Archive for November, 2005

Day 187 – Tuesday 1st November

Uneventful day

Fast asleep when I arrived this morning. She had been so sweaty in the middle of the night, the staff had had to change her sheets at 4am.

Physio followed bath.

Today, it was stair work. Not climbing stairs, but using the first stair to really tax kp’s lifting power in her left leg.

She started doing step ups and step downs, then progressed to step ups, and step downs without putting the other foot on the floor (a kind of tease of a step up). The main man then had her stand facing the handrail with both feet on the first step. She then had to swing one of the feet out and lower it to the floor (without putting weight on it). She cheated a couple of times, which we had a laugh at.

What she was doing was very hard. I envisaged myself doing it, and it would have taxed anyone. A couple of times one leg or the other gave way under the exertion, but the main man was there to stop a mishap.

kp was exhausted after the physio and walking a bit stiffer than normal.

There is a good chance there is no physio tomorrow, so I suggested to kp that she come home for the afternoonm, stay the night. We could ring in themorning to see if physio is on, and if it isn’t she could have the whole day at home and go back on Thursday.

kp:- I am too tired to think of it.

Very strange, I thought. She normally jumps at a chance to go home.

So, we had a 2-3 hour snooze. Sleep over, I offered her the chance to go home again. But she didn’t feel too hot, and wasn’t up to the hassle of going home. (I expect she means packing, getting the drugs, going to the car etc…. which I normally do anyway). Think she is on a bit of a downer today.

Day 188 – Wednesday 2nd November

Fast asleep when I arrived this morning just before 10am.

She complained have not getting to sleep until 7.15am :-(

We met with the DOD physio after the bath. We went for a walk to the steps, where kp went down a flight and back up a flight of stairs. There were a couple of wobbles along the way, and a “nearly fell”. She was never in any danger however with both of us either side kp. When she nearly stumbled, I leapt forward as if to catch her which made her laugh. Not that I was panicking ! ;-)

dp:- Don’t panic Mr Mainwaring ! (said in an unusually good Dad’s Army voice if I do say so myself)

Normally my voice impressions are well off. My Irish accent is regardest as one of the best Pakistani/Urdu voices around.

kp was in stitches and for a couple of minutes could do nothing but stand half way up the stairs.

Physio over, we went to Costco, WHSmiths, M&S & BHS. kp hated the experience. She finds it very frustrating being in the wheelchair when she is shopping. People are very understanding, but it is the fact I go past things, and she wants to feel things etc etc…

After 2 hours of shopping, the marriage was still secure however, so it can’t have been that bad. In fact we even went looking for an “eternity” ring. It’s my present to kp for her birthday. Unfortunately, after trying loads of rings on, it was clear we would need to wait until kp’s left hand swelling goes down. Her sizes are all to pot and we can’t get her other rings off to see what sizes they are.

When we arrived back, we went straight to sleep and we were both out like lights.

Tonight kp was going to have a pizza night with Jane and Marie, but there has been a bad accident on the A19 and after 40 minutes stuck on the A19, they have decided it is probably best to leave it for another night.

Day 189 – Thursday 3rd November

Uneventful day.

Whilst I run the bath for kp, she washes her face and cleans her teeth. She now tries to hold the toothbrush in her left hand as she puts the toothpaste on.

When I returned to pick kp up for the bath, she had toothpaste all over her left hand. She had no idea until I pointed it out. She tutted and laughed.

After the bath, we went to Sainsburys to get a few supplies in as physio wasn’t until 2.30pm.

Lovely snooze followed Sainsburys.

Physio followed snooze – It was mostly hand/arm work on the table in front of her. But, to finish, the main man did the moonwalking experience, where he grabs Karen by her hips from behind and moves them in a random fashion and kp ends up moon dancing across the physio room. Funny to watch.

Physio over, kp walked back to her room with no stick :-) . Marie had made the bed and tidied the room. We only had to wait for drugs before we were off for the weekend. We only had to wait a few minutes before the nurses came to check the drugs off. They were happy with them.

We came home only to find there are only enough drugs for 3 days, which means either kp needs to go back Sunday afternoon or we need to go in for drugs. :-(

We just don’t seem to have any luck with drugs at all. :-(

Marie and kp had a good natter when we got home, before Marie went for the bus home.

kp went straight to bed after Marie left, not to sleep, but to rest her eyes. REST HER EYES MY ARSE !

She wants Egg, Beans and Chips for tea. It’s a craving she has. Her wish will be fulfilled.

ok, bloggers……….It is confirmed…………

kp is coming home next Thursday afternoon. Everyone is welcome. There will be food, alcoholic and not so alcoholic beverages on hand for all attendees. We have confirmed a morning physio session, which means we should get away about 12.30pm to 1pm. So, if you would like to come, please do.

So we can plan the food accordingly, please could you text me on 07973461875 if you are coming. For those that I know that are coming already, obviously you don’t need to text. Everyone is welcome, from kp’s work colleagues, to blog readers we don’t even know about, to those we do, to kp’s real friends, pretend friends, and family. Staff from the Q.E. who have cared for Karen are PARTICULARLY welcome.

For directions, give me a ring.

I would suggest a 1pm (latest) arrival for guests and I will make sure kp doesn’t get there before then. There will be someone at the house from 12pm.

The more the merrier.

Day 190 – Friday 4th November

Uneventful Day.

A very subdued kp today. She stayed in bed until about 11am. Got up for breakfast, went back to bed until about 5pm.

I asked her if she was ok about 3pm and she said “fine” not 100% convincing me, but when I asked her about 4pm, she reassured me she was “ok” and was in fact having a nice lazy day.

I was a little more sold.

Tonight she has had tea and watched a program and talked to Ronnie on the phone and I think she is ok.

She’ll probably go to bed shortly although how she can be tired I don’t know.

Day 191 – Saturday 5th November

I walked the dogs and went to the hospital to collect the missing drugs while kp packed in the Zzzzs.

When I got back she still wanted some extra beauty sleep. I think she got up about 12.30pm in the end. We had breakfast (ahem !) watching Jonathan Ross.

