Archive for September, 2005

Day 126 – Thursday 1st September – Part One

Before I forget and go in to see Karen at the hospital, I must recall “an interesting thing about strokes”.

Regular blog readers will know that kp doesn’t see things that are in front of her, down and to the left. So, she will ask for the hairbrush, and it will be on the table in front of her, but maybe on the left of the table and she needs to be told “It’s on the table”, and then she has to move her head to look directly at it.

It’s peculiar, but not drastic.

Well, another funny thing has started happening. She is now starting to put makeup on and looks a lot better for it.

For the last 2 days, she has been putting mascara on. On both days, she has done her right eye, and then put the mascara back on the table. She thinks she is done.

On both occasions, I have had to remind her about her left eye.

Weird. Very interested to see if this fixes itself with all the reminders.

Will keep you posted


Day 126 – Thursday 1st September – Part Two

It would be hard to beat a day with 4 steps. But 6 steps will do nicely thank you !

But first…..

I phoned kp this morning to say I would be a bit late in as I had a few oddjobs to sort. I arrived at 10.30am and we had the usual natter and blog comments exchange. Thanks for all your comments !!

Bath followed with a new twist to the day, the Sports Bra. Well, what a chew on ! Apparently you can’t put bras on when your damp. We had previously worked out that if we put talcum powder on to do the final drying, she gets VERY itchy on a night time so we had stopped using talc a couple of weeks ago and it solved the itchiness problem. Today we had to resort to talc to achieve the desired dryness around the bra area.

I dress kp at the moment after the bath because she can’t do it herself.

T-shirts – no problem
Shorts – With one eye closed
Socks – Walk in the Park
Bras – How the hell do 40% of the population put these things on ?

I couldn’t work out which was the inside or the outside. Do you have the seam on the inside or the outside. Inside it would itch, Outside it would show – big dilemma !

Up or Down was ok. But how do you put it on someone who can only lie on the back or side. It takes some thinking about. In the end kp came up with the (now obvious) solution………..

Let’s leave the bra until she is sitting upright (with the help of the hoist) drying her hair.

It worked a treat. And she looked a lot better for it.

Lunch followed bath. Tomato Soup and Buns.

Marie arrived in time for the physio and the main man didn’t mind 2 of us sitting in on kp’s session.

For the last few days kp hasn’t needed the hoist to transfer from the wheelchair to the bench and today was the same :-)

Today’s exercises were mostly done in the sitting position. Tilting from one hip to the other, one leg to the other. Leaning on one hip, while trying to get her left leg on the bench. Lots of holding awkward positions. Here is a picture of kp holding a position halfway between sitting and standing at another point of the physio session. It’s hard for a healthy person to do, and must be even harder for kp.

Shortly after this photo was taken, he got kp to hold the same position :-

Main Man :- Good, Hold it, now transfer your weight on to the left leg (pause), right leg (pause), left leg (pause), right leg (pause), lean your weight forward (pause), backward (pause), forward (pause), backward (pause) and now sit back down
kp :- Blimey that was hard
Other physio :- You’re right that was

We were all laughing at the fact the hold had gone on for so long. It’s as if the main man’s record had got stuck.

To finish the physio session off, he got kp to stand and helped her walk forward. Marie and I counted – 6 steps !! There is no way she could do it without the physio’s help, but it is 2 more than yesterday :-)

When we got back to the room, Marie hoisted her back into bed and said she looked lovely and suggested I take a photo of kp in the same pose as the one that was taken the very first time she was hoisted.

Cracking Idea

See for yourself how better she looks :-

Before in hoist for first time (nearly 2 months ago):-

After in hoist :-

That’s about it for today.

Day 127 – Friday 2nd September – Part One

Just a quick note to confirm that Karen found both eyes yesterday with her Mascara brush.

Day 127 – Friday 2nd September – Part Two

Hot Chicken Day of course, so not in until 10.30am.

Blog comments read out.


Bra on – think I have cracked it now. I found out the prices of bras today. If there are any men reading this blog, ask your wives/partners/friends how much they pay for bras, but make sure you’re sitting down first. It’s a lot !! £22 for kp’s sports bra. And apparently, you can get them more expensive. Even Marie, Karen’s sister, who brings in 5 T-Shirts for 4pence everyday said that was about the right price.

Perfect timing for the hot chicken lunch. Lovely. Huge portion of chips today, enough for two sets of chicken sandwiches – Lovely !

We then went out in the sun for a bit, because it was a scorcher of a day. Then we went for a lie-down before physio.

We had about 90 mins.

Physio today was mostly done in standing. Lots of long stands to strengthen kp’s muscles. She had to stand on her right (good) leg and try and lift her left as high as possible. She did well with this and got her foot nearly a foot off the ground. She can’t do the same thing with the left as it is not yet strong enough to support her without a lot of assistance. She has problems keeping the left leg locked. She thinks it’s locked and its not, but gradually she is relearning the position the rest of her body is in and that should reeducate her about what is the feeling when her left knee is locked and her left hip is pushed in.

She did quite a few stands from sitting today. To start off with she just couldn’t lock her left kneed and I was started to get concerned that she may have problems walking as a long term thing, but by the end of the session, it was getting much better. She still hasn’t stood without assistance yet, and I think personally, I need to see that, before I can believe she’ll be ok with her legs.

After the stands, she did “chucking bean bags” practice. As the main man pointed out, this wasn’t to practice chucking bean bags, but more a balancing challenge. She had to maintain her balance when she chucks it.

I stood at lengthening distances from kp and she had to chuck some bean bags to me. If you look closely at the foto below, you will see a red bean bag mid-flight (top of photo)

I then chucked it back and she had to maintain her balance again. She did it no problems. She only dropped one and that was because I had done a poor throw (as one of the physios was keen to point out ;-) LOL !

After bean bag chucking, it was walking time. With kp’s right hip agaist the raised bench (for extra balance), she walked about 4 steps.

This photo ^^ shows kp in walking action. The main man (left) sits on a little stool and wraps his feet around kp’s left foot, clamps his knees around kp’s left knee. He makes sure that her left foot moves forward the right amount and makes sure her left knee locks when it needs to. It is very clever to watch.

After the 4th step, kp was absolutely knackered and slumped right back in the wheelchair at the earliest opportunity.

We all laughed.

We have some physio homework for the weekend and it seems we are still on target for a visit home a week tomorrow.

After physio, we went for a cup of tea with Marie, Michelle, Jane and Ronnie and then went to sun ourselves outside. We found a lovely little suntrap and took the photo opportunity that presented itself

Left Top – Marie
Left Bottom – Michelle
Middle Bottom – Ronnie (vdfromboro)
Right – Jane B
Centre – kp

Day 128 – Saturday 3rd September – Part One

Not much to report so far.

I had “sign off” today to have a lie-in and arrive an hour later :-)

Straight into bath. Yvonne had arrived towards the end of the bath. Skipped lunch. Natter with Yvonne followed by a snooze for kp.

I woke her up 5 minutes before her visitors (Sue and Danielle Brady) arrived. We met them in the hallway and went for a nice cup of tea/chinwag.

Sue hadn’t seen kp’s new room so before she left she came to give it the thumbs up and I managed to snap this picture of Sue, kp and Danielle.

That’s it for the morning.

Day 128 – Saturday 3rd September – Part Two

Uneventful evening.

Pizza Night of course with X-factor.

Thoroughly enjoyable.

That’s it :-)


Day 129 – Sunday 4th September

Got another slip to say I was allowed to sleep in today. As it happened I was in by 10.30pm (only 30mins late). I’d like to say she was chuffed and pleased but she was sooooooooooo tired. She had been up earlier for bacon and tomato sandwiches, watched a bit of tv and was in snooze mode.

So, I joined her in slumberland. We slept from about 10.35am until 1pm !! :-) It was lovely sleep. I caught myself snoring once, but it hadn’t woke kp who was well gone !

We didn’t wake up until Michelle and Adele arrived. From my viewpoint (on the floor under kp’s bed) all I could see was their legs enter the room. There was a single chair on the floor and they came in quietly. Seconds later, both pairs of legs were straddling the single chair. They had decided to share it so as not to disturb our sleep by rustling chairs around. Nice of them :-)

We hadn’t had the bath by the time they arrived and kp definately needed it to wake up so Michelle and Adele went for a nail-painting session in the day room as we did our “bath routine”.

She was much wider awake on her return. Adele had brought some face masks for Karen to try. kp decided to put it on whilst in the bath :-

Scary !

Here is the after shot :-

I am sure all the female bloggers can see a remarkable transformation and no doubt kp looks 10 years younger. But for me, it was a bit of flannel with some soap on, but kp enjoyed it.

After the bath, we went for a cup of tea with Adele and Michelle. They had to leave at 3.30pm (Sunday busses). kp and I returned and had some chats about the forthcoming home visit. kp is really looking forward to it (understandably), but I think I am even more excited than her. I had to say “let’s not talk about it anymore” as I was getting too psyched about it and didn’t want to be let down in case the physio says she is not quite ready.

Fingers crossed (as always)

She was tired at 4.30pm so I left her snoozing, ready for Debs visiting at 6pm.

Day 130 – Monday 5th September

Straight into snooze when I arrived this morning, but only had about 45 minutes. Bath followed and another weigh-in. The scales (that lie through their teeth anyway) said she was a pound or two heavier. But actually that is good for kp as I think they want her to put some weight on.

