Archive for March, 2006

Day 307 – Wednesday 1st March 2006

Finally, a good day for Karen. It seems like she had a long wait for this one.

Physio today. kp’s physio had been away for 5 weeks and we were hoping that she may be able to do something to ease Karen’s pain in her left (and right) shoulder. After a discussion about her aches and pains, the physio set about sorting kp out. She started by seeing how much Karen could move her left shoulder. Everyday kp and I do, what we call, the gorilla exercises. It basically involves pushing your shoulders back and your chest forward and holding it for a few seconds, and then reversing that, and holding your shoulders back and hunching your arms like a gorilla in front of you. When kp does this (everyday), the left shoulder hardly moves and the right seems to do all the work. All to do with the stroke weakness. When kp did this for the physio today, it was just the same. Very little movement.

So, the physio set about trying to loosen up the left shoulder. She applied some cream she had bought from the other side of the world and gave Karen a massage. The slightest touch (to start of) resulted in big OW’s and the Physio had to start by making it a light massage. Gradually she made it harder and harder and the area got REALLY red.

She followed this up with some exercises and various other bits of physio and then asked Karen to try the same gorilla exercises.

One, they caused NO Pain and two, I could see the shoulder had more free movement. kp was really pleased that what we had thought MAY have helped (a visit to the OT) had actually sorted the problem out.

So, we both had big grins as we left the hospital.

We have been given some tips to prevent it stiffening up again and some slightly different gorilla exercises. kp’s mood has lifted with the pain and all is ok in the Pollard household tonight.

Good News on the coat hanger auction. It’s up to a massive £16 !!!! Thanks to all the bidders who got it so high !!! Anyone want to make it £20 ? Then CLICK HERE. All proceeds go to “Marrow Transplant 2000″.

Day 308 – Thursday 2nd March 2006

Shortish blog today, given most of the action will be tonight when Jane and Ronnie converge on Chez Pollard.

Karen woke up with a bit of a stiff left shoulder, and we both feared that it may be on its way back with a vengeance. But I gave her a 10-minute ralgex rub (massage) and it seemed to fend it off.

At 12pm, we had a visit from kp’s boss and personnel to discuss kp and her situation at work. They brought flowers, which was nice, and started by asking how kp was. They seemed to understand it will be a long recovery, but at the same time, they have to think of the practicalities of the situation. Karen did very well taking everything in, and although she had to ask for a repeat of some information, she seemed to take it all in and I hardly had to do any talking. She got a little upset and there were a few tears, when they hinted about ill health retirement effectively ruling out her return to work. kp (and I) feels she needs to keep hold of her aim to go back to work. Ruling it out just shuts a door in her face and she doesn’t want to hear doors slamming at the moment.

With the meeting over, you can probably guess what happened next. Sleep. She has been asleep since about 2pm. I need to get her up shortly in time for the arrival of Jane and Ronnie. Chinese tonight.

Day 308 – Thursday 2nd March 2006 – Addendum

Well, we had a great night with Ronnie and Jane. Jane had us in absolute stitches as per usual, and I have no doubt it did kp the world of good. Ronnie attended kp’s clinic to sort all her problems out, and Jane and kp handed out good advice.

Lovely chinese. I retired about 10pm, when conversation took the usual dive into men, women’s problem and other non-savoury topics.

I think kp came to bed about 2am. So, about 2pm, I’ll try and wake the beast

Day 309 – Friday 3rd March 2006

Well, I have since learned it was 2.45am when kp went to sleep.

Jane got up and shot off at 9am, she was going away for the weekend with Tony. Ronnie was up at a reasonable time, but when noone surfaced for breakfast with her, she returned for a snooze. The Pollard household was up and about by about 1pm.

Lots of chatting today, lots of catching up. Very little action !

At about 3pm, kp returned to bed. Ronnie fell asleep on the sofa. Both girls are still asleep, lucky I am a dab hand at twiddling my thumbs.

Roast Pork tonight.

That’s it !! Let’s hope for a more interesting blog entry tomorrow.

Day 310 – Saturday 4th March 2006

Well, kp was up at a reasonable time of 9am today to greet me when I came back from walking the dogs. We had some brekky, then went back to bed until 12pm.

We had a second breakfast (cooked) with Ronnie, before the girls decided to go to Cotton Traders at Dalton Park. It feels very strange when Karen leaves me. And today, I really missed her. I always like to know where she is when she is around the house, and when she goes away in someone elses car, I wonder if she may be going away for another 7 months. Stupid I know ! But it’s a real strong feeling.

I was very relieved when she got home. Ronnie had took some photos while they were out. Apparently, they had had a wonderful time. Karen really enjoyed being out with her friend, she felt like it was a bit of normality.

They came a bit unstuck, when kp went shopping for brassieres. I think Ronnie managed to undress kp ok, but when it came to putting kp’s jumper back on, she got the head half on, but couldn’t work out how to get her left arm through.

Ronnie :- How do I do the next bit ?
kp (head invisible underneath her jumper) :- I don’t know, I can’t see what you have done.

Apparently, they had a good laugh about it.

Since they have come back, we have been trying to get Ronnie hooked up with a fella at various dating sites. When we have completed her profile, I will add a link in here in the hope of attracting a bit more attention.

Here are some photos vd did of kp….

