we didn’t do these exercises, her muscles would be like jelly when it came to needing them.

But the conversation went something like this :-

Physio :- You see Karen, can you imagine if we didn’t come in every day …..
and before the physio could say any more
kp:- No !

We all laughed. That may not be funny in the blog.

There was also a moment of humour when the physios kept discussing Karen’s Scapula. A bone near to the collarbone I think.

When the physio was stretching kp’s arms, kp said something like “hey, my scapula’s hurting”.

Again, funny at the time.

That’s all for now. I think Marie will get her tea-party with kp that she has been promised (by kp) this afternoon. She was certainly very wide awake when I left.


Day 43 – Friday 10th June – Part Two

Bad Afternoon
Poor Marie copped another bad afternoon. kp had diarrhoea and sickness and had an aching hip and legs from the physio this morning. Poor kp as well of course.

When Marie left, Michelle, Yvonne and Dave took over until I arrived at 7pm. More sickness and diarrhoea.

When I arrived, everything was fine. Cheesy Grin Time !

I had brought a photo of the dogs in with a title saying “We miss you !!” and thought it would cheer kp up.

It didn’t. She spontaneously got upset and started crying :-( She misses them terribly.

At the handover whilst kp was still dozing, Michelle informed me that a nice Doctor had been in and chatted to Karen for 5-10 minutes. Nothing medical, just a nice chat. He had said we can bring her alcohol in if she wants a glass of wine/beer or something or we could wheel her outside for a cigarette. That was very nice of him. He was obviously unaware that kp only drinks Champagne and doesn’t smoke now :-)

kp stayed asleep until just before Michelle + Co. departed, and just before they left, I played them the recording I made earlier on of me and kp singing. (This is available now via Day 43 Part One). Michelle and Yvonne were in hysterics and kp started laughing whilst emerging from her nice slumber.

It was a nice way to end their visit.

Nothing much happened after their departure. I gave kp a couple of leg moves and she slept pretty much my whole visit. I left at 9pm with a kp in slumberland.

Day 44 – Saturday 11th June – Part One

Very little to report.

Bad Night with pain. Apparently one of the nurses, kp estimated, had been in about 20 times turning kp to try and get her comfy. I thanked him when I arrived at kp’s request. Lovely chap.

No more sickness and diarrhoea thankfully.

Full Breakfast.

Nice bedbath and the nurse fitted one of the headbands that Marie had brought in (4 for a £1) to try and secure the dressing at the back of kp’s head.

After the bedbath, we both had a snooze for about 45 mins.

Then kp listened to an audiobook brough in by Gill, which she has been enjoying from time to time.

She isn’t asleep – she is just resting her eyes – or so she tells me.

One of the nurses noticed that I was wearing Karen’s wedding and engagement rings. When kp was very very poorly, they had to take the rings off as her left hand (stroke side) was very swollen. I have worn them since, and vowed I would keep them on until she was better. I said she could have them back if she felt upto it. We tried to get them on, but unfortunately, due to the lack of movement on kp’s left arm, her hand is still a bit too swollen and they wouldn’t fit on. There would have been a few tears from me had I been able to get them on, as it is a tangible sign (to me) that kp is back in good health again. Maybe next week !

kp had placed an order for lunch with Marie at 9am and Marie and Adele came in with a hot chicken from Morrisons and some fresh rolls. kp wolfed half a sandwich down and was then full.

Day 44 – Saturday 11th June – Part Two

kp had a bowl of tomato soup and a bread bun for tea. She didn’t fancy the gammon, jacket potato and beans, so I scoffed them.

The nurse came in to apply her next morphine patch. Within 20 minutes of this, kp threw up a few times. An amusing conversation followed from kp’s dilemma.

kp throws up.
dp gets sick bowl in place just in time.
kp throws up again but a bigger quantity (sorry about the graphic detail)

dp:- Oh, that’s a good one love
kp:- Will you STOP commentating on my vomit ?! The other day Marie did the same, but she said “Oh, that’s your melon”

I laughed out loud and kp smiled (even though she was feeling sick)

kp fell asleep shortly after. I got away at 8.30pm. Hopefully she’ll have a good sleep although she thought she was in for a rough night. We’ll see tomorrow.

Day 45 – Sunday 12th June

Yvonne was on the early today, allowing me a lie-in ! Yay ! Thanks Yvonne ! Marie took the 12pm – 4pm shift and I arrived for the 4pm to eyes shut shift.

Karen had been in good form all of today. She enjoyed seeing Sue Brady (ex work boss) who brought her some champagne (after reading a previous blog) – Thanks Sue !