We had some tomato soup and buns for lunch, and then went for another snooze before physio (2.30pm), but no sooner had we put our heads down, Phil walked in (one of kp’s work colleagues) for a surprise visit. We pretended to be wide awake and were very convincing.

kp had a nice chat with Phil and quite a few laughs.

Physio today. Just before the main man arrived for kp’s physio, one of the other physios that has “done” kp before came and said “Hi” and asked how she was etc. She complemented kp on her makeup and said her eyes look lovely with Mascara on.

Physio :- You have really lovely long eyelashes, you look like a cow

Now, she meant it as a compliment and both kp and I knew this, but at the same time, she suddenly thought how that could have been received and we were laughing at her backpeddling attempts. We went through cow breeds and everything before the physio felt at ease with what she had said.

We knew kp would be in for a lot of muscle strengthening and that’s exactly what we got. Mostly on her back, the main man put weight on her left leg and got her to hold it in all kinds of positions. Later in the session, he got her to lie on her side. He encouraged her to turn on her side herself, but she isn’t quite there yet and needs a bit of a push. Whilst on her side, he got her to stretch her left leg out and move it up into the air. A very difficult maneuvre.

The main man asked her to do this a number of times. After about 5 attempts, I could see the main man look at the other Physio (Daniel O’Donnell fan) strangely. kp kept doing the moves when he asked. More looks were exchanged. Finally he said “ok, Karen you can relax your leg now”.

Main Man :- I was expecting you to say your leg was tired or you’d had enough

I think they were impressed with kp’s stamina today. I knew exactly what they were looking at each other strangely for as I did a practice leg up and one was enough for me. The main man gave us homework for the weekend and we have been doing it relentlessly. We don’t want to miss out on the Saturday visit.

The session finished with some stands and transfers, but by this stage she was quite tired, but she did them nonetheless. On the very last move, she nearly dropped to the floor, but the main man had everything under control.

At the end of the session, kp asked the question I knew she was going to ask. She can be very pushy can kp, and so the following question won’t come as a surprise to anyone who knows her :-

(Bear in mind, we had told we probably could have a couple of hours at home this Saturday)

kp:- So (Main Man), do you think I can stay the night on Saturday at home as well as the afternoon and come back sometime on Sunday ?

I had told Karen that it was a long shot that he would agree.

To my surprise he didn’t rule it out straight away, and in fact left it with kp to see how she feels by Saturday, which is grrrrrrrrrrreat.

Then came the second question I knew was coming :-

kp:- Do you think I can go home this Wednesday afternoon for a few hours ?

The answer was “probably best to leave it until Saturday so you have had a week of practising transfers”.

kp:- Do you think I could run the London Marathon next year ?

Well, she didn’t ask that question, but I wouldn’t rule that one out for future weeks.

She was happy with the fact she can go home on Saturday (nearly certainly) and may even be able to stay the night. I can’t wait, and I know she can’t either.

The main man had a proviso which was we would need two people to be on hand to assist with transfers. kp is going to speak to Marie tonight to see if she is upto it.

Shortly after physio, Marie arrived followed shortly by Sue McKay (kp’s work colleague). That’s it for today.

Day 131 – Tuesday 6th September

Bath followed natter. She was very glad of the bath as she had really cold feet. But the water was so hot, she had to be lowered in the bath bit by bit over the course of what seemed like an hour. Probably about 3 minutes.

After the bath, kp had a new gadget fitted instead of a catheter bag. It’s like a little tap, but with no bag attached. It gives kp the sensation of needing the loo. It’s to train the bladder (a muscle apparently) to understand full and empty. And also to encourage it to not think it’s full when its not (if that makes sense). From now on, kp needs to say she needs the loo and we come and turn the tap on and drain the bladder. After a while on this, the catheter will be removed.

It was then time for lunch. Chicken Casserole and Roast Potatoes. It looked lovely, but kp wasn’t impressed. I finished it off for her. It did have a funny aftertaste, you could say “kick”.

Snoozetime after lunch. I was knackered and was out like a night and didn’t wake up until my alarm went off at 2.25pm.

kp needed the loo by this stage and we drained her bladder for the first time – worked a treat.

Physio today started with a transfer from the wheelchair to the bench with the “turner” (the gadget that turns when kp is standing on it). Her stand was VERY strong, and she made it look very easy.

  • Lots of different exercises today.
  • Leaning on her right hand and twisting (from the sitting position).
  • Holding the halfway position between sitting and standing
  • Holding the halfway position between sitting and standing and then whilst doing that twisting to the left, right, left, right etc… Very strenuous stuff

A table was then brought in and the main man positioned kp’s left hand on one side of the table, kp put her right at the other and then she did some press-ups from the table

Whilst halfway between sitting and standing, she then had to move her right leg to the left and then right. Very hard to do with her weak left leg taking her weight. She ended up shuffling it, but hey she did it.

Physio over, we went for a sit outside (beautiful day) and on the way out passed one of the physios. As we passed, kp was “having a go” at me for faffing and wasting time in getting outside. A little marital dispute if you will. The physio was typing away at the computer and could hear this and I could see her smiling as she typed on the computer. She was dying to laugh.

dp:- Are you ok there X ?
X:- I am fine (big smiles)

I told kp what I had seen and it really broke the ice and kp was laughing at herself.

Jane and Marie arrived and we had a cup of tea with them in the dayroom and started organising the cleaning of the house ready for the royal visit, which kp is gonna try and wangle for Thursday now.

Day 131 – Tuesday 6th September – Addendum

Forgot to mention that at the end of the physio session, I helped with the transfer of kp back from the bench to the wheelchair. It is a 2-person job with this “turner”. One helper stands in front of kp securing the turning device with their foot and hands. The other helper (I did this one) sits by Karen and assists her stand if she needs it. After 40 minutes workout, she definately needed a help up.

Tomorrow (actually today now), Marie is coming in early and together we are both going to learn how to transfer kp from the wheelchair to the bench and back again.

We have no physio on Thursday or Friday this week, so kp is going to ask if she can go home for a few hours on Thursday as well as the Saturday night stayover.

Day 132 – Wednesday 7th September

An early blog today as Adele and I have come home to get the house ready for the Queen’s arrival tomorrow. She is coming home for a few hours. I am so excited, I just can’t hide it, I know, I know, I know, I know, I like it ah ha ha. (lyrics may be wrong by a few words there).

Arrived at 9.30am for an early bath. By 11.15am we were all done and ready for physio.

Today’s physio was Marie and I learning how to transfer kp from the wheelchair to the bench and back again by using the turner device.

It is very straightforward and kp does most of the work herself and all I am there for is for steadying kp and all Marie is there for is turning the turner once kp is stood up on it. We did a couple of transfers safely and all was hunky dory.

I then nipped out for a Fish and Chip Supper for us all which we enjoyed in the day room.

We then went back to the room to do our first transfer without the physios present.

We transferred kp to the bed no problem and then back again and then back to the bed again. The last thing we had to do was get kp lying on her back on the bed from the sitting position. Well, it didn’t go quite to plan.

dp:- Put your arm on the bed to bear your weight and lower your back down to the bed. I’ll get your legs
kp:- ok

Well, she started going down slowly and then suddenly THUMP! Her arm gave way or she couldn’t wait any longer, but for whatever reason, she went from sitting up to lying (on the bed) in about 1 second. Karen was laughing her head off, Adele and Marie joined in. She just kind fell back onto the bed.

No harm done, not even any pride lost. We need to work on that one though. It was tricky with the hospital bed as she has a new air mattress (from yesterday) which isn’t very firm for maneuvring but she loves the comfiness of it.

So, enough blog writing, cleaning time. 12pm tomorrow, kp’s coming home :-)

Saturday we have an over nighter !! :-)


Day 132 – Wednesday 7th September – Addendum

It’s 9pm on the night before kp comes home (for a visit). I am so excited I just had to blog ! As you do !

On the way to dropping off Adele at Durham Bus Station, I got a bit upset talking about our Lee (Karen’s nephew, Adele’s brother). He died of leukaemia (aged 19) a few years ago and was very close to us. I can tell I am a bit raw at the moment when it comes to emotions. I just can’t wait to get kp home even though it is just for a few hours.

4 months ago, I never thought (for a minute) that kp would be home again and tomorrow it’s going to come true. Dad has been saying that it would be an emotional time for Karen and that there should just be the two of us there as he thinks she will be quite emotional.

After talking to kp on the phone tonight, I think it is me who is going to be the emotional one. kp is definately excited to be coming home, don’t get me wrong, but like everything thrown at her, I just think she will take it in her stride.

I will try and record a bit of video if I can, but at the same time, I just want to enjoy the moment.

16 hours and she will be home, not that I am counting………..

Day 133 – Thursday 8th September

The day of transfers (named so, at kp’s request)

Be warned this blog entry is long, so now would be a good time to put the kettle on and make a nice hot cup of DRINKOFYOURCHOICE.

What a FANTASTIC day ! I was so excited about today (as was kp) that really we could only be let down, but we weren’t. It was everything we wanted to be, and we couldn’t ask for more than that.

Where to begin. Let’s start at the very beginning, a very good place to start, if you read you begin with a…b…c, if we sing we begin with do…re…me. All together now. Can you tell I am happy !?!

Arrived at the hospital at 9.30am for bath before departure. kp’s buttock dressing was changed just before we went. It’s healing nicely by the way. It’s not as deep as it was, maybe about 1 inch deep (just over). You could fit a strawberry in there if you push it hard and didn’t mind it squelching a bit. Would need lots of sugar on it though afterwards before consumption.

