Archive for May, 2006

Day 370 – Monday 1st May 2006

Karen woke up in a strange physical state today. Her hip (right) was causing her big problems. She couldn’t walk without really contorting her body. It was the strangest thing. It’s as if her hip had dislocated a bit (obviously it hadn’t). She had got up in the night to take the breakthrough pain cocktail of Diclofenac and Codeine but was still in pain.
The only thing we could think of that has caused this is maybe I had slept with my leg over her right leg (no jokes about “getting my leg over” please) and that the weight of it had strained kp in some way ?!

I’ll be getting her up shortly (4pm) so we’ll see if it’s any different since the last time she got up (11am).

Anyway, she remembered my birthday which was nice. I got a lovely card and some sherbet dips. She must have got them with Ronnie (the other day). Aaaaaaaarrrrrrrrr :-)

This day last year, kp was at death’s door and Dad had found her birthday card (for me) in Karen’s knicker draw. :-)

I said to kp the other day that all I want for my birthday is “you”. And I meant it ! Anyone feeling nauseous yet ?

Her eyes have also been playing up today. Problems focussing, especially on the computer. Nice day, relaxing, but otherwise uneventful.

Day 371 – Tuesday 2nd May 2006

kp was up at 8 today. That’s AM, Ante Meridian, morning, before noon. I think she had wondered where I was. I had got up at 4.30am, unable to sleep. Her hip was a lot better today, I am pleased to report, not 100%, but signicantly better. Today’s problem was her eyes. She struggled to focus on things. She went back to bed after breakfast and after wishing my dad a Happy 66th Birthday.

I joined her, but no sooner had I put my head down than the boilermen arrived to fix the boiler. They brought with them a nice shiny new boiler bit (that’s its technical term).

New Boiler Part

It was supposed to be a 2 hour fitting job (tops), but it’s 5.30pm and they are still at it ! At least they are earning their £700.

Marie arrived at 1.45pm after a 3 hour bus set of bus journeys. We went straight off to take Cleo to another vet for a second opinion and are we glad we did. We found a helpful vet, a caring vet, someone who spoke to us succinctly and gave good advice. We were very pleased. The vet told us what she would do if it were her dog. Rather then evade the question completely like the Lanchester vet.

So, basically, she is going in on Thursday to get her leg taken off at the hip. I am referring to Cleo here and not Karen who is keeping both her legs, just in case any bloggers starting reading from this sentence. Actually, it’s a little more involved than that.

She (Cleo still) first gets her chest x-rayed and if the tumour hasn’t spread to her lungs they are going to amputate and apparently she could live another 5 years if she’s lucky. kp and I are all too aware that if the tumour has spread, the leg stays and she doesn’t have very long left.

But, we are very pleased with that.

With no running water and no central heating and a very blustery day, the house was freezing on our return and kp kept her coat on and sat by the fire trying to warm herself up. She also used the “gassing” technique whereby if she talks a great deal, she warms up. Here’s Marie and kp warming themselves up big style.

Marie and kp gassing

Marie and Karen spent most of the afternoon after that sorting Karen’s clothes out for the Spain holiday in a couple of weeks. That’s it for today

Day 372 – Wednesday 3rd May 2006

The plumbers (4 of them) didn’t go until 6.45pm. It was good to have the house back to ourselves. Poor Marie had to go moments later to catch the bus to Middlesbrough. I went to bed at 11pm and kp followed at 2am.

Not a good day today. We had some good plans today. Tesco shopping and in the afternoon, I was due to give blood, with kp coming to meet up with her work buddies.

From the moment she woke up, I could tell all was not well. The tell-tale signs were there. She was quiet, with her head down and uninterested in anything around her.

I made her some breakfast – hardly a word was spoken. She was uninterested in anything I had to say, and apologised for her mood – Obviously, not necessary ! From the little she did say, I could gather it was her body that was pulling her mind down. There is so much she wants to do, but she feels so trapped unable to do it. Something as simple as “putting the washing out”. She was chomping at the bit to do that today but couldn’t.

When it came to me giving blood, she certainly wasn’t up to going and couldn’t have faced her work buddies, so we stayed at home. It’s a shame really, because we got her all ready for a trip out and she spent most of the afternoon in bed.

Hopefully tomorrow will be a better day – although Cleo is going to the vet in the morning and that could spell bad news. Fingers crossed – as always.

Day 372 – Wednesday 3rd May 2006 – Addendum

At about 10pm, kp ad I were outside with the dogs. It was lovely and quiet and you could see every star in the sky. We were a little anxious about tomorrow and whether they would find any white spots on Cleo’s Chest X-ray. Whilst I was looking up at the stars, I saw the most amazing shooting star. It wasn’t the normal “gone in a flash” one, this was markedly bigger and easily visible with a huge tail of fire behind it. I nearly spat my fag out as I shouted :-

dp:- KKAARREENN, look at that ! Shooting Star !

Unfortunately, by the time kp looked up it had gone. It probably lasted about a second or just over (a long time for a shooting star) but it wasn’t time enough for kp to react. Then came the bollocking :-

kp:- You frightened the life out of me. Don’t shout like that !

dp:- But, but, but…

I shut up.