Day 311 – Sunday 5th March 2006

Great night last night. Karen ordered the pizzas but only Ronnie got the right pizza. It was the pizzaman’s fault of course !

We watched Saturday night tv and had lots of fun chats. We got Ronnie registered on a dating website

I couldn’t persuade her to be a “Woman” looking for a “Woman”. She had to pick the “Woman” looking for a “Man” option. I couldn’t find her today when I tried to advertise her on the blog site. Within 5 miles of her postcode (in London), there are over one hundred 40 year olds ?! And it wouldn’t let me get any further unless I registered. If I had registered, you could bet your life kp would walk in half way through wondering why I was looking for women on websites – much older women at that ! ;-)

kp was all aches and pains today. Long walks are a real struggle for kp and Dalton Park took its toll. She had a hot bath last night and it didn’t really help. She took extra pain relief today (Diclofenac and Codeine).

We bade goodbye to Ronnie at 11am. She had to get back for her nephew’s birthday bash and at 1pm Kevin (kp’s work colleague from the same car) and his family came for an hour. The kids were dying to meet the dogs and were in fits of giggles at being licked to death by them.

When Kevin went, we went for a snooze. That’s it for today. Action packed week this week…..

Monday – Physio (morning), Meal out with Family (evening)
Tuesday – OT in the afternoon
Wednesday – The chap who caused the accident gets sentenced. We are attending court.
Thursday – kp’s work colleagues visiting
Friday – Adele coming

Looking forward to it.

Day 312 – Monday 6th March 2006

For the last month or so, kp has been having the biggest sweats in the middle of the night and we have been racking our brains to work out what it is. For the past 2 weeks, we have taken 2 nighties to bed, so she can change one in the middle of the night, the sweats are THAT bad.

Ronnie stayed this weekend and the same night kp had a bad sweating episode, I was also a bit sweaty. We mentioned this to Ronnie.

Ronnie – Have you tried changing your duvet ?

The same night, we swapped duvets, and ever since then have been fine. I think kp and I should win some sort of award for the “dumbest couple in Durham”.

Physio today. kp’s shoulder has been a lot better since last week’s physio, but she has still had some twinges over the last day or so, so today’s session was spent loosening it up again. After some massage, the physio decided to see how well kp could reach with her left hand/arm compared to when this was done a month or so ago. The aim of the game is to move the cones into the middle of the rings, with the rings being moved progressively further away. kp’s arm has definately improved !!! Her reach is longer, and her hand control is better. I was well proud.

Shopping followed physio. And by the time shopping was done, kp was flagging big time. Quick bite to eat and then bed.

7pm tonight we were at Chevitas in Durham for a lovely meal with Dave, Yvonne, Chris, Craig and Laura. The food was excellent, and we had a really good night. Even better, it was the Gall’s treat ;-)

Sorry about the picture quality….

Day 313 – Tuesday 7th March 2006

Upsetting Day today.

kp was up before me ! That’s a first ! And when I got up, she came back to bed until I had walked the dogs.

We had a busy morning ringing various associations, doctors, chemists, consultants. kp is due to have another operation to sew up her stomach muscles, and was going to be referred for hydrotherapy, so we chased both those issues with Sunderland Hospital.

At 3pm, the OT arrived to give Karen the results of the tests from last week.

It took about 15 minutes to get through the results and although there were no big surprises, by the end of it Karen was in tears :-(

Karen was told the following :-

Her visual perception (how her brain perceives what is going on) is significantly impaired. Real life examples were given along the lines of

  • not seeing all the food on her plate
  • not seeing cars when she crosses roads
  • not seeing cars or pedestrians if she was driving

She has a problem processing information. If she receives instructions, she has big problems taking them in and needs them broken down into single instructions. It also takes a long time to get the instructions into her brain. Real life examples were given such as the instructions for the coat hanger which she couldn’t take in from last week’s test. If she receives a phonecall with lots of information, she wouldn’t be able to relay it all back to someone (something we know to be the case).

Her sensory motor skills are not what they were with Karen taking a lot more time to do a simple task than she would have otherwise have done.

On the good side, her memory is still ok.

The OT went on to say that these tests mean she would not be allowed to drive a car at the moment and that she shouldn’t go outside (crossing roads) on her own, she also mentioned she shouldn’t be even thinking about going back to work at the moment, and added that visits from her work aren’t appropriate given that she shouldn’t be making big decisions at the present time.

All of this hits kp hard. I asked for a copy of the results and could see that quite a few of the tests were marked as “severely impaired”.

kp feels like she is psychologically being “beaten up” by these results. NOTHING AGAINST the OT here !! She understands that she needs to see where she is weak so she can work on it, but she still feels like she is being roughed up.

She made reference (again) to the fact that work are visiting her to see how they can help her get back to work but that her real state at the moment isn’t anywhere near that.

From the outside, even to family and friends, kp appears to be the old kp. But, as the OT said, if kp is out of a familiar environment, she would struggle to cope with it, giving the example of a trip to the Metro Centre. kp would struggle to find a shop, and when she got to the shop, she would struggle to find the item she was looking for. When the OT said this, kp rememebered a situation from her Dalton Park (her trip with vdfromboro), where vd knew where they were, but kp was lost in the midst of all the shops.

So, the plan ………….