We were then issued with enough drugs to start a pharmacy to last us for the 8 hour excursion. Had a nice small hidden catheter bag, that even I couldn’t find later during the day.

One of the nurses had been giving kp a countdown to the excursion, which was nice. kp was really looking forward to it, but in her usual typical fashion, gave nothing away, and you’d have thought we were just going outside for some fresh air.

We were taking the hospital turning device home with us as kp has trained on it and the physios weren’t sure if the one we were having delivered would be ok or not. So, we set off home, me pushing kp with one hand, carrying a rucksack and turner in the other. You’d have thought we were going to the Antartic.

I am not used to taking taxis, and when the pre-ordered taxi wasn’t there at 12.01pm, I was on the phone to them, but apparently, it’s normal for them to be a little late. The taxi we went home in was very spacious and I could sit with kp who was facing backwards in her wheelchair.

2 minutes into the journey I asked how she was finding it.

kp:- ok

5 minutes later (on the motorway), I asked her and it was a different story. She was anxious and was looking at every car behind to make sure they weren’t coming in to the back of the car. :-(

kp:- He’s on his mobile phone (pointing to a driver whizzing past with phone to ear)

I think it will take a while for her to get ok with being a passenger (and driver) again.

When we got home, I put the dogs out the back so they wouldn’t see their mamma was home.

Paid the taxi driver and he went and we were on our own at our house.

We tested Tommy’s ramp and it made me question why I had ever deliberated about his offer of installing it. It was fantastic and made life so much easier throughout the day.

Wheeling kp through the front door, she was beaming from cheek to cheek. As planned, I ushered her through to the living room and we did transfer number one from the wheelchair to the armchair. By this time, her back was giving her a bit of gip and she was keen to lie down. The armchair is one of those reclining ones so we could get her horizontal. The transfer went seamlessly and kp’s standing was brilliant. I only had to be there just in case, but she did the stand herself and maintained it !

Once in the chair she went horizontal and wanted a few minutes before she met the dogs. I should say before she met my bitches. That sounds a bit more like I am a pimp and a bit more streetwise.

I opened the backdoor and in they bounded. kp was concerned that they wouldn’t remember her and that they would be wary of her. I had assured her that they would as had everyone else, but I must admit I was a little concerned that if they saw her in the wheelchair, they may seem frightened (but of the wheelchair). She was in the armchair and we had nothing to worry about. They were all over her. It will be 2-3 days before dog saliva is fully removed from kp’s face, even with a deep scouring (or what’s that soap with the sand in that women use, can’t recall the name at the moment).

They loved kp, and she loved them. They hadn’t forgotten her one bit.

I took some video footage of the dogs meeting kp and it is great to see, but I need to get the “ok” to blog it from the Queen.

I can safely get away with a couple of snapshots from the video, but the quality is awful, so apologies. The video is awesome, I will try and persuade the Queen to release it, but she may be reluctant as it shows her stomach scars.

I took sooooooooo much pleasure from seeing kp meet the dogs and vice-versa. A very happy moment.

She was keen to let people know how thrilled she was to be home, and in no time, she was doing what she does best – increasing our phone bill :-

With the dogs reunion over and the phone bill increased, I was sent to the shops for food to make toasted sandwiches. I was a bit concerned leaving kp on her own, but she assured me she would be ok.

When I got back I got stuck in to the toasted sandwiches. I had to go into a cupboard that I never go into. All I visit is the beer fridge (as it is now), the place where my cans of chilli are, and the deep freeze, so the fresh food cupboard hadn’t been visited since Karen was at home. I came across an interesting find in the fresh food cupboard. A couple of potatos :-

Not sure if you can tell from the photo, but those two potatoes had they been left in the cupboard a few more weeks, may well have been 4 potatoes. They had nearly sprouted wings ! Click on the photo to see it bigger.

kp wasn’t impressed.

The toastie was lovely !!

kp ate the lot with a home-made cup of tea.

Transfer number two followed from the armchair back to the wheelchair and I wheeler her outside for some fresh air. We sat outside for about 30 minutes and loved every minute of it. There would be a full 5 minutes here and there where nothing was said, but everything was said, it’s just no words were used.

The sheep were bleating, the cows were mooing, I was doing impressions of both, because they were getting on my t+ts, but kp loved hearing them.

When we had arrived at the house, we had had a delivery of a commode and a turner (as expected). Without going into details, I’ll just say we did two transfers to the commode and the whole thing was a total success. We were so pleased with ourselves. I complimented kp on her standing skills and she complimented me on my assistance. I think we were just both so relieved that we could “DO” home visits.

After we had spent some time outside, we went round the back of the house to play with the dogs for a bit. That was a lot more tricky and its not something we will be doing very often as its a long way and involves going on grass, through a tricky gate. We’ll have to think about that one a bit more.

After the 2 outdoor visits, I was knackered. We had probably done 4 or 5 transfers to/from the chair. kp wanted a tour of the house. More like an inspection, but a tour she got. She was very pleased with what she saw :-)

She had been sat in the wheelchair for quite some time by this stage, so we went into the front room so she could see if she could transfer to the sofa. This is the lowest chair in the house and although I was confident she could get on to the sofa, I was a bit concerned that I may be taking her back to the hospital on the sofa.

No problems getting on :-

And getting off involved a lot more effort on kp and a bit of assistance from me, but we cracked it and the important thing is we could do it again.

Time for bed !

We were both flagging by this stage, me more than Karen, but she wanted a proper lie-down and she chose the bed – fine by me.

Whenever a transfer is involved, preparation is the key. I have to get the turner (and it’s heavy) positioned just right, the wheelchair just right and its not easy at home, because there are things that get in the way, like ornaments, sinks, bedside tables. So it probably takes 2-3 minutes to get set up. Today was a sticky day and I was sweating like a pig before the transfer even took place.

The transfer to the bed was very straightforward. And she was lying down in no time. I jumped in my side of the bed and then for the first time in 4 months, we had a proper cuddle, it was lovely. It took a bit of maneuvering. I had to position kp to cuddle me, she couldn’t just do it for herself, which detracts from the cuddle a little, but suffice to say, once the cuddle is set up, the rest feels like a cuddle. And no, cuddle isn’t a secret codeword for sex Jane Burns !

It was lovely for me to have kp in my arms and for me to be in hers. I could blab on about “I never thought it would happen again” etc, but I am beginning to sound like a stuck record. It WAS lovely.

We both couldn’t sleep and for 45 minutes we just cuddled. Halfway through kp wanted to be on her other side, so we did a maneuvre and fell into the opposite cuddle sides.

After the long cuddle, it was time to start tea. Fillet Steak, Mushrooms, Onions and Chips. It was a 10oz fillet steak and kp ate 90% of it. She did REALLY well ! Bear in mind, she had had 2 toasted sandwiches for lunch, followed by a flake !

Another trip outside followed whilst I washed up :-(

I took a photo of kp whilst I was in and out collecting dishes :-

She looked very content.

After dishes, she wanted to check her email. I wheeled her into the study and she started sifting through 1329 emails. (99% junk, unless you need Viagra, in which case call me).

She couldn’t see the screen properly, and found my glasses helped her see the screen. I must remember to mention this to the nurses. I think kp needs glasses now for her good eye (left)

Emails over, kp was starting to feel a bit unwell. Commode time, and sick bowl time. She wasn’t sick, but looked as pale as a sheet. I think a 10oz fillet steak was probably too much. It certainly cost too much, but you’re worth every penny love. The nausea lasted about 15 minutes and by the time the taxi came, she was feeling fine !

The taxi was a strange one, and kp looked like the pope in his raised popemobile. She was ABSOLUTELY KN+CKERED when she got back ! She couldn’t wait to get back to her hospital bed.

A couple of the nurses came in to see kp transfer to the bed. They were pleased to see her stand. Clothes off, nighty on. She will sleep tonight as will I.

So, signing off time.

Cracking Day. It could not have been better. Well, apart from the nausea at the end.

I can’t wait until Saturday when we have the next home visit (36 hours). I just hope I have the energy. Roast Dinner Sunday Night !!! We can’t wait !

Day 134 – Friday 9th September

A bad night for kp last night. I said in the blog yesterday that we would both sleep for sure. Well, I had a lovely night, but kp definately didn’t. She has one of these air-mattresses which changes the pressure points on your body as you lie there, to prevent bed sores.

In a nutshell, it beeped every second for the whole night, which drove me crazy for the 20 minutes I was there last night and secondly, it went flat. My first site of Karen this morning (about 10.45pm) was a knackered looking kp in the middle of a trough with 2 peaks of bed to either side. Poor Karen.

She didn’t seem to realise it was flat, and felt comfy bizarrely enough.

But, she was definately tired and although we had time to bath before hot chicken and chip lunch, she opted for sleep. I was more than happy to snooze as yesterday really took its toll on me, and I was knackered (despite the good night’s sleep).

We slept till 12pm and got up just in time for the hot chicken lunch.

Bath followed lunch.

I didn’t flow today. Everything took forever. I couldn’t concentrate on the routine and a 75 minute bath routine probably took 90mins+.

I was getting annoyed with Karen’s room. The turner was in the way of the wheelchair which stopped me getting past the bed to the sink. The yellow bin is now in the bathroom, the hoist for the bath gets caught on the wheelchair feet etc etc….

But, I managed to keep a lid on it at this stage.