I suggested a walk outside to kp and she was all for it, so we walked round to Eileen’s for a cup of tea/pint of bitter. I was on the tea.

I have a nice video clip of kp walking outside, but can’t get it online at the moment. Will keep trying.

After 20 minutes or so at Eileen’s, we came back to check emails, before watching a bit of telly that I had taped back in May for kp.

We have had a nice pizza doing the usual Saturday night thing, with the dogs going ape at all the fireworks.

Day 192 – Sunday 6th November

Uneventful Day

kp slept until 11am. Funny moment during the night. kp was snoring like a trooper. It got so bad I had to nudge her awake. I picked the moment of the nudge to coincide with the snore and on waking up, kp said (still 75% asleep) :-

kp:- Oh, I wondered what that noise was ?

I told her about this today, and she found it very funny. The snore was in her dream allegedly.

After breakfast, we went into Durham to do more clothes shopping. Durham’s cobbles were fun in the wheelchair and I am particularly fond of the bl++dy steep hill I had to go down/up to get to M&S.

I am a little bit worried that I am beginning to turn into a woman. I found myself saying things like………..

“Oooooo, what a lovely blue !”
“It really suits you”.
“V-necks are out, Crew Necks are in”

A few weeks ago, I would have thought a crew neck was the part of a body a sailor has between his head and shoulders.

Shopping over, it was back for a snooze and then Roast Lamb.

For the first time I have cracked the laying of kp’s cutlery. Every weekend (until today) I have been laying a knife and fork for her, just like you would. But, obviously, she can only use one hand, so today, I remembered to only lay a fork. It’s only took me 6 weeks !!

That’s pretty much today.

Day 193 – Monday 7th November

What an AWFUL night. I thought we had cracked nights. How wrong I could be !

3 commode trips. One clearing up dog wee, because Bonnie (one of our 3 lady German Shepherds) was scared of the fireworks and wouldn’t go out. It seems all my bitches have bladder issues ;-) Christ, I am gonna get it when kp reads that one ;-)

To make matters worse, I had to be up at the crack of dawn to get the dogs walked before I had to be at the dentist at 9am for a filling. When I got back, kp wanted to sleep some more, so she ended up getting out of bed about 11am.

She sent an email after breakfast and then we went for a 35 minute snooze. That’s all the time we had before we had to leave for the hospital.

No sooner we were back at the hospital than it was time for physio. kp had had some pain in her groin area over the weekend. I thought it was wind, because she packs a Force 9 Gale for emergency embarassment. But the main man moved her hips, back, legs and sussed that it was to do with her right hip not having as much movement as it should. And because of this, the muscles in the groin (rightside) tighten up

He knows his stuff and it seemed spot on. He suggested some exercises that may help. She can do them in bed and they involve raising her right leg and moving it outwards and inwards in a certain fashion.

Physio over, I got kp dressed for bed (3.30pm) and left her watching TV as I went to start preparations for the big day – Coming home day :-)

PS – Click Here to see the video I promised over the weekend of Karen walking outside. When I see this, I think of Clive Dunn and the song he sang with the words “jacaded feet”. Does anyone remember that song ?

Day 194 – Tuesday 8th November

kp was full of beaming smiles today when I arrived. I think she is getting excited about coming home and can see the end of the first battle is in sight. It was lovely to be greeted by such a beautiful smile.

We went straight to do the bath thang. After the bath, I normally apply a new dressing to kp’s buttock wound (It’s healing nicely, and you can’t see any hole now, just 2 pieces of skin that are joining together), but the area around the wound is really angry and inflamed, so I thought it may be the wound may be healed enough to stop putting the dressing on. The inflamed bit is from where the sticky bit of the dressings touches the skin. And it gets very sore and itchy for kp (a bad combination). So, today, I asked one of the Sisters to have a look. She thought that kp was allergic to the dressing, but she believed that we should try it for a while without a dressing !

That means kp has NO more dressings anywhere ! :-) – Yay !

Once the sister had left, and just before I got her dressed, kp looked at her stomach wound and said :-

kp:- “That’s not right”.

It is a HUGE wound, it starts just below the breasts, can I say “breasts”, better say “chest area”, and goes all the way down to about belt level. The scar is a wide scar, probably an inch at its widest, 1cm at its narrowest, but there are the usual stitch marks that make it even wider. I would say about 10 inches wide at about 10 intervals from top to bottom.


kp:- “That’s not right”
dp:- “Whaddya mean love ?”
kp:- “It should be that big, the scar”
dp:- “Well, I don’t think they had time to do pinhole surgery. It was more a case of ‘She’s going to die. Slash her open, get her innards out onto the table and check for bleeding.’”
kp:- “Yer, I know that, but it shouldn’t be that big !”

I don’t think kp likes her scar (understandably) and I can’t see her wearing any more bikinis or thongs. Perhaps that’s a blessing.

We went for lunch at Quenellies, Chicken Korma for me and Hot Beef Sandwich + chips for kp. Lovely.

Back for a 20-minute lie-down before Physio.

One of the auxiliary nurses (AN) popped in to see kp to tell her a story.

AN:- I have been telling porkies.
kp:- What do you mean ?
AN:- I told X (another nurse) that David brought you back in after the weekend on his motorbike. I said “I tried to tell him that she wasn’t really well enough to go on a motorbike”, but he wouldn’t listen to me, just being an auxiliary.
kp:- Did she believe it ?
AN:- Aye. She wasn’t very happy with David.

We found this very funny. So, I may be getting it in the neck, unless someone tells her first !! Hope they do.

Physio was based on right hip loosening today. The main man moved kp into all sorts of angles to try and get her hip muscles to slacken a bit. After that, it was time for kp to do another timed walk.

Last time, swotty bloggers will remember that kp did 10m in 35 seconds, taking 40 paces. Today, she whopped a massive 7 seconds off that, and only took 35 paces. In other words, her strides are getting longer and she is walking more normally. It was very impressive, although Daley Thompson would no doubt brag that he can do 10m in just over a second. But he isn’t wearing Karen’s slippers which really slow her down.