Next week, the OT is going to take kp shopping, but unlike “hubby” who would lead the expedition, kp has to be the decision maker, she has to pick a car park space for the OT to park in, remember it, remember the car they drove in (the OT’s), remember to pay for a ticket, etc etc etc….It should be really good for kp. The only way kp is going to get better is to tax her brain.

When the OT had gone, kp went straight to bed.

kp:- I need to get out of here.

So, not a good day today. She has decided not to go to court tomorrow – thanks Mum for your advice on this. I think it is for the best that she doesn’t go. I can report back all she needs to know.

kp is up from her sleep as I type this and is about to make a chicken bake (with my help of course).

That’s it for today..

PS – kp received a blog comment from “Mandy” the other day. She doesn’t know which Mandy this is. Mandy, please could you leave another blog comment saying which Mandy you are. Thanks

Day 313 – Tuesday 7th March 2006 – Addendum

When kp got up from her snooze, we went outside for a cup of tea and a natter and kp got upset again.

kp (crying) :- “I feel like I am a thicko”

I tried to explain that she was just as intelligent as she was pre-accident and that she was still the kp we all know and love. I also tried to put into perspective her impairments.

dp :- All it means, love, is that you can’t take information in as quick as you used to…etc etc…

I also said…..

dp :- I tell you what, love. If you had to have a stroke, then I am glad we got the stroke we did. You could have been unable to speak, needing your food mashed up etc etc….

We got the tears under control.

For dinner, I made a shepherd’s pie (well, more like, warmed up a shepherd’s pie) and as I prepared this, Karen prepared a chicken bake for Thursday’s tea. I stood back as much as I could and let her do most of it.

Notice she can still multitask like only women can do (apparently)…..

Speaking on phone and doing chicken bake

Day 314 – Wednesday 8th March 2006 – BLOGFLASH

Just a quick blog entry to let people know the result of the case against the driver.

He got given

  • 4 months custodial sentence suspended for 2 years
  • 300 hours community service
  • 3 year driving ban
  • Has to resit an extended driving test after 3 years
  • Pay £100 Court Costs

More details to follow in the full blog entry later.

Day 314 – Wednesday 8th March 2006 – Sentencing Day

The sentencing at court today was on my mind all night and I had a bad night’s sleep. kp slept very well. I got up at 5am, sick of just lying awake in bed. Unusually, kp was up early as well, and we had breakfast at around 8am.

kp went back to bed as I went off to court, with Michelle, Freddy and Adele due to arrive at 11am to look after kp when she woke up.

I have only ever been in Crown Court before, so was interested to see what Magistrates Court was like. Not that impressive. A small square room, 3 magistrates at the front, and about 7 or 8 other court people (including the solicitors dotted around). There were only 5 seats for the public, so Angela, hubby and I shared 2 seats between the 3 of us.

Angela’s uncle attended and being a policeman he knew how these things worked and sorted out some time with us with the prosecuting solicitor so we could get across to him what all the injuries were. A good move.

There were a couple of cases before ours and they were in and out within 5 minutes. Sounded like a criminal damage and a skally who was banned from the Metro Centre.

Our case kicked off right on time at about 10.30am. Here is the order of play…..

The chap was called in to the court and he looked ghostly. Never seen such a shade of grey :-(

It started with the crown prosecution solicitor stating the facts of the accident. He went in to the extent of damage, upset, police time and injuries caused. It was quite stirring when Kevin, Angela and Karen’s injuries were read out. I think kp would have got upset at that point. This lasted about 10 minutes. At some point, our chap made reference to the fact Angela was in court. The defendant never looked back AT ALL throughout the whole thing.

It was then the turn of the defendants solicitor. He submitted letters of reference from his doctor, another magistrate and some other party. The magistrates retired to read these through for about 10 minutes. In that time, another case was heard.

When they returned, the defendant’s solicitor stated his side of things. To be fair, he acknowledged the severity of the case, but he did say it could happen to any of us. One thing he said slapped Angela and I across the face, namely…….

Defendant’s solicitor :- Dangerous Driving has many levels of “dangerous”. This case has to be one of the lesser forms of Dangerous Driving. The defendant hadn’t stolen the car, he wasn’t evading police etc etc….

Of course, he had a point, but it still was a bit of a slap.

When he had made his case, he submitted pre-sentence reports stating how the defendant was a broken man, suffering from depression. He had a completely clean driving licence and basically was a model citizen apart from this.

The magistrates then retired again to work out what they were going to do. They were gone a LONG time (45 mins), apparently quite unusual, for magistrates court according to the defendant’s solicitor. I was pleased they were taking so long over it, instead of just writing it off. I would like to think our presence in the court probably made them think of the importance of the whole thing to us.

The result was read out by the middle magistrates and is listed in the previous blog entry.

kp is numb to the whole thing and seems very subdued tonight. I suspect it will take her a while to digest today and if there are tears, knowing kp, they will come in a day or so. She was due to go out for a meal tonight with Sue (ex work colleague), but we cancelled. Sue was very understanding.

When I got home from the court, I told kp all about it. Michelle and co still hadn’t arrived. I think they got here about 30 minutes after I arrived. Michelle brought lunch which was nice.

Lovely bread, Ham, Pies, Eclairs.

We had a nice lunch together, but then kp had to go to bed, and because of my early start, I was more than happy to go with her. We felt very guilty leaving all our guests, but sleep definately beckoned.

