Archive for February, 2006

Day 279 – Wednesday 1st February 2006

We had a nice evening with Marie with Shepherd’s Pie for tea (or should that be Sherpherd’s Pie (regular bloggers will understand)).

Marie started coming down with the dreaded “cold!!!”, and both Marie and I found ourselves going round different rooms of the house saying :-

dp :- Oooo, it’s cold in this room…..
Marie :- Nah, it’s hot in here.

and vice versa.

I still suspect the boiler, but Marie assures me our body thermostats have gone with our “cold!!!”.

Karen wanted to phone Ronnie to wish her the best for her return to work, but forgot and was cursing herself when she remembered real late last night.

We had some real good news last night. I had contacted a load of old buddies (via Friends Reunited) and one of them replied last night (Hi Neil !). We are meeting up with him when we go down to London next week.

Just before we went to bed, Karen and I were in stitches laughing in the bathroom. This won’t be funny when it is recalled in a blog, but I have to record it, because we found it so funny, and kp will appreciate this when she reads it back in a year’s time.

Karen was discussing exercises she had to do.

kp:- I’ll tell you what I haven’t done, the exercise where you go……….

And then she showed me the exercise, which is….with her left arm/hand, moving it out and “polishing a table” and then “wiping a window”, but as she did the actions, she went “Ow !!!!” and then “Ow !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!”.

So, what was funny, was what I heard which was ………….

kp:- I’ll tell you what I haven’t done, the exercise where you go “Ow !!!!” and then “Ow !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!”. We laughed for about a minute about that. Marie must have thought we were potty.

Today, we had the OT visit to help kp make some soup. She brought with her a board that holds veg in place. Here she is getting a lesson on it.

She made the soup. It was lovely, but a bit more Leek than “Leek and Potato”, not that I am a fussy bugger. No, it was lovely :-) We all had some with Marie’s bread buns, before Marie returned home.

After the soup, Karen mentioned her “swallowing” problem again. Normally, stroke patients have problems swallowing solids (from our experience on the ward), but with Karen, it seems to be the opposite. Apparently, she had complained to Marie the previous night that she nearly choked on some tea. She struggled with the soup and the way she describes it is “It gets to the back of my throat, and I don’t know which way it is going to go down.” – Sounds awful !

Snooze in the afternoon and that’s it for today…

Day 280 – Thursday 2nd February 2006

Bl++dy awful night last night. Excessive snoozing during the day led to us getting up at some ungodly hour and having a cup of tea around 2/3am ish. We tried to go back to sleep, but I was coughing and sniffing every 30 seconds, keeping kp awake. Eventually, I went into another bedroom and we both managed to get some sleep.

Uneventful Day today.

Still feeling full of cold, I went to bed at 12pm until 5pm, kp went sometime between those times and isn’t up yet.

What exciting lives we lead !

Day 281 – Friday 3rd February 2006

After tea last night, I got kp ready for bed and had a hot bath. kp’s bath lowering seat is in our main bathroom, so for the first time, I had a bath in bathroom 2. Unfortunately, certain 4-legged animals can more easily open the door to bathroom 2, and a nice quiet soak on my own became a spectator sport for dogs. Not so much a spectator sport actually, as no sooner would I lift my knee out of the bath, it would be dried off by frantic dog licking.

Before I go and do something where I am “out of commission” (from Karen’s perspective), I always try and remember to put her “emergency button” on. It’s a red button on the end of a necklace. Unlike Weebles, Karen does wobble and she might fall down, so it is always best to have it on just in case. Well, she put it on herself last night and just before I went for my bath, I went to check she wasn’t wanting for anything.

She had put the necklace on “ok”, but was completely oblivious to the fact that it had caught on her left ear.

I was banished from the marital bedroom last night in anticipation of coughing fits and loud “sighs”. I think we both retired about 11pm. I was up at 2am, and played some tunes in the study, which woke kp up. We had a cup of tea and a natter from 3am to 4am. Basically, we both had a sh1te night’s sleep.

Adele (Marie’s daughter) came today to help us get on top of the house cleaning. Thanks Adele. Been a very uneventful day really.

Tonight, we are going for dinner with Tommy and Eileen, so that should be a nice change.

Day 282 – Saturday 4th February 2006

Well, we had a lovely meal with Tommy and Eileen. Karen had offered me some advice as to how she had once cured a lingering cold when she was a lot younger.

kp:- Yeah, I went out and got as drunk as a skunk, and the following morning it was completely gone.

I took a bit of that advice and aimed for that cure, but sadly could only consume 3 pints of the black stuff. It hasn’t cured the cold, but stopped me whinging about it so much ;-)

Karen had “Fish and Chips” last night, as did Tommy and I. The portions were huge !!

Tommy and I followed the meal up with some games of Pool. It was a good evening.

Karen felt as rough as a dog this morning, not through alcohol I hasten to add. The days of having more than a pint of lager shandy on a nighttime seem to be over.

She got out of bed, headed for the shower, got all her clothes off, and then felt so bad, she had to go back to bed for an hour :-(

kp:- If I could have just had the shower, I would have felt a lot better.

We have deduced that the 75ug Fentanyl patch isn’t enough. So, she was going back on the 100ug patch for the London Trip next week anyway, so hopefully tomorrow she will feel a bit more mobile. Without the right pain meds, she gets really stiff really quickly :-(

Very quiet day today. It was lovely outside, so I did some gardening while kp watched on, normally it’s the other way round. Karen rang a very old friend today (the one we are going to see next week) and it brought SUCH a smile to her face. It was lovely to see. I got so much pleasure from seeing the depth of the joy in her face. She gave this friend the usual Karen “20 questions” treatment. The poor chap thought he was going for an interview.

That’s it for today. Ice skating tonight.

Day 283 – Sunday 5th February 2006

Well, we watched the ice skating last night and enjoyed that. kp was really in a bad way (painwise) so we decided to put the 100ug Fentanyl Patch on last night instead of waiting until Sunday lunchtime.

I was allowed back in the marital bedroom on the promise that I didn’t sniff or cough and we both had a great night’s sleep.

Putting the higher dosage patch on early turned out to be a cracking move as kp felt “top of the world” this morning. She got out of bed while I was out walking the dogs. Everything just went right this morning. I did her hair and for the first time, I did it right in the new style. kp looked full of life and had a real sparkle in her eye ! :-) She couldn’t stop saying how well she felt. It was great to hear.

