Archive for January, 2007

Day 611 – 612 – Monday 1st / 2nd January 2007

From bad to worse.

A truly awful couple of days. Karen’s mood took a big turn for the worse and she has suffered a mental breakdown :-(

I don’t know if it was the thought of me going back to work or just the final phase of a continually downward trend, but she has really took a turn for the worse. The last couple of days are a bit of a blur. Lots and lots of tears. kp was inconsolable. At one point, I had encouraged her to have a hot bath, and she was crying her heart out in the bath with me trying to comfort her, getting soaked in the process. She fell asleep last night crying her heart out, so sad ! So very very heartbreaking. We had watched a film earlier in the day (“Hostage” (a Bruce Willis film about kidnapping) (very good)), but kp was anxious all the way through it. I noticed things were really wrong when she asked if this was real or a film ?!?!?!? We were up most of the night and at one point, I had left the bedroom to get a drink and kp noticed I wasn’t there. When she got up, she was distraught, as she thought I had been kidnapped. This morning 5am (ish), she couldn’t remember the name of our dogwalker Marie. She thought she was called Sandra. She was convinced “Sandra” would walk the dogs and not bring them back. She thought I worked for MTC (a company I used to work at a few years ago). She wanted to know what her shifts were (for the Blood Service). Very upsetting to hear !

She was convinced she was going mad. She wanted someone to come and give her an injection that would put her to sleep for a few days.

kp:- Will they do that David ? Will they put me to sleep for a few days ?

dp:- i don’t think so love

We already had a psychiatrist coming round next week to see kp (he was away this week). He had already changed her medication from Citalopram (anti-depressant) to Cyprolex (another more effective anti-depressant), but that takes upto 6 weeks to kick in. We couldn’t wait a week to see someone, so I was straight on the phone at 8.30am this morning seeking help for kp. I phoned the doctors, the neuropsychologist and the County Hospital (Psychiatry division).  We would have gone private, money was no object, she had to be seen !! I took the day off work, there was no way I could leave her in this state.

In the end, the County Hospital agreed to send someone round. It was 2 lovely people, a Doctor and a CPN (Community Psychiatric Nurse). They arrived at 2.15pm and spent about 90 minutes talking to kp. 85 minutes of that was investigation, 5 minutes was prognosis. There were lots of tears along the way, but overall, I think it helped kp seeing them and having a way forward for the future.

At one point, kp asked….

kp:- Am I going mad ?

There was an uneasy pause which I felt was too long, and their reply should have been a bit more speedy, but it came eventually….

CPN :- No, we don’t think you are going mad. This blur between what is real and what is not a real is probably a part of your depression/low mood. When that lifts, and your sleeping patterns get better, and you have more structure to your day, you should find these incidents don’t recur.

Anyway, the way forward is

  • The change of anti-depressant
  • A change in daytime structure. kp needs to get up at a set time, go to bed at a set time and set herself objectives (no matter how small) for the day
  • A series of visits from the local CPN who will talk to kp about the accident, and her feelings of frustration, lack of self esteem etc… it has left her with.

They left moments ago, and although kp isn’t making too much sense at the moment, I do feel she has benefitted from the visit. Initially, it was like getting blood from a stone for the visitors as they tried to get kp to speak, but towards the end, answers were more easy coming.

I’ll take the next few days off work to ensure she is ok. I know she feels better when I am around. Work have been great and say they will help in anyway they can. They have ok’ed me to work from home. I was really concerned for my work that I may be off weeks, but feel that a return to work could be in the offing next week all being well !

So, awful few days, but fingers crossed (YET AGAIN !) that another corner has been turned.

Day 613 – Wednesday 3rd January 2007

Things are looking up. They couldn’t get any worse that is for sure.

The gibberish has stopped. And she is a bit perkier today. We got up and kp stuck to her routine. She said she wouldn’t sleep at all today, but needed an hour in the afternoon.

We went to Tesco and the Doctors. She enjoyed the trip out.

I feel things are heading in the right direction.