I tried to persuade kp to go in the bath without using the hoist. It involves a few transfers but she just wanted a nice bath. I kept trying to persuade her, but given the state of tiredness of us both, she was right and we did our usual routine doing two transfers along the way as a compromise. kp was a bit weaker than yesterday and although I hardly had to help at all with her stands, I could tell she was a bit stiff after yesterday’s efforts.

During the bath routine, kp voiced her concerns that she felt she may be going “down the pan” a bit. She has had some pains when passing water, and she feels she may be turning a corner. By the end of our chat, we had put it into perspective, and although it is probable she has a urinary tract infection, she has knocked them on the head before and I feel sure she will do the same with this one. They have taken a sample to check it out anyway.

As we came out of the bath, the man had arrived to fix kp’s bed. One of the tubes inside the bed had come loose, meaning it couldn’t get blown up, hence the whinging (beeping).

All sorted now.

Karen then proceeded to cosmetify/hairdryify herself. kp then chatted about things like “Do you think we’ll be ok ?”. I reassured her that we would. I think there has been some realisation today about how hard living at home will be. Yesterday, the euphoria carried us both through and at the time it felt like a breeze. This weekend will be a good test for both of us. I can’t wait for her to come back home again, but we have both said we need to go a bit steadier over the weekend.

Yesterday, it was nearly a case of seeing something kp could sit on, and trying out a transfer to/from it.

At about 3pm, Marie and Michelle arrived, the atmosphere in the room by that stage was a bit strained. I had lost my rag with objects around the room. This makes kp feel awful.

kp:- Are you annoyed with me ?
dp:- No, not at all love. I am just exhausted. I just need some sleep.

Of course, then I feel guilty, but sometimes it is the wheelchair’s fault. Why was it designed with 500 bits that stick out to catch legs/hoists etc ?!

The last maneuvre we did, just before Michelle and Marie arrived was a transfer from the wheelchair back to the bed. I hadn’t prepared it well enough and the bed was not in the right place, so although it was very safe and kp sat fine on the bed, her bum was too close to where her feet should be on the bed, so that when we did the lying down routine, her feet were touching the footboard and her head was miles from the headboard.

The only way to correct this is to do it again or take the easy option and slide her up the bed by pulling the sheet. kp was exhausted, I was exhausted, so we took the easy route.

So, kp ended up with perfect positioning on the bed, but didn’t have any sheet on her feet and had 4ft spare above her head.

At that moment, Marie and Michelle walk in, probably thinking “Nice one David, you’ve done a really good job of the sheets there !”

But, I was too tired/lifeless to be bothered. I just sat in her wheelchair and rested.

Marie could tell I wasn’t 100% and suggested I go, which I did, but I felt a bit bad ending the day on a sour note.

All being well, I will feel right as rain in the morning and we will have a cracking weekend. I am really looking forward to it.

PS – kp isn’t keen on releasing the dogs video footage, sorry :-(

Day 134 – Friday 9th September – Addendum

Just had a phonecall from a very upset Karen :-(

Marie and Michelle had had an afternoon of kp mostly sleeping. But when they left, she got very upset.

She told me she feels like she has so far to go and she knows she has come so far, but that doesn’t help. There is no quick fix for this. There is nothing I can really say or do apart from sympathise with her. I feel so sorry for her. The first thing I want to do when I hear her crying is go in

kp:- I don’t want you to come in, I want you to get a good night’s sleep.

She asked me what we were going to do tomorrow and I laid out the itinerary for her and I think it took a bit of an edge of her hurt.

She understands her predicament well now, but I suppose its understandable that she gets upset about the long road ahead. It will be a hard one, but together we can crack anything. The more she comes home, the more she will realise what she can’t do, but I know for sure she would rather come home than spend time at the hospital. That’s even with Ward 22 being absolutely awesome.

We’ll have a cracking weekend, we are going to pace ourselves better. As Karen herself said a few moments ago :-

kp:- “We will only do transfers if they are essential”

I left her still upset, which is very hard, but she was going to buzz for some tissues, and I know one of the nurses is aware that she is upset, so I have no doubt they will look in on her.

See you at 10am love

Love you so much !


Day 135 – Saturday 10th September

I arrived early ready for “The Weekend Home” :-)

We had plenty of time to spare so I went through all the lovely blog comments left by everyone from the Thursday blog :-)

And then we did the bath routine, and got dressings changed and drugs given with a chart of when kp is to have what.

We booked the taxi to come at 11.45am because we were ready early. Once kp was safely in the taxi, I took the car to arrive before the taxi so I could get the house ready/dogs out.

When she arrived, she was greeted by ace neighbours Tommy / Eileen and their family. kp was really chuffed at this and thought it was lovely that they had come to the fence.

I got kp comfy in one of the recliners and let the dogs out. Within 1 minute, kp was in tears. To blame for these tears was Elsa (one of our German Shepherds). She has a kind of Bambi look to her, big soulful eyes and it set her off.

kp:- Everyone had said I would be upset on my first visit home, but I wasn’t, but I think I am now.

kp has always been known for delayed reactions. She had a good cry. We had a good talk and about 15 minutes later and lots of wet tissues, she was feeling a bit better.

We had a cracking afternoon, drinks of tea, inside and out, lots of fresh air. I tried to take a timed photo on my phone of kp and I having a cup of tea outside

It didn’t go too well. The phone moved, I pulled my fake smile too soon, and kp misgauged the timer and we had a funny moment about 1 second after this foto was taken when kp put the phone down for a second and did the biggest smile.

dp:- It’s already taken the photo love.

Funny at the time.

After the trip outside, she was freezing. The heating was on in the house, and I was sweating like a pig in my t-shirt. kp had 2 layers on and wanted the fire on to warm her feet.

After about 20 minutes roasting gently in front of the fire, she was “warm”, I had sweat 2 stone off 9 feet behind her.

We were flagging by about 3pm and went for a snooze. The loveliest of cuddles and tender moments preceded a lovely snooze in each others arms.

We got up and went outside for some fresh air and to thank Tommy and Eileen for the ramp. They were great and gave us some fresh veg from Tommy’s veg garden to go with our roast tomorrow night. (Leek and Cabbage). We also got some twigs of Lavender from Eileen’s humongous Lavender bush.

Back at the house, we started preparing for the X-Factor in our usual Saturday night fashion by drinking lager. kp overdid it with half a lager shandy, she really knows how to push the boat out !

After this, kp was knackered and we got ready for the bed. She is there now, probably fast asleep.

Earlier, she had said……….

kp:- I hope you won’t get sick of all the running around
dp:- No chance love.

We have had the best of days.


Day 136 – Sunday 11th September – Part One

kp and I had an awful night sleep. kp much more so than I :-(

She was BOILING hot all night. She can’t stay on her side unless she has something to prop her up, the idea was that I would play the role the pillows play at the hospital and be the prop. I couldn’t get close to her without keeping the duvet between us (she was that hot), which is not what either of us had in mind. And it is very tricky to get kp on her side, watching her bad arm, whilst getting the duvet between us and getting myself comfy with my pillow.

And when you are changing sides about once every hour in the night, its even harder doing it when you are just woken up and have no energy. We got her comfy each time, but it wasn’t enough. She did sleep a bit, but I would say she had about 1 hours sleep all night and she felt utterly miserable this morning. It put a real dampener on such a wonderful Saturday.

We think it is because it is a double bed and not the actual bed itself. In her hospital bed, she can’t move too much ‘cos its a single, but a double bed allows much more freedom which seems to be a bad thing in hindsight.

As I write this blog entry, she is fast asleep on the sofa and wishing she had gone to sleep last night on it, because she is trapped by the back of the sofa in a comfy position.

I walked the dogs before she got up, and when I got back, I joined her for a snooze in bed. We were woken up by kp’s sudden need for a trip to the bathroom, we made it in time I am pleased to say. The transfers are going swimmingly.

All dressed, she looked very solemn, and we sat outside (glorious day) and had a cup of tea. Eileen popped her head over the fence for a natter, but I could tell kp wasn’t 100%.

After Eileen went ……..

kp:- I think I prefer to sleep at home (she meant the hospital, but interesting that she referred to it as home).

I suggested she ask to take home a sleeping tablet for next week in case she can’t get to sleep again. She thought this was a good idea but was unsure if they would give it to her. We’ll probably ask before next weekend.

The other option is kp sleeping on the couch, but that’s not really an ideal weekend at home.

Whilst we were having our tea, kp said :-

kp:- I need to ask you something, I need some reassurance
dp:- Whaddya mean love ?
kp:- I need to know things are going to get better.

I reassured her that they would and when she was walking, she wouldn’t feel as trapped etc… It would be a LONG road ahead, but she would get there with all the family’s help etc… She felt better after our chat.

kp:- I am f+cking angry at the driver now (of the vehicle that caused the accident)

For kp to swear is VERY unusual. She hates people swearing, and I can count on one hand times she has sworn before. In fact, I can’t recall any time before.

We had a good natter, and within 30 minutes of her being as low as she could get, she was feeling a lot better.

kp:- Let’s try a transfer to the car.

We had planned to stop using taxis (£25 a time, £50 there and back) to get us home and we would try a transfer to and from the car before Sunday night, so we would know if we needed to book a taxi.

Both of us thought it would be tricky, with getting out of the car harder than getting in.

Getting out was harder, but I am pleased to report kp managed both transfers and I helped only the SLIGHTEST bit with her stand out of the car. This is a big relief to both of us as it means we are not reliant on others, which is so helpful for one’s self esteem.

We sat out the back of the house in the gloriously HOT sunshine for an hour or so, and then kp phoned some family members while I prepared the Roast (Beef) for tonight.