We talked for a little while longer, before heading in. Cleo was lying very peacefully on the lawn. kp went to stroke her but she couldn’t bend down enough to give her the big love she wanted to give. She turned round to walk into the house and she was crying her eyes out.

kp:- I can’t even give Cleo a love.

I comforted her as best I could. But it wasn’t enough.

kp:- I am sick of being trapped in this body. I just want to be better now !

I can’t recall seeing her this upset before. It made me very sad.

kp:- I have had enough. I just want to get out of here. I am going to sleep (still crying)

We got in bed and she cuddled up into me and just cried and cried.

dp:- You have come so far love.

kp:- I hate it when people say that. It doesn’t change the way I am now. Do you understand how I feel ?

I explained that I could imagine how frustrated she must be and rattled off examples of every day things she finds hard. I then started to talk about Hitler and World War 2, as you do. I was trying to draw an analogy about how she was fighting a war and there were many battles to be fought along the way to winning. Some she’d win, some she wouldn’t. But she’d win most of them and Hitler would be defeated. Well, her wailing turned to crying so my mad analogy obviously helped a bit.

She then gradually started crying less, not saying a word – less and less crying until she fell asleep in my arms. I was well pleased. By this time, I had got a sweat on and had to push her away – she didn’t wake up thankfully.

Day 373 – Thursday 4th May 2006

Continuing on from yesterday’s addendum…………………..

Today, she woke up no better than yesterday. She hadn’t had a good sleep. She woke up in time to wish Cleo all the best for her operation today. I was glad. I made sure she got back into bed ok and then took Cleo to the vets. If the cancer had spread to the lungs, then amputation would make things worse so we were hoping NOT to get a call.

In the meantime, we addressed kp’s mood. It was still very low. I suggested phoning the neuropsychologist (NP)

kp:- I don’t want to talk to anyone

I phoned anyway. She rang back and spoke to kp. kp’s tone and volume was low. She hardly said a word. I felt sorry for the NP who had to work very hard to coax answers from kp. She talked to kp for 22 minutes and by the end of it, kp wasn’t feeling much better BUT we had an action plan to make things better.

We had deduced that kp’s physical wellbeing has got worse since she started hydro. We were to speak to the hydrotherapy physiotherapist and tell her so she could advise us accordingly. Another problem kp is having is her eyesight is deteriorating.

kp:- Everything is jumbled up.

The NP hinted that the opthamologist may prescribe some occluded glasses to stop her right eye seeing anything at all and reduce the muddle that she sees when her brain combines both images from both eyes. So she is referring her to the eye person.

When the NP went off the phone, I did a mockup pair of glasses with the right eye occluded so she could see the effect. I got kp’s reading glasses and wrapped one side in tin foil. She put them on, but it didn’t seem to make much difference. She looked a bit like Jack Duckworth, and my attempts at a photo for the blog went down like a lead balloon.
With the phonecall over, we went for a snooze at about 11am, hoping for no phone call until 2.30pm, when we were to ring the vet.

30 minutes later, the phone rang :-(

It was the vet and it wasn’t good news. Cleo’s lungs were riddled with cancer and the amputation was pointless. She didn’t have long left and they asked if we wanted to put her to sleep. We got up to discuss it and then rang the vet back to get Cleo put to sleep.

There were a lot of tears as you can imagine.

It was soon time to go to hydrotherapy. I asked her if she still wanted to go.. She did !

We talked with the physio about the fact she has been a wreck after all the hydro sessions and she suggested they take it easier, which they did. kp did lots of exercises (she thinks as much as usual) and then spent 15 minutes lying weightless in the water supported by buoyancy aids on all parts of her body. She gave me a wave and I could tell she really enjoyed it.

Clumsy me took a photo but put my finger in front of the lens so sorry about this one. I have had to circle kp’s head so hopefully you can spot someone amidst all the rubber rings !

kp lazing it in the hydro pool

Back from hydro, we had a nice chat and talked about the missing Cleo and then she went for a snooze. Hopefully, she has turned a corner and will be back to top form in a day or so.

Day 374 – Friday 5th May 2006

Generally, a better day today.

I took the two dogs for a walk today. The whole rhythm of the walk was different as you can imagine, but we still had a nice walk without Cleo.

We had an appointment with the stroke consultant today to discuss progress. We had a nice chat with her for about an hour. We brought up about kp’s inability to go through the night without a number of commode experiences. She arranged for kp to have an ultrasound there and then, but all seemed in order. kp has been given a 4-day chart she has to fill in of how much she drinks and how much she contributes to the local sewer. They think that everything will be ok, and kp just has to relearn when she needs the loo. In other words, when she THINKS she needs it in the night, she doesn’t. This feels right.
On the way back from this visit, kp wanted to go to B & Q to pick up a lounging garden seat (they type you can lie down on). We found a really comfy one, and I encouraged kp to try it out in the shop, to make sure she could get on it. It would be a two stage process. Sit on it first (and it was VERY low) and then fall back (with my help) was what we had in mind.  Unfortunately, the location of the recliner was immediately in front of the entrance, and kp was frightened she wouldn’t be able to get down there (all the way) or back up. Well, I helped kp (as best I could) sit on it, but immediately……

kp:- David, get me up, get me up !