Interesting Day, leaving a very subdued kp. :-(

I’ll leave today’s blog entry with a funny photo. Louisa (2) saw me eating a ham and mustard sandwich and said she wanted some of what I was eating (pointing at the mustard).

I was happy to oblige and put a tiny bit on a piece of bread. The result was a strange face with mustard pasted bread fully visible……..

And a nice bit of chewed bread and mustard being spat out subsequently.

Day 315 – Thursday 9th March 2006

kp got up about 12pm, giving her just enough time to get ready for her visitors at 1pm. Steph and Debbie arrived on time, bearing cakes and choccies :-) Thanks girls.

We had a lovely chat with them, with a lunch of toasted sandwiches and steph’s cake :-)

I took a photo after we had scoffed….

Debbie, Steph and kp.

Debbie complained that she had no makeup on, so I told her not to worry, I would sort that later !!!

Snooze in the afternoon. kp’s chicken bake tonight. May the Lord protect us !

A better day today.

Day 315 – Thursday 9th March 2006 – Addendum

Well, the coat hanger (being sold for charity) has raised £16 for Marrow Transplant 2000 :-)

kp woke up from her snooze, feeling very subdued, hardly speaking. She has gone back to bed at 7.45pm, after being up an hour.

Hopefully, she will feel better when she wakes up.

Day 316 – Friday 10th March 2006

Because of kp’s big sleep yesterday, I couldn’t stay up as late as her and retired about 12am. kp didn’t come to bed until 3am !!

Adele came to do our cleaning at about 12pm and got well stuck in. kp got up when she arrived, and had a shower. I wanted to say “quick shower”, but they are a thing of the past. Hairdressers at 1pm.

Pain seems to be in control at the moment and she hasn’t needed any special dp ralgex rubs.

On returning from the hairdressers, kp said she couldn’t be bothered to have the usual banter with the ladies in there. I think she is still a bit flat, but I sense an upward mood swing coming.

We popped in at the charity shop on the way home, as I wanted a dog walking coat. £4 – A real bargain. Although I am sure Marie would have got £3 knocked off that, and got them to throw 2 in for the price of 1 as well. ;-)

Here’s kp’s new look hair doo. Another style to get used to – yippee ! :-(

I am starting to work on “Karen Pollard’s Biggest Challenge” – the book version. kp is due to start reading the blog 1 year after the accident (27th April 2005) and I want to have it in book format by then. By that, I mean that it will be readable from front to back. At the moment, if you wanted to read the blog from the beginning, you have to read it in a disjointed fashion. In preparation for this, I am fleshing out the first 2/3 weeks. The first 2 weeks were so touch and go that I didn’t have the wherewithall to write blog entries, so I have only brief entries for these first couple of weeks. I am sifting through Karen’s medical records from the hospital and conferring with friends and family to make the first 2 weeks more of a fuller read, so hopefully kp will know how bleak things were in the first few weeks.

I hope to make the new blog book version available on the web for anyone else who wants to reminisce or relive it.

Here’s me sifting through Karen’s medical records. This pile represents about half the records…..

Chicken Bake tonight as we skipped it last night – kp didn’t eat at all.

PS – John Brundle – great to hear from you. You’re welcome to visit, but we understand the time a 2 1/2 year old takes up. If you want to arrange to pop through (with or without child/wife, we are easy), then give me a ring on my mobile if you still have the number or you can email me. We’d love to see you again !

Day 316 – Friday 11th March 2006 – Addendum

Well, tonight, while I took Adele to the bus station, kp finished off her chicken bake. She does this lovely topping of fried bread in pieces. It is lovely. I half expected to return home to find that she was still struggling with it, but she was sat in the lounge watching “Deal or No Deal” as proud as punch :-)

She took me in to the kitchen to show me her work. It looked gorgeous……

Unfortunately, she was completely unaware she had left the hob on high and left the top off the olive oil.

The chicken bake was gorgeous !!!

kp didn’t have any snoozes yesterday and was keen to make a day through without a snooze. By 9pm, she was flagging big time. She couldn’t wait to get to bed. Unfortunately, she had the sh+ts. There must be a nice way of saying that. Oh yeah, she had an upset stomach and had to get up every 10 minutes for the first hour of her sleep !! :-( Poor cow.

It’s 12:10pm Saturday when I write this and she is still asleep.

When kp had gone to sleep, I had a look at which countries have been reading the blog recently and was pleased to see someone from Canada had come across it. I am able to see how they find the blog, and this person found it by searching at MSN for “bionic woman lifting car” and kp’s blog site shows up ?!?!?!?!?! The post that it takes you to must have some mention of kp being a “bionic woman” with all her metalwork I presume.

Day 317 – Saturday 12th March 2006

Well, kp was up by the time I had returned from picking Marie up from the station. We had a long chat with Marie about her exploits the previous week. She was away visiting Kieran (Glenn’s son) in Bognor Regis. kp and I both missed her and not just for the jobs she does around the house.

At about 4pm, kp was knackered and had to sleep. Marie did our ironing, star that she is. :-)

kp has had more upset stomach issues and doesn’t feel like eating anything at the moment, so pizza is off the menu tonight.

Generally, a quiet day.

I think we may be looking at knocking back some of kp’s fentanyl (morphine) patches as she spends more time asleep than awake these days.

That’s it for today.

PS – Wendy Widelegs. kp did get your first and second emails, but mistakenly filed the first one and forgot you had sent it. She will be emailing you over the next day or so ! Looking forward to the visit :-) Thanks for the reminder email !!!!