Physio over, it was time to tuck kp up for bed and make tracks.

Good day. Only 2 more nights and then she is home for good :-) Tick, Tock, Tick, Tock…….

Day 195 – Wednesday 9th November

H – 1 (Home minus 1) and counting.

Karen was asleep when I arrived, but was soon gabbing like a good ‘un. She is so excited to be coming home. Karen NEVER gets excited. She is known for it in the family. So, tomorrow must be something very very special to her for her to show any signs of excitement.

We started the day by writing a few cards out to the hospital staff. Karen had done a poem for the staff and it needed writing out onto the card.

Cards done, we went for a bath. I ran it, took kp in, got her in her birthday suit and then kp noticed the bath temperature wasn’t right. It was 25′C. It had been filled with cold water only. There was no hot water on the ward. So, I got her half decent again and we went back to her room to wait for the hot water to be fixed.

Whilst we waited for hot water, I started taking down the remainder of cards from kp’s walls. Marie had done most of it a week or so back.

The hot water was sorted in no time.

Bath over, we went for some lunch at Quenellies.

Karen was so talkative today. We kept reminiscing about the times when she stood up for the first time, the time she went outside for the first time etc….etc….

I told her how proud of her I was. She still didn’t shut up and I loved every minute of it.

It is so refreshing and lovely to see kp excited about something.

In Physio today, the main man basically asked kp what would she like him to do. She wanted her arms to be loosened up a bit, as they were painful when she moved them to certain area.

This reminds me of a funny thing from yesterday. Each day, kp and I do some exercises for kp’s left arm. Well, kp does them, I just tell her to do them.

As a new one, I told her to touch her nose with her left hand. Well, the funniest thing happened.

kp thrust her hand in the air as fast as she could, realised it was going to reach her nose, and so pushed her head down as fast as possible to see if it would meet the nose halfway. Yes, cheating by anyone else’s standards, but sheer genious. They didn’t meet halfway unfortunately, but 10/10 for effort.

kp was laughing at herself, for what she had done. I asked her why does she move her arm so fast. She explained that she can only get it that high if she gets it going fast, as it just runs out of steam. She basically banks on the momentum it has with speed to carry it that much further.

It’s good that we can smile at this kind of thing. I had kp in stitches the other day, doing an impression of her when she has just woken up and she is walking to the loo. It basically involves small bitty steps to start off with, as she tries to encourage her left leg to kick into action and do a “full” stride. The impression is funnier than the description.

I went home about 3pm today to prepare for the Queen’s homecoming. Marie stayed on.

Whilst I was away, kp’s consultant came in to say his goodbyes and wish her all the best. That was nice of him. Lovely bloke.

When I returned to the hospital at 8pm to pick Marie up, she told me that kp had been to the loo SIX times since I had been gone. She put it down to kp’s excitement.

We left kp for the last time at the hospital, packing pretty much everything (apart from kp) in the car.

We can’t wait for tomorrow. When Marie and I got home, we carried on the preparations for tomorrow, and had completed them by about 11.15pm. Veronica is arriving at Durham station (from London) at 1.15am. Once I have picked her up and brought her back, it will be bedtime all round.

Day 196 – Thursday 10th November

Today has been a momentous day. It has been so jam-packed full of fun, relief and alcohol that I can’t do a blog justice tonight.

We have had such a good day.

Tomorrow, kp has an appointment at the RVI in the morning and we have the home help person coming in the afternoon, so I will try and get today’s blog entry up asap, but it may not be until tomorrow night.

I hope all bloggers understand that today had to be lived, and not reported on straightaway.

Day 196 – Thursday 10th November – Coming Home Day

This is the big homecoming blog entry. It was written on Saturday afternoon, but has been inserted in the correct order.

This is a long blog entry and packing a lunch and a thermos for a break halfway through would be advisable.

It started for kp the night before when she said goodbye to a member of the night staff who had gotten very close to kp. There were lots of tears. She had an “ok” night’s sleep. I thought she would have been up all night.

“Coming Home” Day was a very long day for me also. At 1.15am, I was picking Ronnie up from the Durham train station. At 7.30am, I was walking the dogs. At 9.55am I was outside Costco waiting for the doors to open to nip in and get some last minute buffet items that Tesco had missed off the list, and the all-important “Thanks for Everything” cake for the Ward 22 staff.

Mind you, if Tesco had delivered everything, I don’t think I would have got it in the fridge :-

I still managed to get to the hospital for 10.30am, which I was pleased at.

We had a little chat before bathtime….

dp:- So, do you think you will get emotional when you leave hospital love ?
kp:- I know they have said everyone does, but I think I’ll be alright.

We had the quickest bath ever today before Physio which was at 11am. The main man asked kp what she wanted to do today……….

kp:- Well, I have seen lots of stroke patients playing Dominoes in this room. Perhaps we could have a game of Dominoes ?

She was joking.

Instead of Dominoes, he worked on her left arm and shoulders which were a bit stiff.

To finish off, she did the long walk back to her room. At this point, it was time for her to say goodbye to the main man, a chap who has done SO much for Karen and as Karen said to me later

kp:- I don’t think I would have come so far if it wasn’t for X.

The main man congratulated kp on how well she had done and gave her a hug. At this point, kp became very emotional.

The tears didn’t stop until we got off the ward. And between the main man and the car, there was everyone else to say goodbye to. We handed the cake over to the Ward Manager and thanked her for everything she had done (as we did to all the staff we saw).

It was quite emotional to watch as kp said goodbye to everyone. I took quite a few photos of kp with the staff, but am not posting these at the request of the staff.

kp wanted to walk out of the hospital, so I loaded up her wheelchair and she walked to the lift (stick in hand) :-

She was adamant she wanted to walk to the car, so I took the opportunity to take some more photos. Here is one of her walking out the hospital door………..

Here she is outside the hospital………….

kp carried on crying for 5 minutes in the car, but soon the conversation turned to how glad she was that she had made it etc….

kp:- I love you David.

Well, this came from nowhere and I wasn’t expecting it.

dp:- Thanks love. I Love you too. I am so proud of you.