We have physio tomorrow and I think Jane and Ronnie are coming at the weekend so that will perk her up even further

Thanks for all the support we have received from everyone – it is much appreciated !! :-)

Day 614 – Thursday 4th January 2007

Karen is on the up and up !!! On a scale of 0/10, she has rated herself a 4 (maybe 5). Wahey !! This might not be a 10, but it’s much improved over the 0 of last week. Today, it was just the usual gibberish that all women come out with today and not the gibberish of the “kidnapping” variety i.e.

kp:- Don’t be opening my mail ! (when I tried to open her mail to make it easier for her to read it)

dp:- Sorry

kp:- It would be easier if you opened it.

Grrrr ?!?!?!

She has worked really hard today at the new routine. She got up at 9.30am (good for kp). She didn’t take the usual 10 minutes coaxing either ! Today she has

  • done her exercises
  • went into Sainsburys and picked my suit up from the dry cleaners (while I waited outside in the car)
  • walked the dogs (I didn’t do anything apart from hurrying her along as we came back when she was crossing the road and a car was coming). She was fine and would have made it no probs, but Elsa was 3 feet behind her !
  • Fastened her own bra (this is a first). I got it round her, but she fastened it (front fastener). Next challenge is the whole thing.
  • Went to Physio

Physio consisted of the lady loosening kp’s left hand. As she doesn’t have full use of it, it gets stiffer than her right.


She then worked on getting kp to try and move her thumb in, and then clench a fist. I wasn’t keen on kp being able to make a fist, but apparently it is good therapy.


It finished with a machine that tested Karen’s strength in her hands. When she did it with her right hand, it scored 0.4. When she did it with her left, initially, it didn’t move, but the physio has found with Karen, that repeated guidance gets the hand to learn the maneuvre and by the end, she had managed 0.1. So in a nutshell her left hand is 4x weaker than her right. The idea is than in a month’s time, this will be remeasured to gauge the improvement.

We walked the dogs when we got back or I should say Karen walked the dogs. I was there for backup only.


So a lot of hard work by kp today, and she feels absolutely knackered. I do hope she can last until bedtime without a snooze as she may get her first full night’s sleep. All in all, a cracking day !

Day 615 – 617 – Friday 5th January to Sunday 7th January 2007

Friday saw us go to Tesco shopping. It was a nightmare. Queues at the end so we went through the Express Checkout which is “where is you scan the items yourself”. We had half a trolley load. We couldn’t do it at all. The electronic woman’s voice kept saying “remove the item from the bag” and we hadn’t even put it in the bag ?!?!?! We both got really infuriated by it ! We had to ask for help twice and it probably took us 15 minutes to get through the sodding till. It turns out, you are only supposed to use this checkout if you have 10 items or less. Neither of us saw the sign, despite it being right in front of our noses.

Snooze followed. kp wasn’t supposed to, but relented to my persuasion.

Saturday saw Ronnie and Jane come up for the weekend. I am really pleased they came. We have had lots of laughs and kp has been in her element. Lots of talking. Chinese and Pizza on the night, culminating in the watching of Big Brother. We were laughing for hours when Jade’s mum (Jackie) farted. kp was still laughing this morning !

This morning, kp and I went to Homebase to pay for our kitchen. March install apparently. I allowed 15 minutes for it, it actually took 1 hour 15 mins because of computer issues. We had booked a table at the Pump House for lunch but had to rearrange it.

Here is kp patiently waiting…..


Here are kp, jb and vd before we set off for the Pump House.


Lovely meal (as always). The girls have chatted ALL afternoon, while I caught up on my beauty sleep. Quite a busy week lined up for kp. I am back to work tomorrow so it’s just as well. 2 physio sessions plus a visit from the Stroke Association. kp feels she needs something to focus on and so we have asked the Stroke Association to come out to discuss options for kp. She is thinking along the lines of charity work but needs some options presenting to her. I think that’s Tuesday.

So, vast improvement on the start of the week. I asked her in the car what her score was. She is getting wise to me asking and keeps asking the same question of me. Anyway, she is 5 out of 10, I am a 6. So, really pleased at that. I have told kp that I am whatever she is PLUS 1. That might sound like a joke, but I think it might actually be true. It certainly has been this last week.

Day 618 – 624 – Monday 8th Jan to Sunday 14th Jan 2007

Good week this week.