Day 318 – Sunday 13th March 2006

Awful awful day today. Marie told me yesterday’s blog didn’t reflect Karen’s mood at all. On reading it back, I know what she means. Karen started on a major downer yesterday – I wasn’t sure if it was just the upset stomach, leaving her feel subdued.

Today started off ok. kp got up with Marie for breakfast. They were met with a very snowy scene. I didn’t get up until 11am. I took the dogs out in the blizzards. Cleo’s left hind paw doesn’t touch the ground any more and it had icicles hanging off it by the time she got back.

Boy, it was cold.

kp went for a snooze at about 1pm until 3pm and got up for a nice chat with Marie, before I took Marie back to the station.

And then poor kp hit rock bottom. She started crying about Cleo and her poorly leg, but it became clear that it wasn’t just Cleo that was on her mind, but everything from her slow rehabilitation to “what’s the point”, from her “aches and pains” to other issues I can’t go into. We spent 15 minutes on the sofa. I tried to reassure her how well she is doing, but it didn’t help. I tried comforting her physically (arm around shoulder stuff) but “Don’t touch me.” – I need to be on my own. Well, I can’t leave her when she is in that state – I just can’t. And I don’t think she wanted me to anyway deep down.

Whilst I had been away, she had run a bath for herself. She likes to have a bath before her big pain patch goes on. Her crying eased off and we decided to do the bath thing. But she started crying again in the bathroom whilst I was getting her clothes off. I comforted her and got her to sit on top of the loo to get her breath back. She regained herself after a few minutes, and sat on the bath chair (that lowers her into the bath). I started lowering her into the bath and she started getting upset again. That is a site I will never forget. She was sat there, helpless, being lowered into a bath and crying her eyes out. It really hit me hard :-(

After the bath, we had a cup of tea, and since then she has been “ok”, by that I mean no more tears/upset. She is in bed now, and I am getting her up after I have written the blog.

Sad day today. A number of people have tried to ring/email kp over the last day or so, but understandably, she doesn’t want to take any calls/reply to emails at the moment. Bear with her, as I am sure she will get past this day soon.

Day 319 – Monday 14th March 2006

Well, touch wood, fingers crossed, don’t walk under a ladder, but we have had a slightly better day today. kp isn’t back to her old self by any means, but I sense a bit of an improvement.

She has had a bad left (and right) shoulder for the past 3 or 4 days, and was looking forward to some relief from physio. The physio got out her magic “Anti-Flam” potion and gave kp a good massage with it, whilst moving her shoulder blade all over the place. At first, the slightest touch feels very strange to kp, but as the physio does more and more of it, her nerves get accustomed to it and within 15 minutes she had relief in her shoulders. Yay !!! :-)

It was then time for kp to do some work with her left arm, the idea being that exercise helps keep it loose and mobile. First off, kp had to place the pieces into a board but only by using her left arm/hand. She has a tendency for her left elbow to stick right out. If you try this while reaching out for something, you’ll know how unnatural this is and that it causes your shoulder gip, but it’s the only way kp knows to get her arm out across a table. So, she has to relearn how to keep it in. Easy said ! kp doesn’t know how to get her elbow in and kept having to ask the physio …

kp:- Is it doing it right now ? (as she concentrated on placing the piece on board)

The physio suggested kp do the puzzle as 2 actions. Get the piece from the side and bring it to your side and then place it. This seemed to do the trick.

With that puzzle over, it was time for a jigsaw. I knew kp wouldn’t like this. She finds this kind of activity hard on both a physical front (moving and manipulating the pieces) and a mental front (scanning for the right pieces and working out their orientation). The physio realised that she couldn’t work out which pieces went where and picked out the 4 corners so kp could place them first. With the 4 corners done albeit at a very slow pace, the physio got the edges together so kp could work on them. She struggled on both the physical and mental front with this. The pieces were hard to pick up, hard to turn and she had to really think about where they went.

We had a little amusing moment when she got one of the pieces, sussed out where it was to go and started trying to place it next to the corner. Unfortunately, the piece was upside down, but she felt it was right. And she started trying to force the piece into the slot. We could all see that one of the prongs of the jigsaw was overlapping the edge of the board and that the other prong (from the corner) didn’t fit. But, BOY, did she try and get it to fit. I was amazed the jigsaw didn’t break.

Noone said anything about this to Karen, with the physio politely saying “I think it goes the other way round.”

Physio over, we went to Costco, the pet shop and Sainsburys for supplies. kp did very well round the shops. I got her to tell me when it was safe to cross the car park into Costco. No problems there ! :-)

At Sainsbury’s another funny moment occurred. I loaded up the checkout conveyor and we waited for the person in front of us to get through. While we waited, kp started fumbling through the lady’s shopping in front of us.

kp:- Why have you got this ? (pointing to some Spicy Madras sauce)
dp:- That’s not our shopping love (ours was to the left)

With shopping over, we came home and had a nice lunch. I was pleased at this, because kp has been off food for a few days, and she had a good lunch/dinner (4pm).

So, fingers crossed etc…..tonight will see her mood lift even further.

She is cancelling her OT session tomorrow because she doesn’t feel up to it and I think she is looking forward to a “nothing” day, something we don’t seem to have had for a while. It’s a fine balance between “keeping her busy” and then the quiet days where all she can do is focus on her aches/pains/condition.