She hasn’t drunk it yet, but I am SURE she will in good time.

No sickness today. Ate all meals (not fully), but enough !

She had quite a few visitors today on top of Sue. Jane and Tony Burns and my mum and dad. Lots of belly laughs and she stayed awake the whole day (pretty much).

Couple of funny incidents today. They may not be funny to blog readers who aren’t familar with my mum.

But my mum speaks a little bit posh (hope that’s ok mum !).

And when one of the tealadies came in and offered a cup of tea to Karen in a Geordie accent, she said :-

Mum:- Oh, I love your accent. We have been to see Billy Elliott in London (where they speak Geordie). You should go and see it.

And another classic which made kp belly laugh happened later on that evening.

The tealady came back to see if kp wanted anything before she went off shift. Karen didn’t, so the lady said

Tealady :- ok then, see yas tomorrow.
Mum:- Yes, see yas

Well, on hearing my mum speak Geordie, kp couldn’t help but belly laugh.

Cracking day for kp. After being awake the majority of the day, she was kn+ckered and she was asleep by 8pm.

Good Night my love


Day 46 – Monday 13th June – Part One

All Change

Karen’s moving wards today. From Ward 3 to Ward 22, the stroke rehab reward – a sure sign that she is on the up and up.

Next week, she will be trialing for England’s Women’s Football team.

Well, maybe not the first team :-)

She had a bad night. Lots of pain and tears. She was kn+ckered when I went in, and within 30 mins, she was fast asleep.

The consultant came round on his rounds and he has upped the pain medication. Bigger Morphine Patch and bigger “nerve pain” drug. Fingers crossed that will sort the pain.

I went to check out the ward at kp’s bequest, but was told I couldn’t check it out because it was “Protected Patient’s Meal Times” whatever that is.

I do hope we don’t have to go through the faff of meetings with key staff again to ensure quality of care. It’s early days, but its not the best of starts.

I counted the cards on kp’s wall today. It’s the kind of thing you do when kp is fast asleep and you have read “Bella” and “Take a Break” from cover to cover. 83 ! And Marie, Michelle and I took them all down ready for replastering them on her next private room.

That’s 83 cards and about 20 photos on the other wall to remind kp of home, dogs, relatives etc….

Poor Marie is on the shift that will probably involve her redecorating the next room with the cards. She always seems to cop that one !

Day 46 – Monday 13th June – Part Two

All settled in new ward

The new ward seems excellent. The staff have been very helpful and friendly and kp is happy in hew new location.

Before I forget, kp had a visitor this afternoon, (Tracey (spud) from work). She really enjoyed seeing her and kp was in good form. Tracey brought loads of gifts for kp and she was thrilled to bits with them all. Many Thanks Tracey !!

Marie, Jane and Michelle moved all kp’s belongings from ward to ward and Marie began the arduous task of redecorating kp’s room with all the cards, flowers, etc etc… after Jane and Michelle left.

The new room she has is a private room again and has its own HUGE toilet, which is great as additional storage space for kp’s chairbed, grand piano and 12-piece orchestra.

My earlier misgivings about the new ward were premature as they went out of their way to make kp feel welcome and at home. The nurse on the evening even asked me what’s the best way to make her comfy as kp had already told them that the family move kp when they are in. I thought this was very thoughtful.

They also said to kp that this is the last ward she will be in before she goes home. At this, kp got upset. I think she feels for the first time, that there is a light at the end of the tunnel.

Kevin (driver of the car kp was in) is emailing me photos of the car that they cut Kevin, Angela and Karen from. I will post them on the blog when I get them. He can’t believe they got them all out of there. I am very interested to see them.

She was very tired tonight and was falling asleep at 7.30pm. She wanted to stay awake until she took her tablets, and the nurses kindly brought them in earlier then they normally do at about 8.45pm.

I think she’ll sleep like a log.

Day 47 – Tuesday 14th June – Part One

New Ward Great
kp loves the new ward. All the staff have made a point of introducing themselves and she said they were straight there when she buzzed during the night.

She had a good night’s sleep as well which will have helped.

When I arrived, I rang Angela to reassure her that I won’t be publishing the photos of the car on the blog, but it was clear we had cross wires. She thought I was going to be publishing the police photos of the accident (which are quite shocking, according to Angela). I didn’t even know these photos existed, and she was fine about my publishing the ones of the car (taken by Kevin at the scrapyard).

I gave her a bedbath, which seemed to take forever because I couldn’t get my bearings in the new room. All her wounds were redressed by the nurses and they are all healing nicely.