Marie, Ronnie and I had prepared the house for Karen. Marie had bought “Welcome Home” banners, Ronnie was on Helium Balloon duty, and I had done some big posters of “kp’s time in hospital”.

This poster was 7.5 feet by 3.5 feet :-

And this is a smaller collage (4ft by 3ft) :-

Here is the larger one in front of the TV with Louisa on the left :-

I rang the house 2 minutes before arrival so everyone could be outside to welcome her home (as arranged). Most of the family were there by 1pm and then various other parties arrived throughout the day.

Here is the family and some real and pretend friends (in-joke) ready for the Queen’s arrival :-

Big thanks to Marie who took most of these photos, and to Ronnie who took the video footage (more later).

She’s here, she’s here………

kp out of the car………..

Marge and kp

Marge, Abby and kp

Ronnie (Cameralady) + kp

Aunty Celia + kp

Aunty Celia, Kelly + kp

Louisa + kp

Pretend Friends Debs + Lydia + kp

Ronnie + kp

Ethan, Marie and kp

Linda Mac + kp

kp + family in kitchen

kp + family in kitchen

kp, my mum and dad and my godfather and godmother (John and Lorna Slinger)

Jane and John

The following photos were taken later in the evening and for a few of them the flash wasn’t on, so they have had to be brightened later with subsequent loss of quality.

Julie (Work Colleague)

Jane Burns having everyone in stitches

Jane again

Ethan and Kp

Danielle, kp and Sue (sorry about the lines)


A crowd round kp

The day started with champagne. I had got 5 bottles of Moet in thinking that would be enough for a toast. It turned out that it was the drink of choice and I would have run out were it not for people knowing that it is kp’s drink of choice and they brought bottles with them. So thanks for that !!

Karen and I had such a wonderful day on this day. It could NOT have been better. The atmosphere was unlike any party I have experienced before. Normally, I detest parties, but this was awesome ! Thanks to Marie who was an absolute powerhouse in the kitchen ensuring everyone was fed, thanks to Ronnie for the excellent video footage and thanks to everyone for coming and for the flowers that you brought or in some cases sent (because you couldn’t be here). We appreciate ALL your support over the last 7 months !!!!

Here is a list of those who were here on the day (in no particular order) :-

From kp’s family…….
Kelly’s baby

Our friends…..
Jane B.
Tony B.
Joan + hubby

From kp’s work…….
Angela (also in the crash)
Kevin (also in the crash)
Linda Mac

From my side………
My Mum and Dad
My Godfather and Godmother
My bezza Nigel
Caroline (ex work colleague)

I am sure there were more, but the day is a bit fuzzy due to Champagne having an alcoholic content.

I wrote a little bit of blog on the night, but fell asleep at the computer. I was in bed by 10pm. Ronnie put kp to bed at about 1am I think.

So, thanks Q.E. Ward 22 and Intensive Care and Ward 3 for ALL you did ! Thanks to everyone who texted kp with support, who wrote blog comments of support, who sent flowers, gifts etc etc… We are very grateful. A problem shared is a problem halved. Well, a problem shared in a blog is a lot less of a problem than carrying it on one’s own. So, thanks to everyone !

The blog doesn’t stop here. So many people associate “going home” (from hospital) as you are fine and well. kp is not, by any means, recovered. The recovery continues, the blog continues.

I’ll end with the best bit…………

I have edited together 2 films of the day (taken by Ronnie). For those short of time who want a taster of the homecoming day, there is a 5 minute video, for those who want the full day (18 min video), then there is a bigger download.

Click Here for the 5 minute video (It will take over an hour to download for dialup users, about 5-6 minutes for broadband users)

Click Here for the 18 minute video (It will take over 4 hours to download for dialup users, just under 20 minutes for broadband users)

For best viewing, download the clip first to your machine and then watch it, rather than watch it as it downloads it.

For those that would like it on dvd (at full quality), it is free of charge if you visit our house to see Karen :-)

Warning – You may need some tissues at hand for these clips. I did !

Day 197 – Friday 11th November

First of all, I still haven’t had time to do yesterday’s blog. I have been busy editing video footage taken by Ronnie, and hope to have it complete later tonight or more realistically tomorrow at some point. Yesterday’s blog entry will be WELL WORTH THE WAIT. It will include a 5 minute and 20 minute video clip of the day both of which have had me in tears when I was doing them.

There will also be loads of photos for those that have slow internet connections and can’t download the video clip.

ok, back to today.

After such a FANTASTIC day yesterday, things simply couldn’t be as good today, there was no way. I had gone to bed last night at approx 9pm. I had wrote a little blog entry explaining the delay in writing the update, and had fallen asleep at the computer after writing it. So, I had an early night ! I was so so tired. kp didn’t come to bed until 1am ish. Ronnie put her nighty on, and got her into bed. Thanks Ronnie.

I had to get up at 7.30am to walk the dogs and be back in time to get kp ready to go to her eye appointment at the RVI in Newcastle. The dogs were filthy and needed a good clean down after the walk, which left very little time to get kp ready. I spent more time getting 3 German Shepherds clean and dry than I did washing kp down. She can’t have a bath or shower at the moment as the bath gadget (that has been delivered) hasn’t been installed and apparently, I am not supposed to touch it. So, it’s a stand-up bath, which is not as nice for kp by a long shot.

At the Eye hospital, kp had lots of tests done. The first was a very thorough peripheral vision test. kp has good peripheral vision (Normal) in her left eye, and abysmal peripheral vision in her right. She can only see things directly in front of her. kp was compensating for this in the test. kp had to look straight ahead and a light appears from some angle (left to right, up or down). She has to buzz when she sees it. kp couldn’t see it at all with her right, until the lady made the light much bigger. Even then, she could only see the light when it was directly ahead. kp compensated for this by looking around with her right eye for the white light spot. The lady had to keep telling kp to look ahead and NOT look for the light. I lost count of the times she asked her to keep looking ahead. The lady kept her cool throughout :-)

After this, she had her eye pressure tested and then went to see the Eye Doctor. Lovely, switched-on lady.