Day 319 – Monday 14th March 2006 – Addendum

Oops forgot to mention.

During physio, it became clear that Karen couldn’t maintain her posture (probably due to having no stomach muscles at the moment, they need sewing up).

So, the physio taped up Karen’s back with some strong tape. She basically put a 6-starred cross going the whole width of Karen’s back. So, when Karen loses posture, it reminds her to straighten up.

It has really done the trick today, with kp constantly correcting herself

Day 319 – Monday 13th March 2006 – Addendum to the Addendum

Another thing I forgot to mention.

During breakfast yesterday, Karen and I were talking and at this point, she wasn’t showing any signs of improvement. She said something like this……..

kp:- I feel like I am just going down and down and down. . I feel like I am entering a really dark place

It’s 1.10pm and we have postponed OT today and kp is still asleep in bed. I am going to wake her now.


Day 320 – Tuesday 14th March 2006

Today has shown more improvement in kp’s mental state. I am very relieved. kp has been in a very dark place (as she described it) before and she didn’t speak for a month (no exaggeration). I remember her trying to talk to Eileen (our next door neighbour) over the fence, and she could only whisper. That was when our final IVF attempt didn’t work.

Today she has pretty much slept all day, probably something she needed to do. She WAS awake from about 1.30am until 5am to be fair and from 1.15pm until 2.30pm.

So, very much a nothing day today, but worth it to see Karen turn a very welcome corner.

Tomorrow we have the neuropsychologist coming which is a big relief as well. I know she will work her magic and kp should feel even better.

That’s it for today.

Well, that’s of course until I remember the things that I have forgot and end up doing 2 bl++dy addendums.

Day 321 – Wednesday 15th March 2006

kp’s sleep is still all to pot. She got up about 2.30am and came back to bed at 6am. At which point, I got up and walked the dogs, had breakfast and rejoined her in bed. She ended up getting up at 2pm.

The neuropsychologist came at 3pm. We had a good chat with her…..

She helps explain kp’s changes in mood very well. We explained that we nearly called her on Monday when things were really bad. In future we will, as she would rather be called when kp needs her than when she doesn’t.

We have a few action points from the meeting. I think the pace of the meeting was too fast for Karen as she kept asking me afterwards….

kp:- So, what do we have to do again…?

That’s it for today. kp is feeling much better in herself. We were going to meet with one of the off-duty policemen who helped kp at the accident, but we have postponed. Thanks John for your understanding.

I think kp will appreciate a “nothing” day tomorrow before “Trouble and Strife”, “Bitter and Twisted”, aka Debs and Lydia descend on Friday for a lovely massage and chinese.

Day 322 – Thursday 16th March 2006

A nothing day today – But a nice day, pain is under control, kp’s mood is back to normal :-) All is well in the Pollard household.

kp’s day has been pretty much – get up, breakfast, snooze, tv. Perhaps an uneventful day has been a bit overdue.

Day 323 – Friday 17th March 2006

Good Day today.

We had an appointment in the morning at 11am at Hunter’s Moor to see a Doctor about kp’s rehab. We both found the session very helpful. She said a few things along the way that kp felt really hit the nail on the head for her.

Things like kp’s recent bout of feeling very down. When kp’s aches and pains were more in control, she seemed to be able to pull herself out of it. The Doctor likened this to when an animal is hurt, they tend to hide away to lick their wounds and that is what kp has been effectively doing. Made sense.

Also, we discussed when kp had suffered a mental breakdown after all the IVF treatments and adoption ended many moons ago. And the Doctor brought the positive out of that to show Karen, that she has a tendency to pull herself out of these tricky situations given time.

It was a very good session and the start of many to come as we will be seeing each month.

When we got back, I was very keen to get kp to sleep so that she could stay awake for Lydia and Debs’ visit. We had a good hour and then Diane arrived with her massage table.

kp was first up for a massage. I managed to catch this photo of her head from underneath the massage table.

For 5 points, can you guess what kp was saying as I took the photo. Have a guess, and the answer will be revealed at the bottom of this blog entry.

We all got our Chakra points tested. We all had the odd one or two out of balance, which Diane sorted out.

All the girls had body massages and I opted for reflexology. We all thoroughly enjoyed it. Diane’s website can be reached by clicking HERE for anyone else who wants a lovely treat.

I was last to go in. I entered the tranquil room with candles lit and lovely relaxing music playing. Got on the bed, started to relax and then for the next 30 mins all I could hear (above the music) were 3 wailing women in the front room laughing their socks off. ;-)

Here are the girls in full gossip mode………

So…….a really good day today. The only negative is Karen discovered a BIG (tennis ball) size swelling of Cleo’s bad leg, so we will need to go to the vet tomorrow to get that checked out.

ok………..what was Karen saying when I took that photo ?

I’ll give you the full five points for ….

kp:- Turn that bl++dy camera off

and I think it was followed by………

kp:- That’s not going on the blog

Day 324 – Saturday 18th March 2006

Well, it truly was a fantastic day today. kp has “never laughed so much in her life” (her words). It was so good to see her laugh so much after such a long “dark” period.

The girls left at about 12am I think, maybe a little after and kp was asleep by 12.30am although she was still offering them a cup of tea at 12am !!!