The physio came and assessed kp’s movement. He’d had a good handover from the previous physio and knew where and how far to push kp’s limbs.

And just before I left, the doctor came. He was lovely and very helpful and gave kp a good assessment as well.

Everything is heading in the right direction.

Day 47 – Tuesday 14th June – Part Two

Spoke too soon :-(

More misery for kp. She had a really bad afternoon. She has new infections, we won’t know what infection for a day or so, but the worst thing has been the pain. Bad Pain ! kp got very upset, which caused Marie to get upset. It nearly got so bad they were going to call me in to the hospital. Poor kp :-(

They gave her some break-through pain relief in the form of Gavapentin, and she is on a bigger morphine patch from tonight.

When I arrived at 6pm, she was snoozing and the pain was much less severe. She was as settled as she could be.

We did have some smiles before Yvonne, Dave and Marie left. Yvonne was recalling an incident in the previous ward, where kp was sitting upright in the bed, and one of the staff was in adjusting her bed.

Staffmember :- I wonder what this red lever (on the bed) does ?

Staffmember pulls the red lever.

kp’s bed shoots instantly from sitting upright to flat ! This could have been quite bad for kp, but because the staffmember was so upset about what they had done and it hadn’t hurt kp too much, kp broke out into a belly laugh.

The evening was uneventful. kp was exhausted, and was asleep by 7.45pm. I left at 8pm.

If anyone would like to visit Karen, please call Marie on 01642-284812 or 07961346149 to arrange a time. Please note that visiting hours are now 2pm-7.30pm. For staffmates of Karen who mostly work those hours, you can visit at different times, we just need to inform the staff a day ahead of your visit of the time you are coming.

PS – Kevin has emailed me the photos of the car that kp, Angela and Kevin were in. I am going to show them to Karen tomorrow (if she wants to see them). I am also checking with Kevin and Karen to ensure its ok to post them to the blog for others to see. It is amazing how any of them survived the accident.

Day 48 – Wednesday 15th June – Part One

kp had a better night last night but was very lethargic when she woke up, staring into space a lot

We did the usual bedbath thing, and it was much quicker today, which is better for kp.

Car Photos
At kp’s request, I showed her the photos of the car she was in when the accident occurred. She wasn’t phased by them at all. I think that was partly because she couldn’t see them properly, despite me printing them off A4 size for her. Marie later showed her them with the magnifying glass, but because Marie got upset when she saw them, I think kp was putting on a brave face – or maybe, she just was too lethargic to get upset.

Rather than include the photos so they show up straight away in the blog, I have made it so you need to click on the links below to see them. Kevin warned me to sit down before I saw them. They are quite shocking, and it is unbelievable that there were 3 people in the car in the pictures. Only click on these links if you want to see pictures of the car kp, Kevin and Angela were in.

Picture 1
Picture 2
Picture 3
Picture 4

Policeman’s Visit
The policeman from the scene came in today. He answered any questions Karen had. Here are some snippets I can recall from what he said, which was either new to me, or interesting from his angle (I can’t say too much because the man in question hasn’t been interviewed yet) :-

When the policeman first got to the car, he was unaware there was a third person (Karen) in the car. He could only see Kevin and Angela. It wasn’t until he was looking at Angela’s predicament that he saw Karen.

He told Karen that he had had to lie on her to help Angela at one point, and he apologised for putting his weight on her. As soon as he said this, kp recalled this part of the crash. She said

kp:- So that was you
She then made a fist at the policeman. We all laughed. kp smiled.

The road was closed for 3 hours.

About 18 policeman were involved at the scene.

The man (who is at fault) was going about 60mph in the van when he impacted Kevin’s car. The momentum of the video tapes in the back of the van caused the rivets to pop

The physio did his thing, and the occupational therapist came today also. She is going to be helping kp learn how to do day to day things again with only 1 working arm/hand.

Day 48 – Wednesday 15th June – Part Two

Good Afternoon with Marie and Michelle
kp had a good afternoon with some laughs with her sisters.

She seems to have lost a bit of confidence when we move her round the bed. At one point this afternoon, Marie was moving kp (with Michelle’s assistance), and kp got so unnerved by the move, she grabbed a hold of Marie’s blouse and was lifting it high in the air. Marie had a bra on apparently. After Marie commented, kp grabbed Marie’s hip and trousers (for support) and proceeded to pull them down (unintentionally).

So, if you want to be stripped naked whilst visiting Karen, just volunteer to help in moving duty !

Pelvic X-Ray
kp is due an x-ray tonight or tomorrow to see how the pelvis is mending. That should be interesting.