She was then aching from sitting for so long, so I brought her back in and that’s where she fell asleep on the couch. Interesting new bit of pleasure for me is when her “bum goes numb” (as she calls it), she likes me to smack it before she transfers to the other seat. It’s great to smack your wife’s bum (and get away with it), and at the same time know you’re helping her !

So, Dad’s coming at 4.30pm for a few hours which is very good of him given he has just got back from a week’s holidays and been to a Christening this lunchtime. Mum can’t come as she is minding the dogs for my sister who has just gone on hols.

I’ll do another blog entry when I get back from the hospital later, but for now that’s it……

Day 136 – Sunday 11th September – Part Two

So, we had a snooze this afternoon, kp didn’t sleep, I was out like a light. We woke up at 4.15pm, just enough time to get ready for Dad’s arrival.

When he arrived, he joined us outside in the glorious sunshine for a drink or two. kp was subdued and not speaking much. I popped in and out of the house whilst I kept the roast ticking along but I could tell dad was having to keep the chatter going. I felt dead sorry for him travelling so far to be with us when Karen was feeling a bit off. She was feeling fine, I just think she was exhausted from 2 exciting days with virtually zero sleep overnight.

We had the Roast Beef and kp had 2 platefuls which I was delighted at. By this stage, I could tell kp was really flagging, so I dropped a subtle hint to Dad to leave.

dp:- Dad, can you go home now ?

Poor Dad – sorry !! There’ll be other more lively weekends I am sure.

Shortly after Dad left, kp and I were sat outside for some last time together before the trip back to the hospital and in no time she was in tears. She was upset about her predicament again.

kp :- Stupid man (referring to the driver who caused the crash). He’s made our lives hell.
kp(sobbing) :- I don’t want to leave the dogs and you. Why should I have to be in hospital ? What if something else happens to us ?
I hugged her as best I could (in her wheelchair)

dp :- It’ll not be long before you’re home for good love. As soon as you can walk, they’ll let you go and you’re so close.
kp (sobbing) :- Yeah, but it doesn’t end there doesn’t it. Things won’t be back to normal. I’ll not be able to walk properly.

There are so few words that help. I reassured her as best as I could that it is going to be a long road, but that you have a great family who will help you as much as we can, we’ve got the bungalow etc etc…

She cried for about 20-30 minutes and it didn’t stop when Eileen (ace neighbour) popped her head over the fence to say “hi”. Eileen did her best to cheer her up and then Tommy popped his head over. She dried up eventually and calmed down.

But as soon as I got her back in the house, it started again :-(

kp (crying) :- Let’s get back to the hospital

Of course, then it was time to say goodbye to the dogs. Very very sad !

We did the transfer to the car (it went fine) and we set off to the hospital. Michelle (one of kp’s sisters) phoned and kp could only speak a few sentences before signing off. Michelle sent a lovely long text to kp which arrived just as we arrived at the hospital and that helped make things a little better.

I had been able to keep my upset at bay throughout all of this. All couples out there will know that when one partner is weak, the other is strong and vice-versa. I was in “strong” mode, but I nearly lost sight of “strong” mode as we came to get out of the car. kp had undone her own seat belt. And I came round to start the transfer process unaware that her left (stroke) arm was trapped in the seatbelt. She didn’t even know about it. ;-(

I said nothing and just sorted it.

When we arrived back on the ward, kp was greeted very enthusiastically by all the nurses, and the upset began again :-( Poor Poor kp. The staff were lovely !! They made us a pot of tea and brought some cake in for us.

I got kp into bed, tried to get her feet warm (as they were like ice), but couldn’t. We had our cup of tea and then I left for the night.

2 minutes into writing this blog entry, kp phoned to check I had got home safely. She was feeling a bit calmer.

dp:- How are your feet ?
kp:- They’re still cold

I’ll take cold feet anyday, as long as she is settled in herself

With a bit of luck, she’ll be able to come home for sometime midweek. We will see.

Day 137 – Monday 12th September

This morning I went to pick up Tracy (Karen’s cousin) from Newcastle Airport. She is staying at our house for a few days. We went straight to the hospital from the airport and were there just before 10am.

The lights were all out in Karen’s room, and if we peeked through the glass, we could just about pick out a fast asleep kp. We entered and kp woke up and said “hi” to Tracey and I.

She took a while to wake up, but was pleased to see her cousin (first time since the accident). Shortly after we arrived and kp was a bit more alert, one of the nurses came in and had us all in stitches.

Apparently, at tablet-giving out time (about 8am), three of them had come in to Karen’s room and talked out loud for about 5 minutes about whether they should wake her up or not. She didn’t stir. They ummed and arred all the arguments before deciding to leave her at which point they tiptoed out the room.

We were laughing at the fact they had spent so long talking out loud and finished by tiptoeing out of the room :-)

Tracey and Karen caught up with all the news and then I took kp for a bath while Tracey had a cup of raspberry tea in the cafe downstairs.

Bath over, we joined Tracy downstairs for lunch. Sandwiches, Tea and Crisps.

We then went back to the room for kp to get some rest from being on her bum. After 30 minutes, it was physio time, the physios kindly agreed to letting Tracy in on the physio session.

Karen had done some SUPERB stands this morning (and over the weekend), when we transferred from the wheelchair to the bed, and I said “if you can do a stand like that for Paul, I think he will be well impressed”.

She did, and he was. So much so he left touching her completely and she was standing completely on her own, albeit much (if not all) of her weight was being carried on her right leg.

She probably stood for 10 seconds without any contact with anyone. I was impressed as was Tracy.

Before the physio session starter proper, kp wanted some to know what the next goals were from the main man. He passed the question back to kp, and asked her what she wanted to achieve next ? kp wanted to go home, but not at the expense of being able to walk normally.

Main Main :- What do you mean by normally ?
kp :- Well, to be able to walk to the kitchen to make a cup of tea, go to the loo etc…When do you think I will be at that stage ?

Being typically and rightly cautious about answering the question directly, he basically said that he couldn’t answer the question for sure, but he would estimate she could walk anywhere between 6 weeks and 3 months.

We got the impression that he would be surprised if she wasn’t walking by Xmas which of course means that she should be home for Xmas :-) Nothing is set in stone, we understand that only too well, but its something else to aim for. kp was pleased at the news. He also stressed that she should understand that really she isn’t properly standing at the moment.

Standing to a turner or holding someone’s shoulder isn’t the same as standing on your own. So we first have to crack that, before even considering walking.

After her transfer to the bench, much of today’s work was done in the lying position.

She did lots of work on her left leg movement and strength which is her big stumbling block to walking/standing properly.

The main mas was WELL impressed with some of her stamina and her strength towards the end of the exercises. At one point, he asked her to push her left leg back and against him back into the wall. The poor chap nearly had a lung collapse.

Main Man :- I won’t be asking you to do that again

She seems to have the strength, but the tricky bit for her is locking the knee and she continually has to be told to lock her knee. It’s as if she thinks its locked, when it isn’t.

At one point, she was raising her left leg (see photo above), holding it, lowering it. Some of the heights she was raising it too were amazing. At one point, Tracy and I looked at each other and went “Ooooooooooooo” as if to say, how did she do that.

She did very well.

The weekend home definately did kp well, and her strength (with all the transfers) seems to have improved !

I was very proud of her.

After physio, we went outside in the lovely sunshine and waiting for Marie, Michelle and Glenn to arrived. We had a coffee with them at Quenellies and then Tracy and I headed home. Poor Tracy has been up since 4.15am in order to get her flight from Southampton.

Day 138 – Tuesday 13th September

When Tracy arrived this morning, we had a spy in on kp from a very dark room, and saw Karen’s head shining bright, the sunlight reflecting over her VERY shiny head. She had had a good night’s sleep but was sweating like a pig (perspiring profusely).

Tracy had a good natter with kp but I was a bit tired after sleeping with the dogs last night (Tracy doesn’t like them between her and the loo in the middle of the night). The dogs slept with me, on me, around me, everywhere. They were up, down, barking, wanting to go out etc etc…

So, I was ready for a snooze almost as soon as I arrived. Tracy had kindly brought me a present of a collapsible camp bed (for the hospital). We put it up and I slept for about an hour. Thanks Tracy and Mark. At about 11.30am, it was time to wake up and go for a bath. We collapsed the bed and did the bath thing and then it was time for Fish and Chip Supper.

I nipped out whilst Tracy finished the cosmetic part of the bath routine with kp.

The Fish and Chip Supper was enjoyed thoroughly in the Day Room, a bit more spacious than kp’s room which is great for 2, but not for 3 to eat.

After lunch, kp lied down a bit before physio.

Physio today consisted of kp standing from the wheelchair and resting her right hip on the bench

By the way, I have just remembered that I said I would post pictures of the wheelchair that Deborah and Lydia tarted up and I have forgotten. Sorry Lydia and Debs, memory like a sieve. Above is the wheelchair along with wing mirror and more stickers than a formula 1 car saying such things like :-

Drive it like you stole it
Caution : Mad Cow in Wheelchair

Once her hip was on the bench, she had to stand on her right leg (the one that can fully lock) and lift her leg in the air, hold it, and then stretch it out and lock it straight if she cans.

These were very tiring, and if you want to know how tiring, try standing on one leg for a few minutes and then lifting your other leg up, holding it and then lowering it down. It always amazes me how much stamina kp has. By the second time of doing this, she was flagging.

But she did a third.