She was laughing.

kp:- I’d never get up from that if I got down. It’ll be fine at home
I tried it and kp took the photo I would have took.

On the way back to the car park I took a photo of kp and her sunglasses. kp’s sunglasses are completely broken but she loves them. The left lens (right as you look at the picture) is very loose and folds over the other lens if you want it to. Not sure you can see it too well from this photo.

We popped in at the garden centre to get some hanging baskets, but they didn’t have any (too early), so kp bought some strawberry plants.

When we got home, Adele had arrived to clean our house and was well stuck in.

So, kp planted her strawberries……Note the pink surgical glove so she doesn’t get mud under her fingernails !!!!

kp explained to Adele how to plant strawberries…..

Not content just to plant strawberries, kp then went round the yard trying to bend down and take weeds out, but that was a non-starter, so guilty-feeling dp ended up doing it after seeing kp try so hard.

No snooze for today – kp did very well ! It was a glorious day. By the time she finished gardening, she was already aching and I know tomorrow she will pay for her attempts today.

I offered to take Adele home on the bike. Here she is (with kp) all togged up. She is my biker chick !

Whilst I was taking adele home, kp said she wanted to try and have a bath on her own. On my return, she told me she didn’t enjoy it at all. She was too nervous about getting in and out on her own, but she feels like it will be better next time.

Day 375 – Saturday 6th May 2006

A better day today, but a sleepy and uneventful one.

kp got up about 1.15pm. We had breakfast outside and she had decided to have a relaxing day today. Her body was causing her problems today and she rightly felt that a “zero activity” day today was right. She was quite down for breakfast and it was all due to her pain. :-(

With breakfast over, we went back to bed and got up about 5.15pm. I should say “I got up at 5.15pm”. kp had got up at 4.30pm, tried on all her holiday clothes (herself) and had a shower (herself). I was well impressed. She was feeling better in herself and she put it down to the lack of pain she felt since she woke up. Interestingly, today was a 100 Fentanyl patch today, so I wonder how much that had to do with the lack of pain.

Tonight feels like it will be a better night.

Day 375 – Saturday 6th May 2006 – Addendum

First of all, kp and I would like to send a big thanks out there to Blogland for everyone’s well wishes with regards Cleo. That includes everyone who emailed kp also !! Your thoughts and best wishes have been very well received by both kp and I.

Since the last blog entry, kp has been VERY busy around the house, maximising her body’s lack of pain. She has put a washing load in, emptied one on to the clothes horse, freshened up flowers (still growing strong Michelle) and tidied around the kitchen.

And she feels better for all of that. When she accomplishes things, no matter how small, she does feel so much better in herself. It’s a shame sometimes that her mental well-being is so tied to her physical well-being, but that’s life I suppose.

Keep it up kp ! She is on the phone at the moment to Jane (Burns). Jane had tried to blog for the first time minutes before the phone call but her laptop battery ran flat. This seems to be Jane’s life story. EVERY time she visits us, her mobile phone runs flat. I can’t recall a time when it hasn’t. kp and I have just been having a giggle at this. American idol tonight with Pizza :-)

Day 376 – Sunday 7th May 2006

kp is on the up and up. She felt better when she woke up this morning. It feels great when she comes out of the doldrums. She is so full of her usual zest for life.

We went to pick Marie up in Durham and headed for Tescos to get kp some clothes for her holidays next week. It was “hell on earth” for me, but I think kp enjoyed it. Marie was somewhere between my “hell on earth” and “purgatory” I think.

Once back from getting a food shop and clothes, kp wanted to maximise her feeling well and get stuck into weeding. I took the role of chief photographer (with fag in mouth) and made sure my bitches worked hard. Actually, I did help out. kp did very well. I think she did a bit too much and told her so, but she wouldn’t listen and then all of a sudden her legs were kaput and she had to stop. Not that I would say “Told you so !”. But I did tell her ;-)

She did VERY VERY well considering, but I feel tomorrow/tonight she will pay the price for the 5-10 minutes she did. Marie and I did about 30 minutes each. I know my back was killing me, but I am a wimp.

Pot Roast Beef Brisket with Red Wine tonight – sounds lovely, fingers crossed it tastes nice !

Day 377 – Monday 8th May 2006

Well, the day started off with the funniest of things. I have experienced Karen (and me) cry in our sleep before. But today, kp was talking in her sleep (nothing too unusual there), but then she started laughing in her sleep. I let it go at first and then she started to do it again. Well, I couldn’t stand it any more and had to wake her up to find out what she was laughing at.

She explained and was then laughing again but awake this time. Something about Vera (whoever she is) not hearing Karen ask her about something about work and then something about some kids having to stand behind a line. It tickled her, but I remained bemused.

We have had a good day today. We dropped Marie off at the bus station in Durham and then went to hydrotherapy. kp had lots of aches and pains from the gardening yesterday and was hoping for some relief. She got it in spades :-)

It was a nice relaxing hydro which is just what she needed. We then shot over Durham to get to the Dentist which kp was really looking forward to ?!?!?!??!