Mum and Dad arrived in a flat bed truck (thanks Bill) with our Xmas Present (new house sign in Yorkshire stone, with a tonne of yorkshire stone to build up into a wall). Dad and I moved this tonne of stone piece by piece in our best clothes from the truck to the garage. As Dad said, “Merry Christmas!” :-)

We had a lovely Sunday lunch at the Pump House in Durham. We have finally found a place that does a good Sunday lunch without overcooking the meats !

Lunch over, we went over to see Margaret, Tracey, Mark and Megan and had a really good afternoon with them.

Here’s the Maffey/Baggots…..

And here’s kp, me and Megan….

Her T-shirt says “I am not big, but I am clever!” :-)

That’s it for today. kp is flagging a bit, and is a bit stiff, probably all the sitting down.

Lovely day !

Day 284 – Monday 6th January 2006

kp was up a LOT during the night going to the commode. :-( This meant she had a late lie-in. She woke up not feeling as good as yesterday. “Bit stiff” were her words.

The OT arrived at 11.30am to do physio with kp in the absence of kp’s main physio. She brought with her a special chopping board to help kp chop veg. And she also brought a big wood box with some dexterity testing tools in. kp said she didn’t do very well at them. No pictures as I was asleep when she came. sorry.

When she had gone, we went in to Durham to pick Marie up and get some clothes for kp for our London trip tomorrow. Marie is kindly staying at ours, watching the dogs. We are going to London until Thursday night to see Billy Elliot and Mary Poppins – really looking forward to it ! Unlikely I will be able to blog until Thursday.

That’s it for tonight and probably until then.

Day 285 to 288 – Tuesday 7th – Friday 10th January 2006

Day 285 – Tuesday 7th February 2006

Well, we were up at the crack of dawn (in Karen’s time), about 8am in real world time to get ready for the off. We had a cup of tea with Marie and finished packing and we were at the station by 9.15am. Papers bought, we were heading to London Kings Cross by 9.30am.

Karen slept quite a bit of the way there.

CLICK HERE to see kp asleep and then wake up

Ronnie was at the station to greet us and help us to the taxi. One of the sad things about kp’s condition is that we have to reduce walking to a minimum, so things like tube rides are out of the question. I love going deep underground into the tube and really missed it, but we HAD to travel by taxi for kp’s sake. Neil met us at the hotel. It was fabulous to see him after nearly 20 years. That was such a fun time in our lives (when we knew Neil) and we hit it off as if we had only seen him yesterday. He showed us to our room, or should I say ROOMS !!!! He had VERY kindly put us in the admiral suite, which was a 4-roomed apartment (living room, kitchenette, bedroom and a bathroom). WOW !!!!

Actually, it was quite inconsiderate of Neil as it took about 1 minute for Karen to get from the suite door to the bathroom. Some people are just thoughtless ! ;-)

No, we loved it. Fresh fruit and fresh flowers, it was all lovely !

Here are some pictures of the suite…..

Living Area

Corridor (running the length of the suite)

The View

CLICK HERE for some footage of the suite.

We dropped our bags, let Neil get back to work and went for lunch with Ronnie in the hotel restaurant (to save Karen from excess walking). We aimed for the brasserie, but found ourself in the posh restaurant. We had a beautiful meal in there. Here are kp and vdfromboro in the “blue” restaurant. We had a 2-course meal, which turned out to be 5-course, because there was a pre-starter and a pre-dessert. I had a heart attack when the bill came, but the bottle of chablis Ronnie and I shared had loosened my wallet padlock somewhat.

Ronnie left us about 5pm and kp and I had a short snooze before going to see Billy Elliot at the Victoria Palace Theatre. It was awesome !!! Thoroughly thoroughly enjoyable and very funny to boot.

We had a couple of drinks at the bar when we got back and went straight to bed.

Day 286 – Wednesday 8th February 2006

We had agreed to meet with Neil for breakfast. It ended up being a 2hour+ breakfast and it was so great to reminisce and find out what Neil has been doing for 20 years and vice versa. We do hope he keeps in touch !

We went for a snooze after that and then we went into the swimming pool. Neil had said to bring our “costumes” and kp was keen to try the pool, given that she couldn’t get any hydrotherapy treatment because she was a stroke patient.

The problem we faced were the old vertical steps into the pool. There would be no problem for kp getting in the pool, worse scenario was I could push her in ! But getting her out could be VERY tricky. We got her in, by me going a step in front of her acting as a support for her back as she went down step by step. I encouraged her left hand to hold the left railing and although it didn’t take the weight, it did aid her balance.

Karen was quite frightened once in the water. She tried a few swimming motions, but it didn’t keep her afloat, so she spent the whole time holding my hands walking round the shallow end of the pool. She enjoyed the sensation, but was a little upset that she could no longer swim ! Her fear took a while to subside, and then she got enough confidence for me to go a little deeper and for her to be weightless holding my hands while I pulled her round the pool.

I took her back to the shallow end, attached her to the steps while I got a long beer can width float that went under her arms. This kept her head from sinking and she tried kicking to swim, but didn’t get very far. She hasn’t been in a position (since the accident) where her head has been in front of her feet and she has effectively been on her stomach and she found this quite painful, but persevered.

At this point, a 60 year old woman got in the pool and watched us for a while before saying :-

Old Woman :- Do you know, I only just started to learn to swim 2 years ago, so keep trying !

Well, I could tell kp was incensed by this, but we didn’t want to get into a “SHE CAN SWIM, BUT SHE HAS HAD A STROKE” kind of conversation. So, we nodded politely.

Anyway, we had the last laugh, because this woman then proceeded to “swim” (in inverted commas). Well every time she kicked with her feet, she sent a plume of water 20 feet in the air ! We were in stitches. It took her about 2 minutes to swim the length of the pool (18 metres).

Getting out of the pool was like getting in but in reverse. I acted as a “can’t fall backwards” stopper and it worked.

Swimming over, we went for a snooze before heading out to see Mary Poppins

Here is kp outside the Prince Edward Theatre….

Mary Poppins was great, and her final exit was very impressive, flying from the stage above everyone’s heads into the Gods.