The most memorably moment of the evening was Lydia’s telling of her “Shiney Row” experience. Unfortunately, I have probably said too much already, but it was a corker.

We did have a brilliant day and night and it was so good to see kp in her element.

Today, we took Cleo to the vet, meaning kp had to get up before God at 8.30am. The vet wasn’t sure what the lump was but Cleo had a temperature so she thinks it may be an infection. We came away suitably equipped with antibiotics. Fingers crossed.

kp was straight to bed to catch up on her lost Z’s when we got back.

At 1.30pm, the Donovan clan arrived (Marie, Adele, Abbie and Louisa). We had a great time with them as well. I seemed to be the kid’s entertainer, while the girls gossipped. I seem to be getting better at managing kids. One on my knee drawing while helping the other one compile a cd compilation album of Sugababes and Gwen Stefani. Throw in the added knee bounce for the little one to the music and it kept them all happy.

My only complaint is kids should come equipped with “pause” buttons or a “snooze” button like an alarm clock, but that aside it was a great day. Great to see kp back in the swing of things.

Pizza night tonight.

A little funny from yesterday. kp couldn’t get on the massage table for her massage, and although i could have lifted her up, it would have probably dislocated something or other, and been very painful. After a bit of thinking, I had to get the large step ladders for her to climb on the first step to get her bum on the table. Day off tomorrow, before quite a busy week.

Day 325 – Sunday 19th March 2006

A very welcome relaxing day. Nothing happening – nice change.

We had a great day yesterday with Marie, Adele, Abbie and Louisa, and a nice relaxing day today. kp spent most of it asleep. We have started to wean her off the Tamazepam (sleeping tablet). Apparently, it is addictive and you can’t just come off it, so the rehab doctor advised she go down to 1/2 a tablet a day for a couple of weeks. She certainly doesn’t seem to need it for sleep any more.

kp’s opening hours today were 11am – 12pm, back to sleep and then she opened up for communication at about 4pm.

Very uneventful day. This week reads as follows :-

Mon – Stroke Association meeting in the morning, OT in the afternoon
Tue – Yvonne and Marie coming up
Wed – Physio for kp & I while Adele cleans house
Thu – kp meeting Sue at Chevitas for an early dinner
Fri – kp + I go to Mum and Dad for the night and for Saturday lunch
Sat – Marie staying Friday and Saturday nights

Busy week

Day 326 – Monday 20th March 2006

Happy Anniversary Karen :-) 13 years today and she remembered.

A stonkingly good day today. kp is “on fire” :-)

Compared to last week, Karen is sooooooooo much better in both mood and physical ability. There was nothing getting in her way today.

I think her pain being in check helps significantly with her mood, but it seems more than that. The day pretty much well started on a high and got better all day.

kp got herself up while I was dog walking and showered herself (no change there), but today ………..

kp:- I washed my hair with 2 hands today (beaming smile).

She went on to demonstrate her new technique, which was as much her head going down to her left hand as her left hand going on top of her head, but hey – it works !! :-)

We had a nice cheery breakfast before the lady from the Stroke Association arrived. She said the right thing to Karen over and over again. It was as if I had written a script of all the right things she should have said and she said them.

Karen queried her about her constant tiredness, something I am always saying to her is normal given her stroke/medication etc…

Stroke Association Lady :- Yes, that’s totally normal. With a head injury or stroke alone, you would be feeling a lot more tired all the time. Noone knows scientifically why that is, but they say it is something to do with your brain having to work harder to do everyday things.

kp quizzed her about how long her recovery will take. The lady told her not to rush herself and allow a couple of years (from now) for things to get as well as they’re going to get.

She also gave kp a good “measure” for when she should consider going back to work, specifically……….

Stroke Association lady :- When you can get up at 8am, get yourself ready completely on your own, go shopping all day, come back and make tea and not fall asleep until the night time, and you can do that 3 times a week, then you can consider some part time work.

This was brilliantly put, as kp now realises that she can’t do that without 12 snoozes per day ;-) and therefore isn’t ready for work.

It was a really good session.

No sooner had she gone than the OT and assistant arrived to take kp shopping. kp had done all the menus for the week and the resultant shopping list. I didn’t go as the whole point is kp doing everything (bar the driving) for herself. According to the OT, kp did very well with no problems.

Snooze beckoned when she got back and I can hear she has just got up now. So all in all, an exceedingly good cake of a day.

May tomorrow be much the same ! :-)

Day 327 – Tuesday 21st March 2006

Another good day, although kp was in a bit of pain today, presumably because of the shopping trip.

Yvonne and Dave (kp’s sister and bro-in-law) were due to arrive at lunchtime (“dinnertime” as they call it up here) with Marie, Michelle and Louisa (sisters and great niece) arriving about 1pm.

kp got up about 11.30am and then 5 minutes later Yvonne and Dave arrived. It took kp by surprise, but Yvonne was amusing herself within minutes. Yvonne’s idea of amusement is “cleaning” or should I say “cleaning with a vengeance”. Within seconds of her arrival, the kitchen surfaces were immaculate. Our oven looks brand new.

We had a sandwich lunch together (which kp helped prepare).

Louisa kept herself amused (she is only 2) on my computer, listening to the Balamory theme tune. All together now………….

“Ba—la—mo—ry, Ba—la—mo—ry, what’s the story in Balamory, wouldn’t you like to know”

It’s quite a catchy song, unfortunately too catchy. Within minutes we were all singing it and cursing ourselves for doing so.