She told Karen the good and bad news.

Eye Doctor :- Your left eye is excellent. But your right eye has suffered optic nerve damage. Glasses won’t help your right eye, and the damage is permanent and irreversible.

Now, to me, this wasn’t news. We already knew this, or so I thought.

The Eye Doctor wasn’t convinced kp would benefit 100% from glasses to help her reading and watching tv. She went on to explain that kp’s problem with reading may be partly down to her slower brain function and not just to poorer eyesight. She suggested trying those glasses you see at the chemist to see if they help reading.

Well, I didn’t think anything of it, but when we got to the car, kp was very upset. She didn’t stop crying until we got home.

Although she admitted that deep down she knew the right eye was damaged, she was expecting to hear (today) “what” could be done to help her reading and tv watching more bearable. Instead, she was told that nothing could help the right eye.

It was very sad.

kp:- I know I am slow at taking things in, and this is probably just a case of me having not realised that my eyes aren’t going to get any better, but it still makes me upset. What have i done to deserve this ?

Heartbreaking to hear. Not much I could say.

When we got back to the house, the distractions soon took her mind off the upset. The distraction came in a Jane Burn’s cooked breakfast. It was lovely.

Late Breakfast (1.30 pm) over, the home help supervisor and the social worked came to see kp. They were very helpful and detailed that they were going to get someone in 4 times a day (30 mins each visit) to help get kp up, to bed, prepare meals etc… They’ll even do ironing if you ask nicely !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! YAY !!!!!!!!!!!!!

To start off, they are going to come on Monday for just one visit, so we can build it up. They felt 4 visits a day straight away would be a bit of a shock. IT WOULD !

Whilst they were here, Ronnie and Jane went to sleep in their bedrooms. As soon as they left, kp and I joined them (not in the same beds though ;-)

We all slept until about 6pm, and are about to have a chinese.

That’s it for today.

Should have the homecoming blog done tomorrow.

Homecoming Day Blog Entry Done

CLICK HERE to go to it

Here are a couple of additions I forgot to put in………

kp wrote a poem for the staff’s card………..

There’s been some laughs,
there’s been some tears,
a New Era dawns,
let’s open the beers.

I’m homeward bound now
you’ll be pleased to hear
It’s all thanks to YOU
I’m giving you a big cheer

You are a great bunch of people
That’s why I am writing this letter
from the cleaners to the consultants
I couldn’t have asked for better.

You all are your own characters
I’ll not forget this ward
You kept me entertained
I didn’t get bored

The treatment has been great
From adhesive allevyns to intrasite gel
You’ve cared for me,
Looked after me so well

I have gone out of here
2 stones light
I am not saying
the food is …….

From the time I arrived on the Ward
where I was one big suture
It’s my time now to say
A very big thanks,
Goodbye and
Good luck for the future.

And also, I remembered a funny incident from the Homecoming day. kp was probably 2 glasses of champagne worse for wear, I was probably a little worse. kp needed the loo. Someone must have been since kp’s last visit since the commode had been taken off the loo and put to one side not that either of us noticed this consciously.

kp and I entered the loo, I got kp ready for the loo, and then she normally uses the arm of the commode to lower herself down.

Well, she just dropped like a lead weight on the (lower) toilet seat at the same time I sat on the commode seat.

She started laughing………

kp:- The commode’s not here
dp:- I know, I’ve sat on it.

Well we laughed our heads off. Funny at the time.

Day 198 – Saturday 12th November

kp and I went to sleep on Friday night about 10pm, leaving the Ronnie and JB watching a film. We were both tired.

I got up at 9am and walked the dogs and then went back to sleep with kp about 11am.

kp got up at ………wait for it…………. 2pm in the afternoon !!! She was knackered.

Jane cooked us her speciality (Bacon and Egg Baps) and we had a nice afternoon with Ronnie and Jane before the usual Saturday night entertainment.

The entertainment for the evening for the ladies was me. I was very nowty ! If someone breathed in the wrong direction, or interrupted a singer on X Factor or the results of the judges in Strictly Come Dancing, I gave them “what for”. Noone could do anything right.

I was positively looking at things to get angry at. Much to the girl’s amusement. I wasn’t amused at the time.

A little bit of self analysis and some hints from the ladies (although they weren’t ladies last night) led me to conclude that I was tired. So I went to bed at 9pm. Ronnie put kp to bed at 12am.

Day 199 – Sunday 13th November

JB and Ronnie were up at 7.30am to get Ronnie to Durham station by 8.45am.

Me and kp slept in until about 8.45am and 10am respectively.

When kp got up she was still tired and wanted to go back to bed, but we had Ethan’s birthday party to go to (our 8 year old great nephew).

We had a nice time at Marie’s watching the homecoming dvd. Michelle was in tears, kp and I were ok second time round.

kp needed the loo while at Marie’s and had to climb about 14 steep steps. She only just made it. And as for coming down, well, she could NOT have done it on her own. I was, as good as, lifting her down each step.

She was knackered.

I was very quiet the whole afternoon. I could sense my tiredness coming over me again :-(

As soon as we got home, kp hit the sack for a couple of hours while I made tea and went on my computer.

That’s it for today. Not much to report. Expect shorter blogs in the future. If there isn’t much to report, I won’t be writing babble for the sake of it.

I sense kp’s mood is about to change for the worse. There are only so many distractions I can provide. As soon as she has a day where there is nothing going on, I sense she may think “Well, what do I do now ?”

We’ll cross that bridge when we come to it !

Day 200 – Monday 14th November

Day 200 – wahey !!!

Blimey, It doesn’t feel like 200 days since the accident. Doesn’t time fly when you’re having fun ?!

Karen was in a lot of pain today when she woke up, undoubtedly due to the ascent/descent of Mount Everest (Marie’s steps) yesterday. And she did it twice !

I sat her up in bed. She was still half asleep. I threw her tablets into her mouth (which she didn’t really appreciate). She normally holds the water, while I place the tablets on her tongue, but I get bored easily so throwing them in was a bit more of a challenge today. The Queen was not amused. I think I got to the 3rd tablet before I was left in no uncertain terms that I should resort to placing them again.