Normally, kp has better teeth than me at the dentist and she always always makes a point of rubbing in how worse my teeth are. Well, today, she was told she had to have a scale and polish ! So, I took great pleasure in rubbing it in.

dp to Dental Clerk :- Can we settle up please? And I need to book an appointment for my wife to have a scale and polish. Apparently, my wife’s teeth aren’t very clean

Once home, I mowed the lawn while kp phoned most of the population of Middlesbrough and Southampton.

And then, we went online to book some flights. At this point, kp got a bit upset. She couldn’t follow me booking the flights/trains we need for our Wimbledon trip. She kept having to ask me to repeat what I had done and explain it to her. I should know by now to explain things like this much slower than I would normally have done. But I forget, because in most other practical ways, her stroke doesn’t seem to have that much impact on her around the house. I suspect I am getting used to most of her other stroke traits (like her forgetting words). She is doing so well generally.

We got past that and she watered her strawberry plants after forgetting yesterday. And the big plus………..she is making my tea !!!!!!! This is a first. It’s sausage and chips (my favourite) :-)

Day 378 – Tuesday 9th May 2006

Great day today.

I walked the dogs and kp was up at 8.30am when I returned so we enjoyed breakfast in the glorious sunshine outside.

We then both went for a snooze until lunchtime. kp was feeling very positive (100 patch today ?). I have been working on the blog book and she has kept herself amused all day watching tv, spending time outside with the dogs and making tea AGAIN !!! Something more ambitious this time – Steak Pie. All I have been called is potato peeling and cutting the stewing steak up.

She seems to be challenging herself every day at the moment and is relishing the success she is having with most things. I have told her how proud of her I am.

A little funny I forgot to mention from yesterday………….

kp can get in the car fine, but she can’t get out of the car without my help. When she gets her stomach muscles sewn up, she should have the strength to straighten herself up but for now, she relies on me to pull her up.

Well, when I get Karen sitting up in the front seat (so she can swing her feet out), I always grunt (with the effort involved). I have done it for as long as I can remember.

kp:- Do you mind not grunting when you get me up ?

dp:- Sorry love

kp:- It’s just it makes me feel like a burden.

We had a laugh about it. It’ll be a hard habit to kick ! Grunt !

Day 379 – Wednesday 10th May 2006

Another good day today.

The glorious weather can only help kp’s frame of mind and she was again on top form today. After her shower, we went outside for a couple of hours and sunbathed on the new B & Q loungers.

Here is kp in full “lounge” mode.

As soon as we got relaxed, the paparazzi were out. Here they are taking low level photographs from a helicopter. Fame has its price ;-)

We headed back in until they had gone. I don’t want kp on the front of the Daily Mail again.
That’s our jam-packed day in a nutshell.Tonight, Jane is coming over to watch the Middlesbrough football match with us and then the finale of “The Apprentice”. It’s all good today !

Day 380 – Thursday 11th May 2006

Well, we had a good night last night, even though ‘Boro got beat 4-0. But we all thought the best team won in the end and deserved to – well done Seville.

Followed by a cracking final Apprentice, we had a really good night ! Jane had us in stitches (as usual) before she “knobbed off” this morning.

kp is again on top form today. Pain is in check and the weather is glorious – put those two together and it really lifts her spirit.

She has just been to hydro and we are both pleased that her original 6 sessions are now being extended to 12 sessions. kp is over the moon.

As I type this, she is on her own at the hairdressers getting a spray tan, haircut and nailjob. Don’t worry mum, I have asked her to get a light tan, so you don’t need to worry that I am coming on holiday with a “Pakistarnnneee”. (An in-joke with mum)

Day 380 – Thursday 11th May 2006 – Addendum

Forgot to mention that kp and I are going to Spain tomorrow (Friday) for a week with ma + pa, my sister and her family. I can’t promise any blog updates while we are away, because I am not sure if I will have internet access or not.

Big thanks go to Marie who is dog-sitting at our house for the week ! 

Day 380 – Thursday 11th May 2006 – Addendum to the Addendum


You know I said I wouldn’t be coming on holiday with a “pakistaaaarrrnneeee” ! That may not have been the whole truth !

Day 381 – Friday 12th May 2006

Well, the flight was uneventful. Our timing was a little tight getting to the airport. No sooner had we arrived, checked in, we had to go straight to the gate (disabled access).

We slept most of the flight.

Dad was there to pick us up. I gave directions to Dad for the villa and we ended up going 10 miles too far on the motorway and paying £3 too much toll booth cost !

We went out to Meson de la Costa for a meal. It was overpriced, but a nice meal and we had a good laugh. The funniest moment of the evening was when Mum tried to move a “piece of meat” off Karen’s face.

kp:- What are you doing ?

mum :- You have a piece of meat stuck on your face.

kp:- That’s not meat, that’s a spot

Another funny is when dad was talking to the waiters. Regular blog readers will know dad’s foreign language skills from previous entries. The skill was in the volume you raised your english voice too.

Tonight we encountered another skill. The “Speak Pigeon English with a foreign accent and they’ll understand it”.

It was funny.

We slept very well that night.