And then it was time for some left hand exercises. Her left hand/arm has very little sensation and is VERY weak from the shoulder downwards.

The physio lifted kp’s left arm upto her right arm (on the bench) and got her to run it along her right arm. At first, he had to help her run it along most of the time, but within a few minutes, kp could gradually move it along her other arm.

By the end of the physio session, he had her left arm down by the wheelchair foot holder and he got her to move the footholder (no foot in it) from back to forward. I was VERY impressed as this arm/hand simply isn’t used day to day for ANYTHING. It only gets in the way of other things kp is doing.

Physio over, we went back to the room and kp went straight to sleep.

Tracy and I went out for a coffee.

We should have stayed as while we were out, she had a visit from the orthopedic surgeon who had come to check her buttock wound. His verdict is he is quite pleased with it, but is sending her for x-rays to get it checked out. I get the impression he is not sure if he should suture it shut or not. He is going to send the x-rays to Mr Cross at Sunderland (the guru) for his opinion on how well its doing.

He seemed generally happy according to kp.

That’s it for now.

Day 138 – Tuesday 13th September – Addendum

Can’t sleep, so thought I’d trawl through some old photos of kp in various guises. It seems strange now to see her mobile. Seeing her in a hospital bed seems normal now after just 3-4 months.

These photos brought a smile to my face, so hopefully they will do the same for you………

kp skiing on our round Europe Trip for our 10th anniversary.

kp and great niece Louisa

kp and Goofy at Disney World, Orlando

kp with great nephew Ethan

kp trying to get 3 dogs to sit for a photo on a dog walk.

kp at Cape Canveral, Florida

kp and great niece Abby.

Day 139 – Wednesday 14th September

Tracy and I arrived today to find kp’s bed empty. My first thought was she had popped her clogs, and I was frantically looking for clues as to her whereabouts. On the bed in plain sight was a PAT slide, used to slide a patient from a ward bed to a trolley and then I remember the X-Rays she was due. But I had to go and ask to be sure and so I could relax.

It was the X-rays. kp and I waited in the room for a while until we got bored and then decided to go and see kp at the X-Ray department. We got halfway and met her (with porter and nurse) coming back.

We don’t know the results of the X-rays yet.

We had a natter and then did the Bath thang.

Marie came in earlier and Tracy, Marie, kp and I went to the big Quenellies for lunch. It was lovely.

We got back to the room in time for a 20-minute bum rest for kp before physio. I didn’t go to physio so Marie and Tracy could go. Apparently, it was much the same as yesterday, but kp was tired a lot more quicker.

We learned yesterday that there wouldn’t be any physio any Friday from the main man because he works unusual hours got a bit down about this as 4 days physio, 3 days rest is very different to 5 days physio 2 days rest when it comes to how quickly she recovers.

She mentioned this today and was reassured that there would still be physio treatment from his assistant. kp gets on VERY well with his assistant, and she really brightens kp’s day, but at the same time, they are limited in what physio can be done with only one of them present, so I don’t think she was entirely sold. She is going to see how it goes.

Physio over, kp and I had a snooze for an hour until we were woken up by 2 Tissue Viability Nurses who had come to assess kp’s buttock wound. They examined kp’s buttock wound in depth and discussed a variety of possible dressings that may help it close up. Maggots were discussed as a treatment ( I kid you not !!!), but they weren’t appropriate for kp’s wound, in the end, they went for Seaweed. (Algenate). I KID YOU NOT. So when they had packed kp full of Algenate Seaweed (it looked like loft insulation to me), they left.

I almost expected them to leave the room chanting “Double, double, toil and trouble;
Fire, burn; and caldron, bubble.”

Actually, they were lovely and very knowledgeable.

It was then time for Tracy and I to leave so I could drop her at the airport for her flight back to Southampton. Goodbyes were said and Tracy and I left.

Within 2 minutes of being in the car, Tracy got upset about leaving Karen :-( I think she wishes she was a lot closer. I know she wishes kp didn’t have the injuries she has and that she shouldn’t have to go through all this pain and suffering.

Tracy was great for Karen and she really enjoyed seeing her. I loved having her around the house. She cooked my meals, dysoned and performed most wifely duties ! :-)

Thanks Tracy !!!

See you soon we hope !

That’s all for now !

Day 140 – Thursday 15th September

I arrived at 9.30am this morning so we could have a natter before the psychologist arrived.

She came at 10.15am with a Social Worker, who left early in the meeting explaining that we would need a Durham-based Social Worker given we live in the Durham area.

The psychologist turned out to be a neural-psychologist I think she said. Lovely lady and she explained what she would be doing. Today was basically going to be an assessment. She started by asking kp loads of question to assess what she believed her physical state to be. Occasionally, I found myself nodding and shaking my head to try and tell the psychologist that kp had got something wrong or right. kp said she could sit up by herself, which she can’t do yet. She said she can walk 6 steps, but neglected to say she could only do it with people helping her, totally understandable, but I didn’t want the psychologist to walk away with an incorrect picture.

She then went on to assess her mental side of things.

This was quite extensive and I probably won’t remember everything she did, so I’ll just summarise what I can recall of the conclusions.

kp’s stroke has affected the mental side of things in the following ways :-

  • Inattention – she doesn’t give much attention to anything on the left hand side. I think I have mentioned previously how she won’t see something on the left hand side of the table, she doesn’t eat the left side of her plate etc….
  • Loss of words – she can think of something to say, but then will be lost for certain words
  • Lack of memory of conversations held – she can remember having conversations but what was said is a mystery. kp used to be sh+t hot at remembering who said what in a conversation. Her “he said, she said” storys are infamous around Middlesbrough.
  • Abstract Reasoning – This was an interesting one. The lady said to kp

Neural Psychologist (NP) :- If I said to you Karen “One swallow doesn’t mean its Summer”, what would you think that meant
kp thought about this for 10 seconds and asked her to repeat it
NP repeated it.
kp :- “If you swallow once, it…… I don’t know.”

At this, I burst out laughing and then immediately felt guilty. Grrrrrrrrr! I could have kicked myself. :-(

I explained that she meant “swallow” as in a bird.

kp :- If you see one swallow in the air, it doesn’t necessarily mean its Summer
NP :- So, what does that mean in a general sense

kp couldn’t answer.

Very interesting. This is something I hadn’t noticed about kp since the stroke.

The good news is her general memory (long term) is excellent. Her short term memory isn’t too bad. And she is ok at remembering future stuff (visitors etc)

Her personality is unchanged. Her patience is a little affected. She is a bit more impatient, but that could just be the hospital enviroment getting on her nerves.

Practical Reasoning – The NP asked kp if she would find ways around problems. kp wasn’t sure. I mentioned some examples where she would ask me to pass her things rather than work out she could get them if she really wanted to. This could just be because its easier to ask me to get things, but I had to mention it.

That’s about it. The NP also asked me how I was as well, which was nice. I filled her in on my side of things and how this had strengthened me and made me more focussed on the important things on life.

NP (to both of us):- Do you think the accident has brought you closer together
dp :- I wouldn’t have thought it could, but it has.
kp :- Yes, I would say the same, I wouldn’t have thought it could, but things are definately more close and our love is more intense now

Aaaaaaaaarrrrrrrrrrr :-)

Well said love.

After the psychoanalysis session, we had tomato soup for lunch and then went to physio.

kp was on her side for most of the session strengthening her muscles with the main man. He finished the session by getting kp to stand. She stood with a physio either side, but this time was a bit different, they weren’t helping her legs in any way and were just supporting her hands to make sure they didn’t push off the surface. She managed it beautifully, the first time.

He then got her to sway from side to side and whilst the weight was on the left leg, move her right leg forward slightly. No problem. And then back again.

She then sat down for a rest.

He then asked her to stand again. This time the stand was a lot weaker and took a lot longer. She kind of stood up on her right leg, but her left gave way and she squirmed her way up. The main man and assistant were laughing.

kp:- What are you laughing at ?

I think she was totally unaware what her left side had done.

I later did an impression of her stand to Karen and she was in stitches.

That’s it for today. Marie and Michelle arrived at 4pm. kp and I were fast asleep. They had brought teas/coffees from Quenellies. :-)

Day 140 – Thursday 15th September – Addendum

Forgot to mention that Karen has decided to come home for the weekend starting tomorrow night (2 nights, 2 days effectively). We have a few defences in mind to counter the sleepless nights that made last weekend so difficult.

So, blogs may be sparse over the weekend.

ALSO, another bit of good news !

Tony Sagar (ex work colleague of Karen) has managed to convert Karen’s single Donny Osmond ticket into a wheelchair ticket, so she can still go and see him in concert at the Metro Radio Arena in Gateshead. Last time Donny came to Newcastle, kp couldn’t use her ticket because she wasn’t feeling well. So, she is over the moon at being able to go this time and a bonus will be that the disabled area is probably very close to the stage. :-) I am going also (yay !) to look after her. But I may well take some Y-fronts and chuck them at Donny in the excitement !

30th September, Donny WATCH OUT !

Day 141 – Friday 16th September

Had to take one of the dogs to the vet today, gammy leg, but because it was hot chicken day today I actually didn’t arrive any later at the hospital.

We had a natter and then did the bath thing. No soak at all today, wasn’t in the mood, I think she was excited about going home and wanted to get cracking with the day.

Bath over, chips delivered, we took into our Hot Chicken. kp wasn’t in the mood for that either. And I had to eat her chips – hard life. Started to get a little concerned at this point.