Occupational Therapist
kp enjoyed hearing how the occupational therapist was going to help her do things for herself again. Over the next few days, she is going to learn how to take her nighty off and a few other basic things which we all take for granted.

Feeling better in herself
kp is much more settled in this ward. The nurse to patient ratio is probably the same as on the last ward, but the care is better. This is probably because the patients are generally more well than on the last ward and therefore they have more time for the patients. This ward is also more geared for rehabilitation.

I just want to say there were some cracking staff on the last ward and the above comment is not intended to disrespect their efforts.

I left a very tired kp at 7.30pm (official visiting end) for the first time tonight. She was zonked. And she is happy for me to come in at 8.30am instead of 8am. She has no fear of being left alone in this ward. The long shifts we cover were needed for the previous ward, but I am confident kp feels comfortable in the care of Ward 22.

Day 49 – Thursday 16th June – Part One

Good Night’s Sleep.

Ate a good breakfast. At one point, she couldn’t find her cup of tea, which was right in front of her. (As stated in previous blogs, she has difficulty seeing anything lower or to the left of her, unless she looks directly at it).

dp:- It’s on the table in front of you. Have another look.
kp:- I am getting as bad as you at finding things.

(Personal Joke, cos whenever I can’t find anything around the house, I always call kp).

Bedbath by dp. Offered to wash her hair.

kp:- No disrespect, but I don’t want you to wash my hair.
I laughed.
dp:- None taken

She feels more comfortable if the nurses do her hair because of her head wound which is very sore.

kp was taken for a hip x-ray.

When the stroke consultant came round, he said the x-ray looked ok to him, but he didn’t know what it looked like before. He mentioned there being a bit of loose bone around the hip. I vaguely recall this was there before. We need to wait for the Orthopedic people to give their opinion. kp feels there is something wrong with her hip as it has been giving her a lot of jip over the past 24 hours.

The consultant also mentioned that kp’s infections seem under control now. She certainly hasn’t had any temperatures, and her blood pressure is back to normal. It was low yesterday (83 over 50) – forgot to mention that !

I think because of the hip problems, kp won’t be put in the chair today. Too much aggro for her.

She may get some physio this afternoon.

Day 49 – Thursday 16th June – Part Two

kp didn’t get in the chair today, but did have some physio and the physio was pleased with her progress.

She then had a very upsetting afternoon. She was in a lot of pain and was convinced there was something seriously wrong with her hip. The orthopedic team had said they would try and visit to review her x-rays, but they hadn’t come round.

One of the Ward Sisters said she would try and get the orthopedic doctor to come round later in the evening.

On the good news front
Whilst Marie was on duty, kp had an itch on the back of her left hand (stroke side). Normally, kp can’t feel anything but pain on her left side, but she instinctively grabbed her left arm, lifted it onto her stomach and started scratching it with her right arm. Marie was over the moon.

Orthopedic Doctor
Sure enough, later in the evening, the orthopedic doctor came round. He reassured kp that there was nothing seriously wrong with her hip, and she had nothing to worry about. There were some minor issues that he couldn’t comment on, but they weren’t really significant. He later elaborated that these were things like when she could bear weight etc…

Weeping Wounds
kp had some major weeping of the stomach incision tonight. One of the sisters redressed all her wounds and took swabs for analysis.

The head wound was causing kp a lot of pain, because of course she has to lie on it most of the day. This was redressed and kp felt better after that.

Change of nighty (because of the weeping wounds) and positioning in a comfy position, she was asleep in minutes.

Day 50 – Friday 17th June 2005 – Part One

kp had a great night’s sleep. She didn’t wake up until I stepped in the room at 8.20am.

Ate half her breakfast, had a little snooze followed by bedbath (dp) and wash of her hair (nurses). “Felt Great” she said.

Physio was the big event today. Yesterday she was able to slightly tweak her left thumb on request. Today, after some limbering up, she could wiggle her thumb quite a lot, which was AMAZING to see. kp was looking at her thumb saying “That’s me doing that !”. It was so funny and so heart warming it brought a tear to my eye.

Then another humorous moment. The physio moved her left hand to her chin and touched her chin with her thumb and asked her to “scratch your chin with your thumb”. Well, rather than wiggle her thumb to scratch her chin, she wiggled her chin to be scratched by her stationary thumb. Nice Try Love ! Eventually kp scratched her chin by wiggling her thumb.

Once this physio was over, she was moved to her chair, where she stayed for an hour whilst eating her Fish and Chips (1/2 fish, 4 chips).

More physio this afternoon

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