Exiting the theatre, kp started to complain of bad aches and pains. Worse than usual. We put it down to the earlier swimming, when she had been in brand new body positions.

Taxi back to the hotel and then drinks in the bar again, before retiring.

Before I retired, I checked the train times to make sure we were up in time. 3.30pm in the afternoon. A bit strange !!! I normally wouldn’t book tickets that late, but there you go.

Day 287 – Thursday 9th February 2006

We got up late today (about 11am). Karen checked the tickets to make sure I had the right time.

We worked out the timings and I booked a taxi to take us to the train station for 2.30pm so we could have lunch before the train. We went to the “Duke of York” (at Kings Cross) for lunch. An absolute dive !! Dirty smutty place ! But it was somewhere for kp to sit down as we waited for our train.

I checked the screens regularly for the platform of the train. I thought it a bit strange how our ticket said 3.31pm but the screen said 3.30pm ?!?!??! So, I checked the ticket !!!!!!!!!!

JESUS CHRIST !!!!!!! The train arrives in Durham at 3.31pm and SETS OFF at 12.30pm !!! We’d missed our bl++dy train !!!!

I went to the ticket office, but there was nothing they could do !!! I knew Karen could not be hanging around a station for hours, so I booked us on the 3.30pm to Durham at a cost of (WAIT FOR IT) £210 !!!!!!!!!!!


PLUS NOW, we had NO seat reservation, so kp may have to stand. We waited in front of the big board and as soon as the platform appeared we headed for the train and so did EVERYONE else looking at the board. Of course, Karen walks at 1mph now, whereas everyone else was running to the train.

We ended up being the only people walking to the train, with everyone else on. We walked past first class, past second class and found a first class carriage at the end of the train ?!?!?! The station chappy was blowing his whistle and closing the door, so we just jumped on (figuratively speaking). I told Karen to sit in the first class and we would deal with the ramifications.

Anyway, as it turns out, they had run out of second class carriages so the first class carriage we were in was actually second class ! PHEW ! We kept telling each other on the journey home “let’s not think of the money we have lost”, and then one of us would say something, and then the other would say “let’s not think of the money we have lost” :-)

We got home at 7pm. Boy, was it good to be home !!!

Marie had left the house spotless – THANKS SO MUCH MARIE !!!

We pretty much went straight to bed !

Day 288 – Friday 10th February 2006

It’s great to be home. I got up early as there was lots to do, but Karen didn’t get up until 2pm. When she got up she was in a LOT of pain and discomfort. Her mood had changed for the worse and I could tell she was not a happy bunny.

kp:- “I am sick of feeling like this.”

She was referring to (what seems to her as) an endless life of pain/discomfort.

Today was the date for the driver (who caused the accident) to enter his plea. I rang up at 4.30pm to find out what had happened. He has pleaded “Guilty” to “Dangerous Driving”. March 8th is when his sentence will be decided. The magistrates court can only give 6 months in prison (plus loss of licence (guaranteed) and points etc….), but they can refer it up to Crown Court if they feel a bigger sentence is necessary (max 1 year in prison plus loss of licence etc).

I asked Karen how she felt about it.

kp:- It doesn’t matter does it. It’s not going to make my life any better.

I thought she would be pleased that he had come forward, admitted his guilt, but it really didn’t matter to her.

30 minutes later, Karen was inconsolable. In her words, she has had a “reality check”. This accident has happened and there is nothing that is going to fix things for her. It is so saddening to see her so upset, and me so powerless to help her or put things right.

kp (in tears):- The only thing that will help me is if we could put the clocks back and I’d be ok again.

I am crying as I type this.

So sad !!!

She had a good cry, and said she just wanted to “get out of here”. She meant go to sleep and forget about it.

I went to bed with her and comforted her until she fell asleep. It’s 7.35pm now and I have tea on the go. I will wake her up at 8pm and fingers crossed, she will feel better. I feel soooooooo sorry for her. Sooo sorry ! :-(

To end on a high note, we had a great London trip. Thanks Neil for everything you have done, we REALLY appreciate it !

Life goes on in the Pollard household……

Day 289 – Saturday 11th February 2006

Strange Day.

We both got up at 2.30am for a cup of tea and a chat. We put the 100ug Fentanyl Patch on at this time in the hope it would alleviate some of kp’s physical aches and pains when she woke up in the morning.

At about 3.30am we went back to bed. kp couldn’t sleep and got up for an hour. We had a bit of a lie-in.

When kp woke up, she was feeling a bit better physically, about the same mentally, but was complaining that her eyesight wasn’t too good today (“a bit blurry”). She gets days like that ?!

We went over to see Marge, Mark, Tracy and Megan before they returned to Southampton. And then we nipped to see Marie, before coming home.

That’s it.

Day 290 – Sunday 12th February 2006

We both had a cracking night’s sleep, sleeping from 10pm to 9.30am. 11am in kp’s case.

Generally Uneventful Day.

After breakfast, kp had her homework (for the week) to do, namely to attempt a construction that the OT had left.

It is supposed to look like this when constructed ………..

and involves LOTS of bolts, screws and various levels of dexterity, from moving heavy metal plates, to putting screws into sockets at certain angles, to turning screws. I was in charge of instructions and told kp how to do it.

Suffice to say, she really struggled with it. I pretty much had to help her at every stage, and what should have taken about 2 minutes to construct, took about 20-25 minutes.

Click here for a bit of footage of her trying to get one of the screws in. It has to go a certain way. The hexagonal head fits into a hexagonal hole (this isn’t obvious from the video).

She finds it sooooooooooooo frustrating. She completes one thing only for her left arm to knock it out of the way, so she has to start again. She has little or no feeling in her left arm/hand so is unaware she has even destroyed her work. At one point, she swore blind she had completed the left nearside screw (which she had), but didn’t realise it was now on the floor :-(

Also, the metal plates (and screws to a lesser extent) feel painful to the touch to Karen because they are cold.

Anyway, with help, she cracked it in the end.

We had a nice leisurely afternoon watching “The Pianist” and kp is phoning friends and family as I type this.

Day 291 – Monday 13th February 2006

Early rise for kp at 9.30am.