Snooze time before physio (1.30pm). It was only 45 mins to snooze but every snooze helps. I was well ready for it. Both out like lights and at 1.40pm kp woke me saying we were late for physio. The main man doesn’t work Fridays so it was his assistant who we really like and have a good natter with. Physio basically consisted of 3 prolonged stands while the assistant worked on kp’s hands.

Once back in the room, we had some bladder issues where kp was uncomfortable with a full bladder and we couldn’t work out why. But it seemed to sort itself out.

No time for snoozes before Deborah J. (one of kp’s work colleagues) came in for a visit. She brought some lovely flowers and goodies for kp and we went for a nice cup of tea in the coffee shop. Marie and Glenn joined us before they jetted off to Crete for a week’s WELL DESERVED holiday. Thanks Marie ! And Glenn for carrying the weekend’s packing (for kp) down to the car.

On the way home, I popped in at Sainsburys for some shopping. kp waited in the car.

At home, the dogs made a nice fuss over kp, not as much as the other day, but kp was happy to see them.

It was a lovely sunny day, but a bit cool but she enjoyed a nice cup of tea outside nonetheless and we had a bit of a natter. kp has started to realise that being home isn’t like before and she is feeling quite trapped, being totally reliant on me for pretty much everything.

Her feet were like blocks of ice, in fact, they are sometimes like that even at the hospital, so hot water bottle to the rescue. They took a bit of warming.

Pasta tonight for tea and then an early night I think. kp is very pale and has been delaying sleep for most of the afternoon to ensure a good night tonight. I won’t have a problem sleeping for sure.

That’s it for today. Just got your blogs Ronnie, going to read them out to kp who is in bed now, trying to get warm.

Will blog tomorrow night, time permitting.

Day 142 – Saturday 17th September

Not the best of days today.

kp had an awful night sleep last night. She wanted turning about 5-6 times during the night to try and get comfy. Each time she tried to sleep before needing turning again.

We had a whole load of ammunition to battle against the lack of sleep :-

  • Pillows to prop her up
  • Windows to open to keep cool (last week she was too hot)
  • Hot Water bottle to keep her feet warm (feet felt too cold last week)
  • and the Ace Card up the sleeve was Tamazepam (sleeping tablet)

As the first few hours of the night dragged on, we had employed all tactics but the sleeping tablet. We tried that and even that didn’t help.

She said she didn’t sleep at all, but on at least two occasions, she was snoring like a trooper.

Of course, this then set the day off on the wrong path. If you haven’t had your sleep, you don’t feel ready to tackle the day ahead. We had half thought about going to Ikea, but that was quickly knocked on the head as we were both exhausted.

I left kp in bed to try and get some sleep while I walked the dogs. We then got her up (which takes quite a while), and had breakfast (at lunchtime).

We were then both gagging for a snooze. I had some other ideas about getting her comfy and we found one that worked a treat. Basically, kp transfers from the wheelchair to the bed (with the duvet still on the bed, she lies down (with help of course) and then I cocoon her up in the duvet. She has is like a sausage roll wrapped in pastry. This gives her warmth and the security that she can’t fall out of bed. I think that was half the problem the night before. She slept best whilst she was in the middle of the bed and not on her side of the bed.

So, fingers crossed, that we have cracked the sleeping thing. I think we may have, but tonight we will know for sure.

Today has been a very solemn day with kp hardly speaking, 50% i believe is down to tiredness, the other 50% is down to the fact she is realising more that she may be home, but it isn’t like home used to be. She is 100% reliant on me moving her around the house, getting her out of the wheelchair etc and I know she is fed up of it. I can tell part of her is thinking “Oh, I have to bother David again”. I keep telling her it is no bother, but in the middle of night, when I am deep asleep and I have to move her for the 4th time to a different side, I do find it very hard.

But I don’t let on.

The last couple of hours have been a bit problematic. kp thinks she has dislodged the catheter and is uncomfortable. She is curled in a certain position which gives her some relief, and I have had a bit of a wiggle to see if that helps, but it doesn’t, so we are waiting for the District Nurse to come out.

Hopefully, she will be her soon.

After the nurse has been, assuming all is ok, we will be having Pizza and X-Factor.

I think this will be it for tonight re blogs.

Fingers crossed she sleeps tonight because the days are so much more enjoyable after a good sleep.

Day 142 – Saturday 17th September – Addendum

Spoke too soon.

When I knew the District Nurses were on their way, I ordered the pizzas thinking it would be some magic wiggle they did and all would be fine.

They examined kp and the catheter and explained that it was situated ok and that they are very hard to dislodge, and the fact it was still draining meant it was ok. So, kp felt reassured and the nurses left. They were very nice and said if she had any doubts to call them back.

Immediately after they left, we started to get kp back in the wheelchair to go through to watch X-Factor with the imminent pizza. But the pain was back and is probably better described as “agony”. It seemed to come and go like labour pains. Her whole body would crease up, and her left arm would go very tight into her chest. Her left leg shook violently (which it tends to do after heavy exertion (something to do with the stroke)). It was hard to watch, and all I could do was comfort her.

We called the district nurses back. In between these spasms of pain, I got the oven on a low heat to receive 2 pizzas, knowing we may be a little late by the time the nurses had been and gone.

Pizzas arrived and went straight into the oven.

5 minutes later, the nurses were back with loads of kit from the car. They tried to do a bladder wash, which helps clean out the catheter, but they struggled to get anything in. What little they did get in, came out with blood in it :-(

They suspected some sort of infection and their next step would be to change the catheter and gets some samples for analysis. They also suggested ringing the ward for advice, given they know kp’s history etc. The district nurse spoke to the ward nurse and the conclusion of the conversation was that we should Karen back into hospital, so they could change the catheter there and do the tests needed. kp was happy with this, I think she would have gone anywhere they said to be sure she could get rid of the pain.

The nurses went and I frantically packed kp’s bag and drove kp to the hospital. She had a few more spasms along the way and was glad to get back to her hospital bed.

She looked exhausted. The night nurse at the ward checked kp’s stats, and there was no temperature or anything to worry about. When kp lies down, the spasms don’t come. This is how we had managed to wait the 4 hours for the district nurses to come. Now she was back on the ward bed lying down, she was ok again.

By now, she probably has a new catheter in and hopefully with that some relief.

If anyone would like a dried out pizza (choice of “Onion, Garlic & Mushroom” or “Doner Kebab”), please leave your address in a comment and state your preference.

Day 143 – Sunday 18th September

Arrived at 10.20am at the hospital to find a kp out for the count. We had a little natter when she heard me clunking around. They had fitted a new catheter. Still blood in the urine, but she hadn’t had any more spasms. It seems lying on her back is key.

She wanted more snooze, so I joined her for what turned out to be 3.5 hours sleep !!! It was lovely sleep for both of us.

We woke up 5 minutes before my mum and dad arrived. They were taping the Newcastle – Blackburn match to watch when they got home so didn’t want to know the score. The Pollard Family are Blackburn fans. It’s hard in a Newcastle Hospital to avoid the score of a Newcastle match. The nurses hardly murmured at the time, but unfortunately outside kp’s window were some workmen and every so often we would hear a cheer. Either mum and dad chose not to hear it, or they thought Newcastle workmen were generally cheery people (from watching too much “Auf Wiedersehen Pet” probably)

They had brought with them Cottage Pie which we were due to have at home with kp, but alas I will have to eat it on my own.

After they left, we had a bath, which kp was gagging for. We had a few more spasms of pain whilst getting ready for the bath, but she seems to have got the hang of riding them out. After the bath, one of the nurses came in to tell kp the result of her sample test, and it showed no infection, which in a way is a bit worrying, given her pain and blood in the urine. Maybe the doctor will look into it tomorrow. I get the impression it is not something to worry about.

I left about 5.20pm with kp queued up for an evening’s viewing on ITV2.

Tomorrow she has a set of psychological tests to determine the extent of the stroke on her brain. Should be fun.

As Dad said, I should bring in a sign for the door saying “Exam in Progress”

That’s it for today. Mowing Lawn time for me.

Day 144 – Monday 19th September

Karen’s spasms of pain seem to have subsided which is good news and her urine has no more blood in it, so good news on that front.

However……….She was very upset this morning, bordering on inconsolable. She is sick of being in hospital, but more sick that when she does go home she can’t walk or even stand by herself. She is also concerned that she won’t be able to walk again.

kp:- “I don’t think I have the strength in my left leg”

It is heartbreaking for her. I can’t put in words how utterly demoralised and down she was. There was nothing I could say, nothing I could do apart from listen, but she hardly spoke. All I could do was pass her tissues, which she kept stuffing up her nighty arm (left side).

She wanted the day to continue as normal, so we did the bath routine with tears still flowing. By the time she got to the bath, she had stopped crying, but was very quiet. When her nighty was taken off, more tissues came out than I could count. I don’t think she could feel they were there, and she obviously wasn’t counting as I passed them to her.

Bath over, she just stayed quiet as she did her hair. When it came to lunchtime, she didn’t want any of the soup I had brought in. She just wanted to be quiet.

Today was the psychological tests by the neuro-psychologist lady. As soon as she arrived, she could tell kp wasn’t ready for tests and I left the room as the ladies talked through Karen’s sadness/upset. After about 45 minutes, I was ushered in for the tests. The lady had done a marvellous job on Karen’s upset. She had put everything in perspective and given kp a new angle or two to look at things from. She also gave me some tips as to how to get kp out of the upset if it happens again. Distraction is the key apparently. She mentioned something about coming in in a clown costume and doing tricks, but thankfully she was just joking. Karen’s mood was noticeably better in time for the tests.