Tablets in, I got her back into bed for more sleep while I walked the dogs.

Today was the first day with “home help”. Just one visit today and the purpose of this morning visit was to get kp up. It felt very strange not getting kp up after walking the dogs. It’s the natural thing for me to do, but instead I just left her asleep and started peeling veg for the evening’s Roast.

The home help lady was very nice. In time, she will be able to let herself in as we are having a secure box put outside with the key in , but for today I let her in.

She was scared sh+tless when she heard the dog barking in the Utility Room. When she found out it was a German Shepherd and there were 3 of them, I think we became her least favourite visit of the day.

She got kp up, showered her, even styled her hair, annoyingly, better than I do.

It was weird. As kp later pointed out, this is the first time since the accident that I hadn’t done it.

Shortly after she left, Marie arrived. Marie had come to sort out the flowers. kp received SOOOOOOOOOOO many bouquets of flowers on “Homecoming Day”, and they needed some Marie Magic to keep them looking spot on. Thank you soooooooo much for everyone who brought or sent flowers. kp absolutely loved them.

Marie did her stuff. kp sat in the wheelchair with a pair of scissors in her right hand and Marie would occasionally present some stems to kp for her to snip away. kp enjoyed it.

The end result was impressive :-)

kp in her flower shop

Marie and kp

Marie left just before 6pm at which point the roast was ready. We both enjoyed it, although I burnt my arm on the oven and it knacked.

kp was tired after the roast and had an early night. 7pm.

It was lovely to have kp home for the first Monday. It feels like a bit of normality again and I don’t feel as pressed for time, like I always did when going to the hospital each day.

Day 201 – Tuesday 15th November

kp’s pain had died down by this morning, she was just stiff. When she first gets up from a stationary position (like in bed), she walks really slow until she gets the rhythm. I have noticed that subconsciously I am starting to push her with my fingers to try and get her to go faster. It’s something I’ll have to unlearn. Don’t get me wrong, it’s not a dangerous push. More an encouraging nudge.

A different carer lady today. I am pleased to report that she doesn’t have the nack for doing kp’s hair that the other lady had. I can’t begin to describe the style she did with her hair, but kp couldn’t be bothered today.

Adele arrived to help us with the cleaning. The house hadn’t recovered from the homecoming party. Pretty much as soon as Adele had done our bedroom, kp and I went to sleep for 3 hours. Lovely sleep. We emerged to a lovely clean house. Thanks Adele.

The social worker came this afternoon to discuss in more detail kp’s situation and the help that she can be offered. We know the way forward a bit more now and she has lined us up with about 4 visits from different people to help with different things.

We then said goodbye to Adele, had tea with “24″ and kp then retired (at 9pm) for the evening.

Physio tomorrow at 10.30am and Lydia tipped us off that kp’s work team are working in Chester-le-Street and she has said she may call in on them on the way home from physio.

Day 202 – Wednesday 16th November

kp got a bit of a shock this morning. She was expecting to get up at 9am (which is very early for kp) to be at Physio for 10.30am. Instead the lady arrived at 7.30am just as I was getting ready to walk the dogs.

I entered the bedroom with the care lady :-

dp:- Morning Love (fear in my voice). X is here.
kp:- Do I have to get up now ?
dp:- It would be a good idea love.(gently lullaby voice)

I faffed around for 2 minutes getting the dogs ready and checked in before I left the house. kp was still in bed with the care lady standing over her in the dark. I put the light on to speed things up and promptly left to take the dogs.

We stopped off at the tip to get rid of half of the rubbish from the homecoming on the way to Physio.

Chester-le-Street hospital seems very new and clean and our lady physio seemed very nice.

She did an assessment of kp today, seeing how strong each leg/arm was, but she started off asking Karen what did she want to be able to do.

Of course, I had to say the old “ironing” joke again. Noone ever laughs, but I can’t help myself.

She wants to be able to walk the dogs, make a cup of tea and be able to use her left arm more.

The lady explained that the walk may be a more long term goal given the strength of the dogs and the length of the walk, but it was certainly something to aim for.

She then tested her balance. It started off easy and progressively got harder………

Standing up for 2 mins (Fine, no problems)
Standing up for 2 mins with feet together (She made it but with a lot more concentration required and the odd “nearly lost it”)
Putting one feet on a step, bringing it down and then repeating with the other (8x) (Not a graceful movement, more a “do it quick before I fall over affair”, but she did it)
Putting one foot directly in front of the other foot and holding for a while and then repeating the other way round (couldn’t do this without cheating), but got some marks for initiative
Bending down to pick something off the floor (SO CLOSE, but so far. She got about as far as you see in this photo, but then the last bit was a grab. She tried this about 3x and didn’t manage it)

The finale and the hardest thing was for her to stand on one leg for a while and then try it with the other leg. (She couldn’t do this at all, but boy did she try !)

Physio over, we went to see kp’s workmates. They were on a “training day”, which means they don’t take blood, but instead sit around a table gossipping all day. I mean “reading SOP’s and talking about work”. ;-)

They were very pleased to see kp and there was the odd tear from some staff and I think even kp had 1 or 2 at one moment.

We stayed for about 45 minutes while kp caught up on all the work gossip. She really enjoyed seeing her workmates again.

Then shopping in Sainsburys before home for a hot chicken lunch and then bed for 2pm.

Snooze followed. I got up at 5.30pm and kp is still asleep. She gets tired so easily, but I suppose it is to be expected.

That’s it for today.

I’ll end with a couple of photos from the last day or so.

Here is kp snoozing whilst waiting for her eye appointment (last Friday)………..

Here is kp with part of Ethan’s birthday present on (Sunday)…………

Day 203 – Thursday 17th November

Unventful Day

Home help arrived and got kp up at 10am.

She came back at 1pm to do our ironing (Allelujah, praise be !). Just before home help returned, Marie arrived for an afternoon with kp. Together they sorted out wardrobes and drawers, and orders for the Avon Lady.