Today she was going to Lydia’s for a day with the girls (Lydia and Debs (from work)). Debs picked Karen up at 10.30am and I “had the day off” :-)

The girls had a great time apparently, catching up on work and life gossip.

Here are some photos from the day………


Lydia (cheffing it)……..

Lydia, kp and Debs ……..

That’s it for today.

Day 292 – Tuesday 14th February 2006

Well, after a lovely day yesterday at Lydia’s, kp was concerned that her 2 climbs to the top of Lydia’s stairs to get to the loo may cost her last night/today in pain. She was right. She was moaning loads of times during the night when she turned and I was surprised to hear her say (this morning) that she had had a good night’s sleep.

But, today she felt worse for the 2 flights of steps. :-(

We picked Marie up at lunchtime in Durham to go shopping at Tesco. We had a nice lunch on our return.

In the mail, we had received a nice letter from my Aunty Sue including this photo taken on Boxing Day, while kp and I were down at my parents. It’s a great photo.

Left to Right –> Bill, Dad, Aunty Sue, Catherine, kp, dp, Uncle John, Mum, Justine and Rosie.

kp went to bed after lunch, while Marie kindly did the ironing and other jobs :-)

That’s it for today. Tomorrow, we have a visit from the OT. kp has to think of things she wants to be able to do on her own (that she currently needs my help with). One of the main things kp used to do was to drive over to Middlesbrough to visit friends/relatives. Physically, she can’t drive at the moment (because she couldn’t change gear), but if we got an automatic car, she still feels scared at the thought of driving. She doesn’t trust herself because she doesn’t see things on the left. So we need to think of some more things tonight.

We also have the neuropsychologist coming round, so a bit of a busier day.

Day 293 – Wednesday 15th February 2006

Well, a bit of an exciting night last night for me, which has a bit of a bearing on kp, so I will relay the gist of it.

A while ago, I bought a PC off a company who sells them on Ebay. I have had nothing but problems with the pc, and after having the phone put down on me twice by the company’s representative, I left damning (but honest) negative feedback.

The chap phoned up last night demanding I withdraw the feedback and threatened me with ……..

Reporting me to the tax office for my Ebay Sales
Reporting me to Ebay and getting my account deleted
Threatened me with legal action for “defamation” and
Threatened me with legal action to recover lost sales (due to my feedback)

I was on the phone with him for a long time, but during the phone call, my tea became ready to eat and Karen was very aware that it was getting cold. Instinctively, she took the phone off me………..

kp (to the chap on the phone) :- Will you stop shouting ?! My husband is trying to have his tea, he has asked you if its ok to phone you back……….

The chap then blabbed on to Karen. Now……..normally, kp could handle this kind of person and defuse the situation no problems, and to be fair, she did brilliantly (given her situation), but I ended up taking the phone back off her.

After the call, we reflected on this, and she expressed her concern how she couldn’t handle that situation as well as she normally could. Looking from an outsider’s perspective, I didn’t notice much difference, but she assured me she would have had more staying power with that kind of situation.

After a further one hour call (with me), the chap started threatening me with physical violence and said he was coming up to “sort me out” at which point I hung up. He then continued ringing the mobile phone and our home phone constantly. I ended up unplugging our phone line.

So…….watch this space………

With that over, I needed a fag (not a homosexual, for US readers) and a brandy. I ended up having 2 fags and 2 brandies and didn’t sleep very well at all. :-(

Gobshite that he obviously is, he didn’t turn up. kp wasn’t too phased by the whole thing, but at the same time, part of me was thinking “Just withdraw the feedback for an easy life, it’s better for Karen etc…”, but I don’t like being threatened, and had to hold my ground :-(

Anyway, kp slept ok ish, my night was a bit more interrupted. I was glad we had 3 German Shepherds last night.

Today the OT came to work on kp’s loss of left vision (perception).

She did loads of tests with kp where kp had to fill in grids with patterns and the end result was that Karen has a loss of 1/8th of her left field of vision. It’s not an eye problem, but a result of the stroke. There was a name for it, but I am damned if I can spell it or even say it again !!

As it stands at the moment, Karen would not be allowed to drive a car :-( She went on to discuss kp’s lost right eye sight and her left eye perception problem and the impact on everyday life. We already know that kp used to only see the right side of a plate of food and would think she had had a small portion until the plate was rotated 180′ .

But this has improved and the OT went on to say, that with retraining, the perception problem could be further improved ! :-)

To me, this was nothing new, and I think deep down, to Karen, this was nothing new, but kp takes “hearing this” kind of thing from a professional quite badly. It makes it real, and got a bit upset :-(

So, she was a bit fed up this afternoon and spent most of it in bed. The Neuropsychologist is now coming tomorrow.

That’s it for today.

Day 294 – Thursday 16th February 2006

We had to get up early today as the NeuroPsychologist was visiting at 10am.

Her visits are always very valuable to us, and today was particularly so. kp had written down about 5 issues to discuss with her. It included things like….

  • Her feeling so full of aches and pains all the time was getting her down
  • Her hearing of news (which deep down she already knows) gets her upset when she hears it officially
  • She has recently had things arranged by work and by the Job Centre which she feels are intended to get her back to work. She wants to get back to work, but she is nowhere near ready, and she spoke to the NP about the fact she got confused by the discrepancy between , her current state and their recent calls for talks.
  • She discussed with her how she got upset at hearing of the driver’s Guilty (to Dangerous Driving) plea

The NP really helps explain things in a way which eases kp’s view on things. Right at the end of the session, kp said to the NP :-

“And, now I am going to discuss something that David doesn’t know I was going to discuss…..”

Namely, me and how I got down a few weeks ago. I had completely forgot. Anyway, we had 5 minutes about me, which actually did help me. My favourite bit was when the NP said……..

“And you’re a very intelligent person David….”

I burst out laughing, but of course she is so right ! ;-)

Within 30 minutes of the NP leaving, we were joined by Abbie and Adele. It was freezing cold outside (it had been snowing earlier) and Abbie (in her summer wear, short skirt + T-Shirt) was blue !

We had some lunch and then Abbie and I went on to the computer, flying aeroplanes, driving trains (which didn’t last long), before we went to Paper Doll Heaven (on the internet) and spent (what seemed like hours) dressing up dolls at Paper Doll Heaven. Oh, what fun !