The tests were very interesting (for me as an onlooker) :-

  • The first one was 50 words which Karen had to read out, starting off with things like dog and cat and then going to homily and iridescent and other big words that were hard to pronounce unless you knew the meaning of the word. I think it was some sort of basic IQ test.
  • Then it was time to remember a short story and recall as many facts as you can remember. kp did better than I did at this one.
  • Then another story with a facts recall
  • Then the lady read out letters and numbers and kp had to put the numbers first in numerical order and then the letters in alphabetical order
  • The hardest test was when she read out 10 pairs of words and kp had to memorise them (Rose & Paper, Truck & Glass, Bank & Cartoon). She would then read out Bank and kp had to remember what word came with Bank. REALLY hard. She then repeated the list about 5 times to see how better she got at it.
  • Then there was a test where she had to say how things were alike. eg Cat and Dog (answer would be animals). All these tests start off easy and then get harder and harder until you fail. Some of the harder ones I can recall were Steam and Fog, Democracy and Monarchy,.
  • Then she read out sequences of numbers which kp had to put them in the right order and read out. Easy when its 2 numbers, but when you get to 5 numbers wrong, it’s bloody hard.

The funniest moment was when kp was first told about having to read out numbers in numerical order.

Lady NP :- I am going to read you some numbers and you have to read them back to me in numerical order
kp :- ok
Lady NP :- ok, for example 9….7, you would say 7….9
kp :- ok
Lady NP :- ok, let’s start…………4…..2
kp :- 3

I laughed out loud ‘cos she clearly hadn’t understand the test. kp was laughing at the fact she had misunderstood it so badly.

The last test went back to the stories she had started with and she had to recall as much as possible about them.

The upshot of all the tests is kp is bright (I was amazed at this), and has an “ok” short term memory, but a very good long term memory. (she remembered more about the stories the second time she was asked (weirdly)). It was a generally positive result, with the exception of 2 things.

She has to think a lot harder to work things out or remember things.
She has a small retention bucket for facts. In other words, if you want to tell kp a story she remembers, she needs to be told it a few times, so she can pick up all the key facts.

I was impressed with how well kp did given she had a Renault ram into her at 60mph. Very proud !

Tests over, it was physio time.

Today, kp wanted to pin the main man down to how long it would be before she walks. He said within 2 months. kp was happy with this and has already started counting the weeks. Week 1 is gone, we are now in Week 2. I hope, for Main Man’s sake, she can !

Today’s physio was unstiffening kp’s pelvis, which the main man did brilliantly (as per). The only downside to this was at the end of the session, he asked her to stand and she couldn’t. She normally can stand with assistance, but it was a lot of effort today and assistance from the main man. This was to be expected apparently given what he had done.

Eileen kindly let the dogs out for us, so I could stay until 5.45pm (Marie being on holiday). kp had a bit of Minced Beef and Mash, but the food is very unappetising and I nearly took a photo of the Butterscotch Tart, it was that bad, but I don’t think kp will want to be reminded of that again.

I left a much more upbeat Karen I am pleased to say.

Hopefully she will be more the usual kp tomorrow. We have lined lots of things up for the weekend so she has something to look forward to :-)

Day 145 – Tuesday 20th September

Cracking Day today.

kp has turned a corner mentally thanks to the NeuroPsychologist. She is back to her perky self. We have lots of plans for the weekend which is giving her something to aim for. Lots of visitors lined up for each day during the week and distraction is definately helping her keep positive.

Physio today was leg strengthening, and kp finished the session by asking the main man if she would need a zimmerframe to walk. He said he didn’t envisage a zimmer, but she may need a “walking aid” of some description, and hinted at a stick. It wasn’t clear if this would be a permanent need or a temporary one, but kp wasn’t overly worried.

Deborah (Titters) and Lydia came today and we had SUCH a good laugh. kp was belly laughing on many an occasion. Those two were tittering with laughter sounding like the mice from Bagpuss, which in turn made kp laugh harder. kp was toying with the idea of going home this afternoon, but she was glad she stayed for the visit.

Titters and Lydia are a great double act, and thanks ladies, you really perked kp up !!!

Titters, always check with me before you say ANYTHING in the future about the blog. I nearly got a formal warning ! ;-)

Beautiful day outside today and kp and I spent about 40 minutes outside over 2 visits. I should have got a photo, but I was too busy enjoying the moment.

Tomorrow, we should have Michelle, Adele and Vdfromboro to keep her entertained :-)

Day 146 – Wednesday 21st September

Rip-roaring day today. What a cracker. We have had as much funny as yesterday with the Titters and Lydia mice (as if that was possible !), and some real bonus top of the range physio action. I am still amazed at today. It will become clear later in the blog what I am on about.

“It started with a kiss.” (Writer and Artiste for a bonus point)

Beautiful day weatherwise, so we spent quite a lot of time in the lovely sun after bath and tea and toast (cooked by dp). Mean Toast if I say so myself. The key is to eject the toast at just the right speed and to butter with a firm but steady hand, ensuring swift delivery to impatient wife. Sorry, that should just read “wife”.

kp and I completely missed a note from the physio saying it was going to be later than planned, so we turned up 15 minutes early only to return to the room wondering “what note”. The physio had hidden the note on the front of Karen’s door in plain sight on bold yellow post-it note paper. Doh !

Physio today rocked like a rocker rocking on a rocking house, who knows how to rock very hard. It rocked.

We started off with leg strengthening stuff, where kp had to push the main man away with both her legs

She did lots of this with the main man egging her on to kick him against the wall. kp was polite and did the best she could to push him away.

Rest, then more physio kicking.

He then sat her on the end of the bench and worked on her left arm/hand. And this is where I got a bit carried away and got slack with the camera. He asked kp to place her left hand on her left knee. Which she did, albeit slowly. She tried to lift it onto her knee (using her shoulder) and he persuaded her to slide it across the leg. It worked.

He then wanted her to move her hand back to her hip so the conversation went like this :-

Main Man :- ok, now imagine your left hand moving back to your hip
kp (in totally serious voice) :- Imagine it or do it ?

Well, we were in stitches. Karen can be such a pedant. In no time she was laughing at herself which made us laugh more.

ANYWAY, she did it. It then got harder and she had to move it from her left knee to her right knee. She needed a bit of assistance at the elbow, but cracked it.

kp :- Well, I have never done that before.

I was all smiles and very proud. It’s something which sounds so simple to most of us, but for kp, it took SOOOOOOOOOOOO much concentration and she cracked it. Whilst all of this is going on, I can’t underestimate how much she has to look at her left arm/hand and will it to do what she wants.

But she gets there.

Some more leg work followed and then the finale which absolutely floored me. I was amazed, amazed ! I doubted (if I am honest) that she would be able to do it AT ALL, and certainly not so soon.

The main man got kp’s wheelchair and placed it in front of her with the handles facing her as if she was going to push it. She stood up (on her own), and step by step she pushed it forward. She had a physio either side of her for safety and to be fair they helped her left leg/foot along (which effectively she was trying to lift up like her right). But she was trying to get it to move along. Her right leg worked BEAUTIFULLY, JUST LIKE A NORMAL STEP ! Her left didn’t flow at all, and if it weren’t for the physios help in positioning it wouldn’t have supported her weight, but once they help with the fine tuning of its position, it could bear weight !!!

This is a photo took early on, before I got blown away by it all.

I was stunned, amazed, proud, smiling from ear to ear and mouthing to Karen words like “amazing, marvellous”.

She couldn’t have done it without the physios there, but she will in time, just like a week or so ago, she couldn’t stand without them there. It was such an achievement and it just seemed to carry on. I am being conservative when I say she did 12 steps !!! I am sure it was more, but at least 12. At the end of it, she sat in the wheelchair and the main man turned it round to show her how far she had come, probably about 10-12 feet. Very impressive.

On the way back from physio, I couldn’t help muttering to myself and kp

“That was amazing, amazing, incredible” etc etc……

“I thought that was about 3-4 weeks off.

kp phoned my dad which she invariably does when she has achieved something big and he was chuffed to bits.

Bit more fresh air followed, still lovely, and then we went back to the room just as Adele and Michelle arrived. They started doing girly talk so that was my queue to lay out my blanket and pillow and have 40 winks. After about 30 minutes, kp’s consultant came round on his rounds. I heard him and by the time he was in the room, I was halfway up from lying, basically kneeling on the blanket.

Consultant :- Oh sorry, are you praying ?

I may have been facing Mecca by accident, and the blanket probably did look like a prayer mat, but I can honestly say, prayer wasn’t on my mind.

We had a cracking 30 minutes with the consultant who said how well kp was doing and

Consultant :- “Medically, you don’t need to be in hospital any more”

Basically, we could do all the drugs she has at home, but all she was in hospital for now was the physio. Good to hear, although we felt this was the case, but its nice to hear it from the consultant.

The care kp gets in Ward 22 is awesome, and although we could possibly get by at home, it’s very reassuring to have so many skills so close at hand.

Jane and Ronnie had arrived whilst the consultant was in, and we joined them downstairs for tea/coffees. We were howling laughing at the conversations we were having, and it is so nice to see kp belly laughing again. It feels like she is back to her normal self. Long may it last.

That’s it for today.

They don’t come much better than the last couple of days, but if we get somewhere close to this, we will all be happy.

. Page Hits View Stats