Photos will have to follow on our return,

Day 382 – Saturday 13th May 2006

Cracking day yesterday. kp seems free of pain and full of the joys of life at the moment. It’s “all good” on the kp front.

Slept like logs (only 1 loo trip for kp, which is really good). We did get up at 3.30am to watch the thunderstorm, but that was by choice. It was very impressive against the black sky.

Leisurely morning with breakfast (courtesy of mum). It was very peaceful and then the peace ended……


With the arrival of “The Family”…Jane, Guy, Sophie and Jamie.

Went swimming at Dad’s hotel with the kids who are startiing to get a bit more used to kp and I being around all the time. Dad did a barbecue (photos to follow) and the kids were in bed by 7pm. Poker night followed.

Mum and Dad were wiped out early on. Mum later said…….

Mum:- Well, I think I know why I lost now. I don’t think I really understood the rules. This is after going out on her “cracking” hand of “3 of a kind and a pair” as she called it. That would be the 3 cluibs, 4, diamonds, 5 hearts (3 of a kind !!!!!) and two 9′s.

Dad didn’t fare much better, going “ALL IN” with two 4′s ! Easy money for the rest of us.

Mum and Dad returned to the hotel and we finished off with Jane emerging the victor.


Day 383 – Sunday 14th May 2006

A more usual night for kp last night with 5 loo trips and no commode, but thankfully there are no steps.

We had a great poker night and all slept logs. kp and I went to bed a little later than Guy and Jane. And then we heard a new villa sound we have not heard before. Some sort of foghorn. It turned out to be Guy snoring. And then 10 minutes later, it stopped.

kp:- I bet Jane has just nudged him

We found out this morning that she had indeed nudged him, but more like a thump than a polite nudge.

The kids were up at 5.30am – JOY ! But thankfully kp and I were oblivious to this and only heard them from about 7.30am.

After breakfast they went to the beach leaving kp and I to go back to bed for a much needed snooze. 

kp at the villa

Here is kp outside the villa and we are just about to go down to the shops (about 1/4 a mile away).

Day 384 – Sunday 14th May 2006 – Addendum

We went out for a meal at Rancho Blanco’s last night and we all had a great time.



Dad had consumed a bottle of wine in the afternoon and a number of brandies at Rancho’s and so we were set up for a good night’s entertainment.

The previous night, we had all played poker. Mum and Dad weren’t too au fait with the rules so we had a trial round and then decided to play for real (poker chips, not real money).

Dad went a bit over the top with his betting and I ended up winning the hand and a stackful of his chips.

Dad:- Right, well, that was a practice hand. Let’s start now properly.

Well, we were in stitches at dad’s cunning manipulation of another practice round. This became the in-joke for tonight’s game at every round he had a bad hand.

But, the entertainment didn’t stop there. Tonight’s game was “Hearts” and dad was keeping score. In hindsight, that was obviously not the best idea. In “Hearts”, the lower your score, the better you are playing and every round of the game all the points people have should add up to 127.

So, after half an hour and a few rounds, we took a look at the scores and it didn’t make sense at all. None of the hands added up correctly and he had given Karen 100 points to help her out, but forgetting that points are bad in “Hearts”. We were entertained !

I took over the scoring and we had a couple of normal uneventful hands until it was Dad’s turn to deal. We were supposed to have 8 cards each, but we all had 6 apart from Karen who had 12 cards. At which point Mum decided to take dad back to the hotel.


And then to top of the evening’s entertainment, dad locked the garage on the way to the car, he toddled off to the car and couldn’t see mum at the car.

Dad (coming back to the villa) :- I think I have locked your mum in the garage.

We were in stitches, especially when we heard mum laughing at dad. She hadn’t been locked in the garage, but was putting rubbish in the outside bin and was following dad up the drive.

A real fun packed night.

Not to end on a downer, but it’s something I should put in the blog. Karen used to know how to play hearts and she was a good player. But tonight, she couldn’t seem to grasp the rules at all and was playing all the wrong cards. She wasn’t down about it at all, and she provided nearly as much entertainment as dad at some of the cards she put down.

In “Hearts” you don’t want to end up with any hearts in a hand you win. And hearts can’t be led until someone else has had to put one down. Karen led an ace of hearts.

1-Against the rules and

2-She would end up winning lots of hearts (a bad thing)

Mum:- You can’t lead a heart Karen

Karen took the Ace of hearts back and put a 8 of hearts down.

She clearly was struggling to play it. It was quite sad, but she was laughing at herself, so we didn’t let it get us down and joined in the frivolities.

A cracking night overall !

Day 385 – Monday 15th May 2006

Good day, sad ending.

We had a morning with the kids watching Ice Age 2 (very good), the kids weren’t that interested to be honest. Lunch was the usual “round the table” affair of ham sandwiches and beer – absolutely gorgeous.

And then it was time for Dad, Jane and Guy to go off playing golf. Mum, kp and I had the kids and took them to the swimming pool at Mum’s hotel. kp was keen to carry on her hydro in the lovely warm pool. She did all her usual exercises but avoided swimming after the pain she suffered the last time she tried it.