That’s it for today. kp and I had a snooze in the afternoon and I am making an early tea as we speak, before we are all going to the X Factor concert in Newcastle. Abbie is looking forward to seeing Chenai and Shayne.

Day 294 – Thursday 16th February 2006 – The Concert

Well, tonight was X Factor Live at the Metro Radio Arena. We allowed an hour to get to Newcastle, but it took us 90 mins, 60 of those minutes were the last 1/2 mile, because of road restrictions and a broken down car. So, we missed the first 30 minutes of the concert. It was Chico Time that we missed, so no big loss ! ;-)

Abbie was not feeling very well during the first half and had to leave her seat a couple of times to be sick. But after she threw her guts up, she felt fine and wanted to stay for the second half.

It was a good concert actually, and all the performances were tip top. Journey South and Shayne particularly shone !!

On the way home, another long journey (60 mins), we stopped for a chip butty and then we all went to bed.

Here is Abby’s blog version of events……


Day 295 – Friday 17th February 2006

At about 9.30am I got up and no sooner had I left the bedroom, than Abbie jumped out of the bedroom she was sharing with her mam. She had been awake for “hours” apparently and was keen to be kept amused.

Cue Diversions !! I put the computer on, and got the TV onto CBeebies and then I was safe to make my exit walking the dogs !

When I got back, Adele was up and I got kp up. kp was in a lot of pain today :-( . I had woken kp up and put the new patch on before dog walking because I felt the pain was on the way after last night. So, when kp got up for good, I gave her a bath and a long soak as that has proven to help on previous occasions. We then had breakfast. Abbie was keen to write her own blog of last night (published already) and was amazed at her work being on t’internet.

kp was feeling so full of aches and pains that we booked a Doctor’s appointment for the afternoon and to avoid having to deal with the pain, she we went for a lie-down until 4pm. I joined her.

The Doctor wasn’t our usual one, but he turned out to be really good, but also dropped a bit of a bombshell on Karen. On the good front, he came up with a novel fix for Karen’s pain. The patches Karen is on don’t come in any larger sizes than 100ug, and the pain always seems to be worse on the last day of the 3-day patch cycle. So he suggested putting Karen on 2 patches. On Day One, we apply the 100ug patch and on Day 3, we apply the additional 25ug patch. Day 4 sees the new 100ug patch and Day 6 the new 25ug patch. It should work a treat !!!

Great News ! And then the bombshell.

kp asked him how long do people normally take to recover from a stroke. Well, in my head, by the end of 2 years, the amount of recovery shown is normally what you end up with, sometimes this can be as long as 3 years.

The Doctor said……

Doctor :- “Normally after 1 year, the recovery you have is what you are left with…”

He went on to say….

Doctor :- “So, I suspect what you have recovered now is about what you are going to get.”

He said this in a very nice way, btw, not as abruptly as this reads back !

Yikes. I wasn’t ready for that curveball. I was immediately thinking of kp and the fact that this would hit her like a brick !! But I kept my cool.

On the way out, she asked me to explain the patch cycle to her and made no reference to the bombshell news.

Deep inside, I think Karen feels she is going to get full recovery and be 100% the old kp physically (and probably mentally). Now is not the right time to discuss the fact it may only be 90% (or less).

By the time we had got to the chemist, kp had started to question the bombshell news. Still no tears though.

When we got home, there were still no tears, but I could tell she was thinking about it.

As I write this blog entry, tea is on the go and kp is watching “Deal or No Deal” and we haven’t had any tears, but knowing Karen, sometime in the next day or so, this will hit her and hit her hard and I fear this is going to be the “Biggie” upset wise.

Fingers crossed that she doesn’t get too upset.

Day 296 – Saturday 18th February 2006

Uneventful Day today, but a nice one.

kp was up by about 10.30am. I went to the chemist to get the new 25ug patches. We had breakfast outside today as it was such a beautiful day. While we were sipping our tea/coffee, we had a visit from a woodpecker. Normally, he lands, sees us and buggers off, but today, he/she must have been hungry, so I tried to snap a picture. As usual, it didn’t come out very well !


Well, we haven’t discussed the news and I am not going to raise it unless she does. Most of the afternoon, we spent snoozing.

Day 297 – Sunday 19th February 2006

Uneventful Day.

kp was feeling a bit mentally under the weather and didn’t want to speak to anyone today :-( So phonecalls went unanswered.

We applied the dinky 25ug patch and it seemed to help a little, later in the day.

I have been reading out some of Karen’s medical notes to her, they are REALLY hard going ! That’s it.

Day 298 – Monday 20th February 2006

Karen got up about 1.30am and didn’t come back to bed until 5am (unbeknownst to me)

She was feeling depressed she told me this morning. We both had a really bad day today.

Normally we make a really good couple, when kp is down, I pick her up, and vice versa. Today……….

kp:- Why do I bother carrying on ? I feel like ending it all, but I am too much of a coward.

dp:- I know how you feel love. What IS the point ?

We carried on to have a conversation trying to find some purpose to our lives. We didn’t find any.

The nub of it is we have a lovely house, dogs, car, etc etc… and we love each other very much, but what are we here for ?!

Both Karen and I really wanted kids, and as bloggers who know us, will know, we can’t have our own kids for various reasons…so when the IVF process ends, it leaves you with a kind of “what now ?!”. We did adoption, and could have had kids that way, but we wanted our OWN kids.

I think we are now at a point, where we have got kp through the worst of her accident and her rehab and now it is a case of just working at kp’s rehab, but with time to think of the big picture.

We are both struggling with it. Neither of us has answers :-(

But, thanks to the NP, we know that distraction helps kp get through these bad times (me too), so false as it may be, we need to come up with 5 days a week distractions and 2 days a week for ourselves to restrengthen.

That’s our short/medium term plan.

We have decided to try and keep things busy to get us through this bad patch. We started today. We went to the shops to get some food in for Angela and Chrissy’s visit tomorrow. I let kp go into the butchers on her own while I dropped a letter off at the Post Box. I came back to the butchers to find kp chasing a pound coin (she had dropped) round the butcher’s floor to pay him. She then offered to cross the road herself while I went to the chemist. NO WAY JOSE !!!!! That was NOT going to happen. kp doesn’t see things on the left, and I could well imagine another hospital stay if she tried to cross the road on her own.