I nipped in to Langley Park to do a few errands, came back for a 2 hour snooze.

Power cut occurred at 3.30pm, didn’t come back on until 7.45pm. kp was cuddled up in front of the gas fire to keep warm.

That’s it.

Day 204 – Friday 18th November

Karen wasn’t 100% this morning, physically or mentally. She had big aches and pains and needed to take additional pain meds (codeine and diclofenac) on top of Fentanyl and Gabapentin. I don’t think her body is used to all the moving around she is doing now.

After the home help lady had been and got kp up, kp wanted to start looking forward to holidays for next year and she set about checking flights. She also wanted to check her email. She couldn’t do either of these things this morning.

I think she had problems reading the emails and seeing the website, but more of the problem was she didn’t have the mental stamina (that’s the best way I can word it) to take things in. I think the last few days has been so much for her. Compared to her time in hospital, she is doing SO MUCH mentally and physically and I think it’s taking its toll a bit.

The stroke has left her less able to concentrate generally.

But, together we got through what she wanted to achieve. We then went for a snooze, but just as we were dozing off, our local Doctor popped in for a visit, which was nice. We had an appointment with him next week anyway, but managed to cram it into his visit. He left us with prescriptions for about 10 different types of drugs (over prescription slips). One big prescription. It would cost about 60 quid to get at the chemist had we not just bought one of the annual prescription cards.

kp is back snoozing again now. I suspect there won’t be anything to report between now and sleep time, but if there is, I will do an “addendum”

Day 204 – Friday 18th November – Addendum

Marie and Glenn arrived at 6.45pm and we went for a meal out with Tommy and Eileen (ace neighbours). Thoroughly enjoyable.

kp without her wheelchair as well !

Day 205 – Saturday 19th November

Uneventful Day.

Marie, Glenn and I were all up at 8am. As I usually do, I get kp up when I get up to get her to go to the loo and then she falls straight back to sleep. Today was no different, but she did add that she was really tired.

Marie asked me, after a cup of tea, if she should get Karen up now (8.15am). I suggested that that wasn’t such a good idea.

The homehelp lady didn’t get here until 10.45am and got kp up.

We had a nice breakfast with Marie and Glenn, they left, and kp and I went back to sleep from 1pm until 6.30pm, getting up just in time for “Strictly Come Dancing”.

Usual Saturday night. Loved it.


Day 206 – Sunday 20 November

Last night, kp was out like a light and I couldn’t help looking at her in bed and thinking “I am so glad you are here, love”. I kept stroking her face. I was up 2 hours just feeling happy. We discussed it in the morning, and kp said she remembered me doing it :-)

Unventful Day.

Big snoozes in the afternoon, nice sits outside in the lovely cool sunshine and a nice tea.

Day 207 – Monday 21st November

We both had an awful night’s sleep, probably due to excessive snoozing the day before.

Uneventful day really.

Home help lady #1 came round to get kp up. Pretty much as soon as she left, kp and I went back to bed for a snooze until Marie came.

Marie did loads of jobs round the house, she also brought with her some knitting needles and wool for me. I had been pestering her that I wanted to get back into knitting and today she came up trumps. She taught me the pattern for a scarf. It took me ages to crack casting on, even longer to suss the difference between knitting and purling, but I feel I have just about got it. Unfortunately, I can’t turn corners. I can get to the end of a row of the scarf, but can’t seem to start the next row, so it’ll have to wait ’til she comes up next time.

kp has started to comment about the variety of food I am presenting her with each night. I think she is getting sick of “something + chips”. It’s not as if I don’t vary the “something” part of the equation.

She’s threatening me with having to cook veg and do different kinds of potato like mash. Yikes ! All depends if I have time love ! I may be half way across knitting a row !

She’s gassing as I write this.

No doubt we will be going to bed soon – oooooooooooooo, it’s an exciting life we lead ! Knit one, purl one.

Day 208 – Tuesday 22nd November

kp dropped a bit of a bombshell tonight.

kp:- David, I have something to tell you

Of course, my mind goes into overdrive. She is having an affair. She doesn’t love me. She is in love with her lesbian Lover Ronnie and she is moving down south etc etc…………

kp:- I am having problems swallowing and have been since about a week before I left hospital.


She went on to say……..

kp:- It seems to be getting worse. Like tonight, I have had to close my eyes to get each mouthful down.
dp:- Why didn’t you tell me earlier ?

I was quite annoyed. I don’t like her keeping things from me.

kp:- I think, because if I tell you, it becomes real, and I was hoping it would get better not worse.

As soon as she had told me this, I remembered a choking fit she had had whilst the homehelp lady (#1) was here. I didn’t have to resort to the Heimlick maneuvre, but I did have to nearly slap her into tomorrow from the back to stop her choking.

We are going to contact the consultant from the hospital tomorrow to see what he says.

That aside……….

Usual Snoozy Day. Lovely snooze in the afternoon.

Thanks for all the recipes

That’s it.

Day 209 – Wednesday 23rd November

Physio today at 9.30am at Chester-le-Street hospital. This means an early rise for both kp and I. I was out with the dogs at 6.30am, and kp had to get up at 7.30am when homehelp lady #1 (HHL1) arrived. Time doesn’t start until 9am in kp’s book and even then that’s early, so 7.30am is EARLY (in capitals).

I braved the room before the home help lady. After 30 seconds, I was brave enough to put the light on and was greeted with this……….

Let’s take a vote………..Do you think she wanted to get out of bed ?

Well, she had to and that was that. I let HHL1 do the honours!

Physio today was good and concentrated on kp’s arm. The lady physio did some strength tests on her arm and then proceeded to see how much dexterity she has for practical jobs.

She asked kp to put some cones on top of each other………

kp needed help with this. Her left elbow tends to stick out more than it should, apparently because her muscles (in her left arm) have moved to a different position due to disuse.

She then tried kp on the sticks. Basically kp had to move a stick from one hole to another. She needed help with this also…..