Here is kp and Sophie in the whirlpool before a 6 foot man lost his footing and fell on kp. kp pushed him away just at the right time so he didn’t do too much damage.

kp and sophie in the jacuzzi

After that we went outside and the kids paddled for ages in the kids pool.

Back to the villa for a chinese – very tasty. Here are kp and I after the chinese.

dp, kp at the chinese

Lots of talking followed with kp grilling dad on company issues. Guy wanted to make a point about “motivation” and was going round the table asking people what their motivation was. I was dreading him coming to kp our I, but thankfully it evaporated before it got to us. Once mum and dad left, the remaining 4 of us continued the discussions and guy brought up motivation again and asked me and kp what ours was. At this point kp got upset. She is sick of her body and the struggle it takes to do anything that she could normally do with ease. The tears went on for quite a while and kp was annoyed with herself for crying. We tried to say it was ok. But I think she felt a bit embarassed. kp and I are struggling for a point in life. We know it, but noone else can REALLY understand it from reading the blog. But, eventually we got past the tears and went to bed on a little higher note.

Here is a photo from the first night of us at dad’s lovely barbecue.

 First Night Barbecue


Day 386/7 – Tuesday 16th May 2006 / Wednesday 17th May 2006

Karen was up quite a few times in the night for loo trips and was up early.

We enjoyed breakfast outside and went for lunch with mum and dad at El Paco’s. Dad ordered and STUNNED is all with a sentence or two in fluent spanish. I kid you not. No pigeon english, no raised voice, juat spanish. He was probably just ordering some beers, water and the menu, but it sounded great and we thoroughly enjoyed the white wine and orange juice when it arrived ! (only kidding). It was a lovely lunch and for less than £20 for 4 of us (including drinks), I should have offered to pay, but my wallet remained sealed (a special dp trick).

El Paco


We took mum and dad back to the hotel and went shopping for some cushion covers for the villa deckchairs as the current ones are looking a bit tired. We found four lovely ones and I paid for them. TWO HUNDRED EUROS. In english money that’s about…….A BLOODY LOT ! We took them back to the car and discussed them for ages, before agreeing it was too much for our more limited budget nowadays. It’s the thought that counts, well we hoped that’s what mum and dad would think.

We came back and kp had a bit of a snooze.

We went to a pizza place in Torre for tea with the family - Pizza Nostra – and then went round the fair for the kids. Jamie and Sophie loved the kids rides. They both went on this little vehicle based one. Jamie drove a truck of some kind and Sophie was in another vehicle.

 Jamie at the fair

 Sophie at the fair

 Jamie and Guy

 I made friends with a dog that was faithfully sitting on a coconut shy stand.

dp and fair dog


With the kiddy ride over, I tempted Sophie to go on a bit more of a daring ride. Dad was rightly concerned that if she didn’t like it she couldn’t have got off and she would have to cry to the end as it couldn’t be stopped for her. I offered to go on with her. Great Plan ! EXCEPT for the fact that I couldn’t get in. It was a “older” kids ride, but it wasn’t designed for 25 year olds like me ! The family had a great lauigh at me trying to get in to Sophie’s car with her. In the end, I had to go in sideways in to the seat besides her. She was very brave and loved it !

We meandered up the street markets before returning home for some drinks on the veranda and the NIGHT OF HELL !

It was a long day, and all of us were knackered. Mum and dad returned to their hotel and we all resigned ourselves for an early night. You could sense the tiredness around the table.

So, about 10.30pm, we were all in bed.

At about 10.50pm, all was quiet. Quiet – meaning Guy was at full volume snoring and Jane must have been asleep otherwise Guy would have been shouting “Ow”, followed by peace, after a nudge from Jane.

At 10.51pm, Karen and I heard a scuttling noise.

kp:- David, what was that ?

We instantly both thought it was a cockroach.

dp:- I dunno, it sounds like something’s stuck in the air conditioning unit.

The scuttling got louder and I put the light on.

dp:- It’s too loud to be a cockroach. It sounds more like a bird, or perhaps a mouse.

Karen was very concerned. She Hates (CAPITAL “H”) cockroaches and mice and anything that crawls.

The scuttling continued. I decided to reach up with a shoe and tap the air conditioning unit, but before I had chance to tap it, a VERY lively cockroach dropped from the air conditioning unit and hit the floor and ran off at top speed.

dp:- It’s a cockroach


Guy’s snoring still pervaded the room once her scream died down.

The cockroach hid behind our bedside table. I grabbed a shoe and as it ran for me, I sent it in to the next life with such a clout.

dp:- Do you want to seei it ?

Strangely she did.

kp groaned when I showed it her.

We couldn’t be sure there was just one, even though the scuttlng noise was gone, so I got a can of cockroach spray and sprayed every orifice of the air conditioning unit. I must have used half a can. There was no chance any could live for long as even kp and I were struggling for breath. I went outside and sprayed the outside and could see another one and where it was entering the house through a pipe duct.

kp went to the loo and came back ………………….

kp:- I can’t sleep in here now.

To be fair, the room was too full of the spray and it was really hard to catch your breath, so we resigned ourselves to sleep on the coach in the living room. We tried sleeping on the same one, but that was a non-starter. I gave kp the long couch and slept on the smaller one.

kp:-  I want to go home tomorrow. I don’t want to stay here and I certainly don’t want to come back in August.

dp:- Can we discuss this in the morning ?