When we got home, we did an extended physio session, trying to keep busy….

Here is kp polishing the table with her left arm ….

And here is kp trying to move her walking stick in the air with her left and right hands…..

That’s it for today. Fingers crossed for a better day tomorrow….I seemed to say that a lot recently !

Day 298 – Monday 20th February 2006 – Addendum

Something I forgot to mention yesterday.

When we went to the local co-op to get some shopping, kp started looking round for items on the list.

kp:- I can’t see anything. I can’t seem to focus.

She went on to describe how she couldn’t read the labels as quickly as she could before.

Another thing in the shop which I should record is when Geraldine (our next but one door-neighbour) came up behind Karen and said “hello” to me (because I saw her first). kp turned round to look who it was, and immediately looked at me with the biggest scared face as if to say “WHO IS IT ?”.

I told kp it was Geraldine, and she apologised to Geraldine for not recognising her. I think she understood. Unusual for kp not to recognise her though.

Day 299 – Tuesday 21st February 2006

Well, kp and I had a bit of a bad night’s sleep. We got up about 2am and went back to bed about 3am. The events of the day were still on our minds.

Today was a new day however, and we didn’t discuss yesterday apart from to say we felt better about things. Probably because we had visitors due in the afternoon.

At about 1pm, Angela and Chrissy (workmates of Karen’s) came to visit. Chrissy had baked 2 lovely cakes which was very kind of her. We all enjoyed hours of chinwagging with a mini-buffet that kp and I had both prepared. It was a really nice afternoon.

Angela mentioned that the driver of the vehicle was going to be sentenced in March, and that it wouldn’t be referred up to Crown Court. So, I think we are intending to go to that.

We had a lovely blog comment from Adele, which I think cheered kp up a bit, which was nice.

That’s it for today.

Day 299 – Tuesday 21st February 2006 – Addendum

I am so forgetful. I have forgotten another couple of interesting titbits from yesterday.

Angela was telling us about how she had been to visit the greenkeeper from the golf course next to where the car crash was. He had been one of the first on the scene and had looked after Angela and held her head whilst the fire crews were cutting her free. She recounted a very emotional meeting with him. It was lovely to hear and both her and the greenkeeper got a great deal out of the meeting.

She also found out that the other greenkeeper had done the same for Karen. Karen isn’t anywhere near that kind of meeting yet, but in the fullness of time, I hope she wants to meet up with him, so we can thank him for everything he did. At least they know the girls are alive, which they didn’t until Angela’s visit.

Following this, Chrissy told the story of the accident from work’s perspective, and I found this very moving. I didn’t quite cry, but I wasn’t far off as she recalled how work had gathered them all together to tell them of the bad news and how critical kp was. It REALLY brought those few days back to me. It was an awful time.

Day 300 – Wednesday 22nd February 2006

kp was full of aches and pains this morning, with her back especially giving her gip.

I went to pick Marie, Adele, Abbie and Louisa up in Durham for their stayover. We had a really good afternoon. Louisa (2) seems to be particulary keen on men, and within 30 minutes of arriving, she seemed glued to me. I loved it ! :-)

Here are Abbie and Louisa on one of our chairs moments after they arrived.

Louisa then came in the computer room and sat on my lap as I typed emails. Here she is with my glasses on.

When it came to going out, she wanted me to get her ready, put her trousers and top on, change her shoes etc…. NO PROBLEM !!!

Louisa :- David, wee weee………… (she wanted me to take her to the loo)


I don’t do Nappies, Pull-up pants and trips to the loo. I must get a sign saying this at the threshold to our house. Will all visitors to Chez Pollard please note this for future.

We went out to the local fun factory place and the kids ran themselves ragged.

£2 for as long as they wanted and Louisa went free. MONEY WELL SPENT. The only problem is you have to stay on the premises, so we couldn’t collect them tomorrow.

An extra 50p each for face painting…..

Abbie is a butterfly, and Louisa is a princess in case it wasn’t obvious.

Karen and I have really enjoyed their company and had lots of good laughs. It’s 9.30pm and the kids are still wide awake. When I was a lad, I had to be in bed by 6pm, those were the days ! :-)

That’s it for today.

Day 301 – Thursday 23rd February 2006

Well, it turned out to be a late night last night. Louisa (2) went to bed about 10.30pm and was out like a light. SNORING like an old woman. Click on SNORING to see her in action.

kp and I were next about 11.30pm and then sometime later Marie, Adele and Abbie. With such a fun-packed day and such a late night, you would think the kids would have been asleep until 10am. I can hear Parent bloggers in my head saying “Oh no, they wouldn’t”. You are, of course, right. They were up at about 7.30am, and thankfully Marie was up with them keeping them amused.

Uneventful day today, I dropped everyone off in Durham and kp and I had a quiet afternoon, with a visit to the doctors for kp in the middle of the afternoon. Throw in the usual snooze and that’s it. We are looking forward to a day to ourselves tomororw :-)

Day 302 – Friday 24th February 2006

Uneventful Day. We stayed in and chatted a lot of the day about this and that.

Nice, quiet day. The highlight of the day (it doesn’t get much more exciting than this) was……………………exercises

kp did all her usual exercises and then remembered the “sorting buttons” exercise that she did at the physio hospital. We did sorting “pills”………kp takes one pill from one bowl and puts it in the other one.

Obviously, “we did sorting pills” means Karen sorted them. I just kept going “nice one” and “oh, that was a tricky one” for the smaller pills ;-)

She did very well and I could see an improvement on the last time. Before, it was like a crane going down for a toy at the arcades and fingers crossed whether you got a toy or not. This time, it was more like 2 fingers grasping a pill carefully. It’s nowhere near like she could do with her right hand, and she chased the smallest pill round the table for quite some time before she got it, but it is a definate improvement !!!

Day 303 – Saturday 25th February 2006

Well, we have had a good day today. We both went to sleep about 11.30pm, kp not thinking she would be able to get to sleep given the afternoon snooze, but we both had a really good kip and were up and about by 9am (unheard of for kp).

When I went walking the dogs, there was a “Doctor on Call” at our ace next door neighbours (Tommy and Eileen). When I came back from walking the dogs, there was a “Doctor on call” and TWO ambulances outside !! YIKES !!!