We had a lovely afternoon. kp didn’t snooze until about 4.30pm when she had a couple of hours.

Here’s a few photos of the day….As will all photos (on the blog), just click on them to see them full size !

Louisa and Bonnie

I wonder what Louisa has been eating ?

Still guilty :-)

Louisa looking at Cleo’s bad leg……

The ringed bit (although not obvious from this photo) is her ankle joint and it is bigger than a tennis ball :-(

Day 328 – Wednesday 22nd March 2006

Another good day :-) It started with a phonecall from the physio’s assistant at 9am to cancel this afternoon’s session. The physio wasn’t feeling too well :-(

kp stayed in bed until 11am as I took Cleo to the vet for another examination. She is going to get x-rayed and biopsied tomorrow.

But it was a glorious day so it was calling for kp to walk the dogs with me :-) She was happy to give it a go and when she got up, we took all 3 dogs out for a “W” (as we call it. If we say “walk” they all jump up excited). It wasn’t the fastest pace in the world (1mph), but we made steady progress, feeding the donkeys on the way.

kp on the walk

kp watching me play with dogs

And who the hell is this handsome brute ?


Adele was at home when we got back and soon got stuck into the cleaning :-)

kp snoozed after her expedition – I kept her company. As I write this, she is making Chicken Bake for tea :-) The only thing I have been called for so far, is to get the flour down from the shelf – Fingers crossed :-)

Easy relaxing day tomorrow for kp with dinner (with Sue, ex work colleague) at Chevitas :-)

Day 329 – Thursday 23rd March 2006

Not the best of days today.

I took Cleo to the vets today to get an X-ray and possibly biopsy done. It’s a sedation job for Cleo, so I left her in the vet’s good hands. When I returned I got kp up and we had a nice breakfast although were both a little quiet, probably anxious about the outcome with Cleo.

kp went back to bed after breakfast and about lunchtime the vet phoned with the bad news. Cleo has bone cancer and the growth in her ankle is a large tumour. They couldn’t be sure if it had spread yet. The vet didn’t recommend amputating her leg as this is not always a good idea with larger dogs. The prognosis is it’s terminal and just a matter of time. The vet hinted at putting her to sleep now, but I am normally good at telling when the right time comes and it isn’t now. She loves her walks so much despite it being a 3-legged affair.

I had to break the news to Karen which was very hard and she got very upset. During the day, she picked herself up and her mood is better than it was but she is still subdued. She was due to dine with Sue tonight at Chevitas in Durham, but she didn’t feel up to it. Sue was understanding.

I picked Cleo up from the vets and we spent quite a bit of the afternoon with all 3 of us (kp, me and Cleo) on the sofa. Here is Cleo (the leader of the pack) on the sofa doing her “soulful look”. It’s a real killer. :-(

Generally a sombre afternoon.

kp has just gone for a lie-down. She is ok. We had a bit of a chuckle in the bedroom. She sat on the side of the bed before flinging her legs up on to the bed. Just before she flung her legs. I said……..

dp:- Do you remember when I used to get you into bed ?

And I did the usual routine of grabbing her legs and lifting them on the bed. She laughed.

dp:- And when I used to turn you on to your side ?

And I went through the commotion of that routine, which involved putting my hands underneath her and pulling her over.

More chuckles

It’s nice that she can laugh with such bad news. Distraction is definately the key at the moment.

Day 330 + 331 – Friday / Saturday 24/25th March 2006

A combined blog for the last 2 days as we have been to my mum and dad’s for a visit and had no time to blog last night.

Yesterday, kp and I didn’t get off to a good start. I felt like I had the world on my shoulders (packing, present wrapping, car battery charging, shopping etc etc…) and not enough time to do it. So, I was a bit faster than usual in trying to get kp showered and ready. kp’s speed was leisurely at its fastest. Needless to say, a few cross words were said, and it was the usual…..

dp:- ok……Shall we start the morning again ?
kp smiled, chuckled :- Yes, good idea.

We kissed and made up and started again.

I got het up again, and we had the exact same “shall we start the morning again” conversation about 10 minutes later.

Anyway, we got past that. Marie arrived at lunchtime to look after the dogs while we were away. We had some nice catch-up time with her and then had a lovely journey down to Lancashire. We hit rush hour queues but we didn’t mind.

We enjoyed a Steak and Sidney pie at mum’s before going to the Golf Club for a racing night. We had a cracking time, LOTS of laughs in good company. Here is kp counting her winnings…..

kp slept the whole way down in the car, so I was concerned she wouldn’t sleep tonight, but I needn’t have been. She slept like a lamb. I was woken up at 6am by the damn wall clock we bought Mum and Dad for their 40th wedding anniversary. Every 15 minutes thereafter it continued to keep me awake. Grrrrrrr ! Here is the view again. Our sheep (up north) haven’t lambed yet, but they lambed a couple of weeks ago in Lancashire. You may just be able to make out some lambs.

We got up about 10.15am and went downstairs to find Jane and Guy had arrived with Sophie and Jamie. We had a great time with them and all in all, it was a lovely weekend. :-)

Here is Sophie cutting up her birthday cake. This was taken after the huge tears she had when we all sang Happy Birthday to her ?!?!??!?!

Very good journey back although kp couldn’t sleep ?! That’s it ! :-)

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