We didn’t have too bad a night sleep as “sleeping on couches” go.

Here is kp on her couch with bedclothes still visible with the kids eating their breakfast.

 The night after


I spent the morning filling the duct holes so no further cockroaches could come in. kp was very quiet all morning – very tired I think.

Dad kindly offered to put us up in his hotel. kp was pleased and we moved over this afternoon. Lovely view…………..

La Zenia View

And if you look closely you can see dad and sophie heading from the pool (right) to the deckchairs.

Dad and Sophie


That’s our eventful day. kp is fast asleep (3pm) in the hotel room and will definately be better off for it. Tonight dad is baby sitting the kids whilst he watches some football final on telly. I think it is more a case of mum babysitting and dad watching, but it gives us a night with Jane and Guy so that will be nice. He said a funny thing the other day when we were planning this night.

Dad::- You go out for a meal. We will mind the kids.

Great offer.

Mum:- Oh yes, that’s the night of the football final isn’t it John ?

We all laiughed. And then he suggested

Dad :- You could go to Patio Andaluz (nice restaurant with flamenco dancers). You could take the kids they’d like it there !

We laughed even more. A babysitting offer had turned into a “I’ll watch football with Ann”. He didn’t mean it like that to be fair and they are looking after the kids tonight so thanks Mum/Dad for that !

Enough blog – sunshine time !


Day 387 – Wednesday 17th May 2006 – Addendum

Well, I went down to the family by the poolside while kp slept.

Jane, Guy and I played tennis with the kids as ballboys/ballgirls. Although a 1 year old and a 4 year old don’t quite seem to have the skill of the Wimbledon versions.

On the night time, Mum and Dad stayed at the villa, babysitting and watching the Barcelona / Arsenal match while we all went to Olli’s treff. A lovely meal was had by all.

That’s it for Wednesday.

Day 388 – Thursday 18th May 2006

Lovely day today.

Both kp and I enjoyed a restful cockroach-free night in the hotel (big thanks to Dad for stumping the bill) !!

We had a room service breakfast of croissants and toast on the balcony.

Here is kp after the breakfast at about 10am

kp after breakfast

She went back to bed until 12pm and then we went in the pool where kp could do her hydrotherapy exercises. I encouraged her to lie on her back (with me supporting her) so she could relax at the end of them, but she isn’t as confident in water as she was pre-accident and although she wasn’t quite screaming, she was raising her voice when she said………………

kp:- David – get me upright again !

An attempt at swimming resulted in the same kind of protest.

When the family arrived, we joined them for ice cream and beer. They shouldn’t really drink beer at such an age, but there is no telling the parents.

Here are the kids. Note Jamie’s (right) skillfull decorating of his face/t-shirt with choc ice.

Ice Creams all round

Then Jane, Guy, Dad and I played double’s tennis. Pollards vs Boxalls. Modesty prevents me from saying if the Pollard’s won. BUT WE SLAUGHTERED THEM !

Tennis over (4pm), it was time for the kids to go for dinner and then bed. Kisses goodbye……………..

Jamies Kiss


Sophies Kiss

And now kp and I have come back up to the room for a shower and some peace rest. Tonight, mum and dad are babysitting AGAIN ! And we are off for a meal at another German restaurant recommended by dad. Coming home tomorrow. Big thanks go to Marie who has been dog-sitting for us. From the sounds of it, we are going back to a new house, with a new back garden. She has got 20 rubbish bags filled with garden debris from all the digging up she has done ! THANKS MARIE !


Day 388 – Thursday 18th May 2006 – Addendum

Lovely meal out with Jane and Guy tonight. Alejandros. Superbly cooked German food with great service.

kp in good form. You can’t half tell a difference in kp’s walking in this sunnier clime. It really loosens her up. We are coming back to Spain in August and there are 10 of us in total. The villa sleeps 6, but the 3 kids top and tailing with Adele means we can get 8 in comfortably and Michelle and Freddy were prepared to come and sleep on the sofa, but Dad has VERY kindly offered to put us up in the hotel again, kp is OVER THE MOON.

A great last night. I was knackered after the tennis so was out like a light  kp didn’t have to take a Tamazepam she was so tired.

A lovely end to a fantastic holiday. It was great to spend time with the kids and the family and hope we can do it again some time.

Tomorrow (today when I write this) is our last day, so a blog entry is unlikely until tomorrow night or Saturday possibly.

Day 389 – Friday 19th May 2006

Going home day.

We had arranged to get up early to join ma and pa for breakfast at 8.30am (Karen’s idea). Well, she had a bad night’s sleep and didn’t get up until 12pm, so we missed that event !

We packed the case and went to the villa for lunch. Sophie came in the car to pick us up with Mum. By the time we got back to the villa she was fast asleep.

Sophie asleep

A nice last lunch and then dad took us to the airport.

The plane was running late, and we were due a 1hr 45 minute wait INSIDE the plane waiting for permission to take off. Thankfully, the pilot got this down by an hour. Karen was fast asleep within 10 minutes of boarding, and pretty much slept all the way ! She didn’t wake up for the take off even !