By the time I had got Karen ready, they were taking Eileen into hospital while Tommy was laid up with a very bad case of the flu.

Eileen is ok now, but it didn’t half give Karen and I a scare.

After breakfast, kp and I went round to the local shop for essential supplies.

She did very well. On the way back, Karen wondered what would happen if she tried to walk quicker. (She walks extremely slowly (1mph)). Well, she opened the throttle up and in no time was cruising along at a speedy 2mph, before throttling back to her 1mph pace. Pain was setting in.

She was a bit worse for wear after the walk and we both went to bed.

When we got up from the snooze, we went round to Tommy and Eileen’s to check all was ok. Tommy was still full of flu, and Eileen seemed under the weather, but they were “ok”. We had a nice chat with Eileen and Bev.

Michelle and Freddy also came this afternoon bringing with them Ethan who we haven’t seen in ages.

He was more interested in playing on the computer than seeing Uncle David and Aunty Karen.

Pizza Night tonight :-)

Day 303 – Saturday 25th February 2006 – Addendum

This is just a quick blog entry to thank all the bloggers who have left messages for Karen. ALL of your messages get forwarded to Karen’s email address and she reads them all.

So, Bernie, Wendy Widelegs and Ethan – thanks for your blogs. If you want to contact Karen direct (which she would like very much), her email address is

Day 304 – Sunday 26th February 2006

Good start, bad finish sums up today. We had a few odd jobs to do today. I had some paperwork to do, and kp had to plan our nightly menus and shopping list (for tomorrow).

So, we had a nice breakfast together, and went for a snooze because we had been up for a couple of hours during the night. Like we need an excuse ! ;-)

After breakfast, kp started to get very quiet and didn’t want to do her menus/shopping list. In her words, she was feeling very flat.

She just sat very quietly and watched tv and then went back to bed, where she is now. Fingers crossed, she wakes up feeling a bit more “with it”.

Uneventful day.

Day 304 – Sunday 26th February 2006 – Addendum

Just a little example of kp’s mental problem that has just arisen.

After her snooze, she got up and decided to do the menus/shopping list for the week.

She wrote up Monday’s menu (Roast Chicken) in the living room and went into the kitchen to check the supplies we have in to do Roast Chicken. She came back in to the living room to write up the shopping list and then did tuesday’s menu and went back in to the kitchen to check supplies and then returned.

I suggested doing the whole week’s menu and then doing ONE trip to the kitchen …

kp:- “My mind doesn’t work like that anymore. Let me do it my way.”

Anyway 5 trips later, we have menu and recipes done :-)

Day 305 – Monday 27th February 2006

Tissues at the ready.

A sad day today, or maybe it’s just me.

Early start today, with kp getting up around 8.30am (that’s early for kp). We had a visit to the OT today for “assessments”. I think the OT realised the other week that kp wasn’t 100% from a mental perspective and she rightly felt that this needs to be further assessed so the right treatment can be given. So today, kp had 11 assessments.

We had psyched ourselves up for 1 or 2 tests but not 11. All in all, we were there for about 2 hours.

I won’t recall all the tests, but I will try and give a flavour of what kp went through.

Early on, there was a test where kp was presented with a series of strange shapes (on the left hand side of the table). She was then presented with a more complex shape which had (somewhere in it) one of the shapes she had on the left. She had to trace the easy shape within the complex diagram. It sounds complicated, but it wasn’t as hard as it sounds. She got about 6 out of 10 right where most people would get them all. The other 4, she argued with the OT, that those shapes weren’t present in the diagrams on the right at all. The OT showed her where they were.

kp:- oh yeah

She had a few more shape related ones, things like recreating the diagram you see on the left on a blank piece of paper on the right. Sounds easy, but for Karen (who doesn’t see a lot of things if they are to the left), she missed out key parts of the diagrams and couldn’t see that they were missing.

All the tests were timed, and they weren’t considered over until Karen said she was finished.

An interesting result of one tests was that Karen was presented with 2 straight lines, one was a very short straight line, the other was long (going the full width of the paper). Karen had to mark where she thought the middle of each line was. I have marked in red where kp thought the middle of each line was.

Now, I thought it very strange how she nearly got the little one correct, but was so off on the big one. The OT went on to explain, that Karen doesn’t see as long as line as we do. She misses a lot of the left hand side out, so that IS the middle from her point of view. I found this a little sad, but intriguing.

So, by this time, Karen probably had about 6 or 7 tests behind her, and had done “ok”. She hadn’t got everything right in a test (which a stroke-free person would have done), but she had got SOME right. So, I expect at this stage, kp was getting more than a little frustrated with the tests and herself. Then came the crunch test.

kp was presented with 10 cards, each had a picture of a face at a different angle. Imagine spinning someone round on a chair and taking 10 photos of their head as it turned round. Karen had to rearrange the cards so that they were in the correct order. In other words, they showed the head at all the different angles (in the right order) until the head had rotated 360′.

The assistant OT started the clock and kp just stared at the heads. 1 minute passed with the occasional furtive hand gesture as if she was going to rearrange them, but she didn’t.

The OT stepped in at this point and reread the instructions.

Another 30 seconds passed, and I could see tears welling up in her eyes. And then the tears and upset came on full force.

kp:- I don’t get it. I don’t understand it at all.

Karen (pre-accident) would have walked this test and been shouting all the way through “Yes, YES, YESSS !”, but instead she was demoralised and very upset.

I comforted her and tried to make her see that it wasn’t that big a deal, but she then said :-

kp:- But, I know I could have done this before.
dp:- Yes, but the OT is going to show you tips for how you can get round this problem in the future

No words really helped. It was so so sad !

The OT showed her the first 3 heads, and asked if kp could carry on. She thought about it for another minute it……..

kp:- (shaking her head)…… I don’t get it

This test was shelved while kp had a few more tears.

We then took a tea-break. After the tea-break, kp’s tactile sensations were tested.

kp put her hand in a covered box (so she couldn’t see what was being given to her) and she had to feel what she had been given. The OT tested her dominant (right) hand first. She got 10 out of 10, feeling things like a cup, brillo pad, metal, glass, rubber, wool etc etc…

It was her left hand’s turn. Things weren’t quite so rosy but neither kp nor I thought she would be too hot at this one. She was given ……
a pair of scissors – Karen said it was “a fork”
a glove – Karen said it was a “washing up cloth”
a paperclip – Karen said it was a “twig”

Suffice to say, she didn’t get any right, BUT she was able to laugh at how wrong she was which was good.