It was clear kp’s shoulder was too stiff to achieve any of these tasks so she set away trying to find kp’s pressure points and exerting pressure on them to ease the stiffness. It seemed to work a treat. I saw kp’s shoulder go from really stiff (and raised higher than her right), to quite relaxed.

She showed me how to find these pressure points and how to release them a bit. So, that’s my homework for the week (once a day).

Finally, she got kp to try and grab some tiddlywinks between her thumb and finger. kp can do this if she gives the tiddlywink to her left hand from her right hand, but she tends to grip the tiddlywink lower down her forefinger than she normally would, but practice makes perfect.

Karen was given homework for the week and we have a visit next week by the Occupational Therapist (OT) to see how kp does at day to day tasks like ironing etc…

Physio is Friday next week (LATER IN THE DAY I AM PLEASED TO REPORT).

Physio over, we went to Lydia’s for some breakfast and to meet up with her Nan and boyfriend. That’s Lydia’s boyfriend and not her Nan’s. Her Nan is well past it (private joke).

Lydia has 2 of the most beautiful cat’s (Blynn and Persia). Peria is a black persian cat with ginger coloured eyes, and Blynn is another brand of cat (I forget), but is beautiful. I couldn’t take a photo of Persia ‘cos he was too fidgety, but here’s Blynn….

We enjoyed a cracking breakfast and kp braved Lyd’s bannister-less stairs to the loo, with me in front of her and Deborah behind her. She was a bit wary to say the least. Coming down, she was very scared, but again one in front and one behind and the odd “nearly fell”, she made it.

Straight home for a snooze. HHL#1 returned to do 90 mins of housework which was great.

That’s pretty much today.

Day 210 – Thursday 24th November

After a fairly energetic day yesterday, kp was worse for wear today. The steps at Lydia’s had taken their toll on kp and she was much stiffer than usual and in quite a bit of discomfort.

HHL#1 arrived and got kp up and dressed. She stayed for a cup of tea before kp and I started on her homework. She has been given various exercises to do to keep her left shoulder relaxed.

We sat her in a comfy chair and then thought……….

“Right, what were the exercises we had to do………”

For a couple of minutes neither of us had a clue what she should be doing, although kp could remember the “pressure point” massage that I was supposed to do.

Anyway, they came back after a while.

One of the things we were supposed to do was to try and desensitive kp’s left hand by letting it experience different textures.

The reason behind this is Karen can’t do one of the exercises because it involves her holding her aluminium walking stick in her left hand and it is painfully cold to Karen, so much so, she felt it was burning her with cold and couldn’t hold it.

So, I went on a trip around the house and came back with
Hammer (cold metal end)
A set of rawplugs
20 long (cold) nails
Some fake fur
Draught Excluder foam

You’d think I was going to do a Blue Peter, and turn it into some Hellraiser puppet or something.

One by one, I presented each item to kp’s right hand (first) so she knows what it should feel like, and then to her left hand.

She hated the hammer (same burning sensation as the stick) and the rawplugs.
She didn’t mind the rest and loved the fake fur.

This over, we started on the walking stick exercise with a little solution (that both kp and I hadn’t thought of) suggested by the Physio…….

(Note the tea towel under her left hand)

The idea of this exercise is kp tries to lift the stick with her right and left hands/arms equally. Invariably, the right arm leads the way. She needs to be told constantly to straighten her left elbow, but it is definately improving a little bit on previous days/weeks.

Lots more exercises of different types and then I did the “relief of the pressure points” thing that she really likes. It hurts her, but the after effect is really appreciated.

Homework over, we went into town to pick Marie up and get some shopping for the weekend ahead. Marie is staying tonight, Tracy and Margaret are coming to stay for the weekend.

So, we should have some good nights ahead.

I took a photo of kp doing her “lift the stick” in the air

Day 211 – Friday 25th November

Early start today for me. I had to be at the airport for 8.25am to pick Tracey up so got up at 6.15am to walk the dogs.

Marie had stayed over so she got the house ready for visitors while kp slept in until HHL#1 arrived.

kp was still stiff this morning, but after an hour or so of being up, she was a bit looser.

I went for a 3 hour snooze while all the ladies caught up on the gossip. We had a nice afternoon with Marge, Freddy and Michelle when they eventually got here. (They got lost).

We watched kp’s 18 min homecoming video and there weren’t many dry eyes in the house.

kp has had a really good day so far, and very kindly, Tracey (who has been up since 5am) and Marge (Tracey’s mam) are cooking tea !! :-)

Day 211 – Friday 25th November – Addendum

We had a lovely night tonight and didn’t get to bed until about 11.30pm. Tracy and Madge had done a lovely dinner for Karen and I (Fillet Steak and Chips).

Tracy is a bit wary of the dogs and is a bit anxious about getting up to the loo in the middle of the night. So, Karen and I suggested she could borrow some of kp’s commode like items.

Here is Tracey with bedpan, commode pot and female urinal. We like to keep out guests happy at the Pollard household ;-)

Day 212 – Saturday 26th November

kp up at 10am when HHL#1 arrived, back to sleep by 12pm after a breakfast cooked by the girls.

Didn’t get back up until 4.30pm !

The ladies (Tracey and Marge) have been preparing meals for kp and I that are to be frozen and reanimated in the oven. They have also done loads of housework. Bloody stars the pair of them.

We all had a good night watching the usual Saturday Night entertainment !

That’s it for today

Day 213 – Sunday 27th November

Karen’s New Tricks

I forgot to mention some achievements that kp has been dead chuffed about over the last couple of weeks.

About 2 weeks ago, she mentioned trick #1

She could wash her right hand with her left hand. She was keen to demonstrate it. I looked on. She was basically opening her left hand whilst rubbing her right hand around her left hand. It was a little sad to see, but the fact she is thinking about using it more (without prompting) is excellent.

Last night………..she announced that she could pull her right sleeve up her arm with her left hand. She basically used her left finger to hook the sleeve and 50% of the movement was her left hand holding the sleeve so it couldn’t move, and the other 50% was kp moving her right arm in the direction so her sleeve would go up.

It’s all things she couldn’t do a few weeks ago…….I am very pleased she is so chuffed at her new achievements.

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