Captain :- I would be grateful if all passengers gave their full attention to the cabin crew as they go through the safety briefing
CLICK HERE to see kp paying full attention to the safety briefing and some addional footage of her making some unusual expressions during her sleep.

We got chips on the way home from the airport and pretty much went straight to bed.

All in all, we had a superb break, complemented by excellent weather and great company. Here are some additional photos from the holiday.

dp and kp
Good Photo of kp
Mum and Jamie
Family at Meson de la Costa

Day 390 – Saturday 20th May 2006

Uneventful Day with LOTS of sleeping for kp. Up about 11am, she was back in bed by 3pm and is still asleep now.

Marie has been doing all our holiday washing, although Mum did a fair bit while we were away.

Eurovision Song Contest tonight – a must in everyone’s diaries I am sure !

Day 391 – Sunday 21st May 2006

It’s always nice to be back in your own bed and kp and I enjoyed a cracking night’s sleep.

This morning we had a visit from Karen’s solicitor. He stayed about 90 minutes and we discussed kp’s case. Sounds like a very slow process.

I then took Marie back to Middlesbrough while kp snoozed. On my return, we caught up with Big Brothers and that’s our jam-packed day ;-)

Day 392 – Monday 22nd May 2006

I had to take the bike for an MOT today, and I told kp she would need to do as much “dressing herself” as she could as we would be tight for time.

I came back and she was as proud as punch. She had dressed herself and she lifted her trousers…………..

kp:- Look, I even got a sock on.

I can’t remember which one it was, but it was a first, and I was very proud.

We went to hydrotherapy. When she took her coat off, it was clear that “dressing herself” hadn’t gone all that well. No bra, although she had already told me that, and she looked very dishevelled. When she saw herself in the full length mirror, she said………….

kp:- I look like a bag of rags.

I thought she did as well……………

dp:- No, you look lovely.

I got her changed into her swimsuit. I wouldn’t trust her with that. I could well imagine gussets not covering key bits !

I then went to Sainsburys to stock up and was back in time to catch her lying weightless in the water. Perfect timing. It had been quite a hard hydro session apparently. Hopefully, she won’t feel it tomorrow.

She is sleeping now (6.20pm)

Day 393 – Tuesday 23rd May 2006

Well, kp was ok after her heavy hydro, pain-wise.
But, she had an AWFUL night’s sleep. She didn’t get to sleep until 7am. Her sleeping patterns are all to pot. When she did get up at about 3pm, she couldn’t find words to express herself.

I think she is still recovering from the holiday, strangely.

We have had a good afternoon/evening and hopfully, she will get a better sleep tonight – she is taking a full tamazepam in the hope that it will rectify her sleep.

Day 394 – Wednesday 24th May 2006

kp continues on top form. She stopped using her walking stick while away on holiday last week and hasn’t used it since :-)

She went to bed at about 11pm last night and slept all the way through with only 1 trip to the loo. She is trying not to use the commode. So, big improvements all round.

Today, she had an appointment with a stroke specialist at the doctors. She had blood tests the other week and this was for the results. She scores A+ ! Her cholesterol is 4.1, which apparently is very good and all other tests were positive, leaving the likelihood of another stroke as unlikely.

This afternoon, she went to the dentists to get her teeth cleaned and is already planning trips for next year ! A very positive kp.

I’ll end on a funny………this happened in the doctor’s when she was meeting this stroke specialist for the first time.

Stroke Lady :- By, your head has been knocked around a bit hasn’t it.

kp:- (holding her hand to her chin)…….oh, you mean my spots………..

Stroke Lady :- No, the accident ! 

So we all had a good laugh !

Day 395 – Thursday 25th May 2006

What a bloody awful night’s sleep we both had. We both were really tired and headed for bed after Big Brother and thought we would be in slumberland in no time. I was fidgeting (as Karen calls it) for an hour or so, and was restless, but tired. Karen was just lying there awake.

After about 90 minutes, I got up to cut my toe nails, and Karen got up for a drink water, and then when we went back to bed, the same thing carried on for another hour or so.

With full sleep, Karen isn’t a morning person, so a tired Karen would give Satan a run for his money. And as expected. I couldn’t do right for doing wrong this morning. I said Black, Karen said White. Whichever part of her I wanted to dry after the shower was the wrong part, and I should have done the other part first. But when I mentioned this, she laughed and it seemed to all go fine from thereon in.

Hydro today and a very good one at that. She has been working at lifting weights with her feet and doing big strides in the pool. When Karen walks at the moment normally, she takes very small steps. The hydro physio suggested she try bigger steps when walking normally – she has been doing just that on and off since hydro and it’s very impressive to see.

It’s like the old Karen walking again, albeit with a slight hip drop every time her right foot touches the floor. It looks very promising for the future. Watch this space.

Tonight is Chicken Pie and Chips, fish fingers and chips for kp and we are watching a film recommended by Adele – Man on Fire, supposed to be good.

Tomorrow, Glenn is coming up to check out our bathroom plans and then Ig and Og aka Margaret and Kathleen are coming up for a visit.

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