Actually, she did get one right, but not quite legitimately. She was feeling something for quite a while and by accident it slipped out of her side of the box (so she could see what it was). It was a cotton reel.

kp:- ermmm…..Cotton Reel
The OT looked impressed until kp put the cotton reel on top of the box with all the other objects.

We laughed for a while about that.

We then had a test which kp got 100% right !!!

It was about 6 pictures and she had to put them in an order that made sense. It was pilots walking to Concorde, it taxiing, taking off, cruising and landing (something like that).

So, things were looking up.

We then had some trickier tests. One involved rubber stamp blocks (plus ink). It was a MESSY test.

kp had about 10 different ink stamps on her left (all different shapes) and she was shown a diagram of a pattern that consisted of quite a few of those shapes and she had to recreate it with the rubber stamps on some blank paper. She was allowed to hold the rubber stamps over the shown pattern to work out if they were right or not.

For example, kp would be shown the following :-

And she would have to find the little triangle rubber stamp and the other rubber stamp for the bottom half.

kp really struggled with these. For example, in this one, she would eventually find the bottom part, but would pick the completely wrong size triangle for the top part. She got it on the 2nd or 3rd attempt however.

Halfway through this test, kp broke down again. She couldn’t find the shapes she was looking for. It is SO heartbreaking looking on at her struggling so much. At times like this, I feel so much anger to the driver of the car that caused this accident.

The next test was a bit more fun. It was a bit like the game “Operation”, where you have to get the bones out of the patient without letting the buzzer go off. Well, kp was given a stabbing device with a needle on the end and starting off with the largest hole, she had to place it into the hole WITHOUT touching the metal needle against the metal hole. The holes were numbered and got progressively harder until the needle ONLY just fits. She was allowed 3 attempts at each hole. She started off with her good hand and of the 30 holes, she completed 29 !!!! I was WELL impressed. I was looking on, thinking I could get to about 25, and kp would get about the same, and she nearly completed it and got all 30 !!!!


Then came the left hand. The left hand takes a lot longer, but although she had to use a lot more of her 3 lifelines per hole, she managed to get to hole 18 !! I would put money on the fact, that if Karen had been given this task 3 or 4 weeks ago, she would have only got to number 10 or so !!! I was well happy with 18 !

Then came the final test. Another bit of fun, but very frustrating for Karen. She had to make a coat hanger with a special machine and a set of instructions. She started off with a 1.5m piece of sturdy wire.

An example instruction would be ………

1. Move lever A so that it is positioned between the parallel lines.

kp struggled with this.

And an instruction like…..

11. Position the wire in front of the metal stopper so it falls between the runners on Lever C, then Pull Lever C until it reaches the metal stop……….

Well, kp had to break it down into 4 or 5 steps and then kept losing her place when she went back to the instructions.

With help, she got there in the end though. Here is kp working the final part of the coat hanger on the machine….


And here is the finished result…..


Karen and I have decided to have a bit of a laugh with the coat hanger and raise a few pence/pounds for charity in the process. If you would like to buy a coat hanger that Karen made herself, then please place your bid by adding a comment to this blog entry. Starting price is 50p. Increments of 50p only please. Auction ends Thursday 9th March at 7pm. The charity is “Marrow Transplant 2000″ and it supports Haemotology patients in the UK. It’s a charity that Marie and the family have supported since Lee’s (Karen’s nephew) death from Leukaemia (aged 18).

From 7pm tonight, you can also bid for the coat hanger on ebay by clicking HERE

The highest bid, between ebay and here wins.

We left physio with kp feeling very deflated. We went shopping at Sainsburys but kp just wanted to get home.

She went straight to bed.

Marie is staying tonight, so hopefully some chat with Marie will take kp’s mind off today. A sad day.

Day 305 – Monday 27th February 2006 – Addendum

Wahey, kp has just reminded me of an absolute corker that was brought up today, which I was completely oblivious too. Let me set the scene……Regular bloggers will remember that kp went with 2 OTs (Occupational Therapists) on a shopping trip to Sainsburys a few weeks ago.

Well, today, kp had finished one of the tests and not done too well on it. She asked the OT what does this test mean ? The OT explained………

OT :- Well, this test tests your spatial awareness. For example, how aware are you of things around you. And also how aware are you that certain things will fit into certain other things.

kp looked puzzled.

OT :- Do you remember when we all went to Sainsburys and you were pushing round the shopping trolley ?
kp :- Yes
OT :- Well, do you remember when you came up to a pillar in the middle of an aisle and you tried to go to the left of the pillar and you were convinced the trolley would fit between the pillar and the shelves. You thought it would fit through, and couldn’t work out why it wouldn’t and you just kept ramming the trolley against the pillar, not accepting that it wouldn’t fit.

Well, at this point, I was in stitches. kp had forgotten to relay this story, and we were all laughing over it.

kp did remember ! ;-)

Day 306 – Tuesday 28th February 2006

A good night’s sleep for kp, only getting up twice in the night.

Marie spent most of the morning “jobbing on” around our house. As always Marie, thanks.

I took Marie to the hairdressers for 10.30am and before I collected her at 12.30pm, I got kp up. She wasn’t in as much pain as when she went to bed. Her left shoulder/arm has been giving her a lot of gip with loud “ow’s” prominent in the night if I touched it and sleepy warnings if I turned around in the night and got within a few inches.

We had a nice “Toasted Teacake” breakfast (brunch) and Marie + kp spent most of the afternoon gassing. I think it was the first bit of quality time with kp that Marie has had in a while, because of kp’s tendency to have an afternoon nap.

kp has gone for a snooze until tea is ready. She has still been a bit flat today overall, but perkier than yesterday, so hopefully we are heading in the right direction.

Tomorrow we have physio.

If you want to help raise some money for charity, don’t forget there are another 9 days to bid on a coat hanger that Karen made at the OT session yesterday. You can bid by placing a comment on the blog or by clicking HERE. The bidding is up to £1.20 !!! :-)

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