Summed up by Karen rating herself as a 7 out of 10 earlier today. We have turned a corner !!! :-)

I can’t remember the first part of the week, but on Tuesday, Karen had a visit from the lady from the Stroke Association. Lovely lady who had come to see how she could help Karen with her future. She came at Karen’s behest. She had a long chat with karen finding out where she was etc and the upshot is that she is going to put Karen forward for some retraining courses in July 2007. She said she couldn’t fit her in before then, but Karen suspected that the Stroke lady didn’t feel kp would be ready before then.

Physio on Tuesday and Thursday this week. kp’s power in her left hand had DOUBLED since the same time last week !!! Very impressive ! Karen now has a series of exercises which I have typed up for her as it can be hard for her to remember. Here they are…..

1. Step Ups
2. Trampette
3. Abdominal (Bed stuff)
4. Back against Wall stuff
5. Fist Clenching with stuffed ball
6. Thumb retracting using right hand to help close thumb
7. Making a fist using right hand to close left fist
8. Kneeling with pillow against settee (trying to get her to be able to kneel down eventually)

Her left hand/arm has definately improved since she restarted this neurophysio which is marvellous.

More importantly, she is better in herself, and being very positive about the future. It could be the change of tablets, but we think it is down to other things…….

Firstly, her sleeping patterns are very much improved. Previously, she would get up 3 or 4 times in the night and be up for anywhere between 10 mins and 4 hours. This week, she has been forcing herself to stay up during the day (NOT EASY !!!) and going to bed at a reasonable time (8.30pm to 10pm) and getting up at a reasonable time (9am – 10.30am). No Snoozes during the day, or in emergencies an hour snooze ! ;-)

For the past few nights when she HAS been getting up in the night, it has only been to change her nightshirt – she is suffering badly from night sweats, and wakes up ringing wet through. But the good thing is she is only awake for 5 mins.
So, sleeping properly has helped things.

Secondly, she has a plan for each day. She has a set routine of exercises (split up during the day), jobbing on around the house, more exercises, playing with the dogs. In her own words, she has no spare time each day :-)

So, all good at the moment.

Saturday saw us walk the dogs together. There’s a few times on the walk where I have to help her either down a slope or up a steep slope. She has been able to get down the steep slope ok, but the up slope was still a problem, but she has found a way round the up slope by going around a tree and so has done the work completely unaided.

She also, this week, went to the shop herself. Here’s how she told me….
kp:- Look ! (holding a glass of orange juice in her hand)

(We didn’t have any OJ left in the morning)

dp:- Wahey !You’ve been to the shop ?! Nice one !!

Following the walk and breakfast, we went to Costco to get some Pig’s Ears. She also wanted a fleece for her Egypt holiday (next week with the girls). There were no mirrors, so I was asked to take a photo of her so she could see how she looked….

kp:- Don’t get my face in ! (probably knowing it would be on the blog !)

Here she is…..


Michelle, Freddy and Abby (9) were waiting for us on our return. We had a nice chat with them. Abby wanted to play on the xbox. She played a racing game with Freddy and then wanted to play me for money.

Abby :- If I win, you give me £10.

dp:- What if I win ?

Abby :- I’ll give you a £1.

dp:- That’s fair – why £10.

Abby :- I need some football cards !

dp:- NEED ?

Anyway with money on my mind I whooped her arse.

Abby:- Is there any jobs I can do to get some money ?

dp:- You can hoover.

Abby :- For £10 ?
dp :- Errrrr, no. How about a £1

Abby :- £5

dp :- Let’s make it £3

Here she is hoovering the hall. She was beetroot red by the time she finished. She got Freddy to finish off !


Today, we had an easy day, jobbing on around the house. It’s been a good weekend and a good week !!

Busy week for kp this week……

Tomorrow A.M. (Monday) – Orthopedic Consultant at Sunderland Royal (hopefully last one)

Tomorrow Afternoon – Visit from her employer. We think they are going to say she is “finished” :-(

Tuesday A.M. – Visit from Community Psychiatric Nurse

Thursday P.M. – Psychiatric Consultant at the County Hospital

Friday P.M. – RVI Newcastle for next Contact Lens fitting.

Busy kp !!!

Day 625 – Monday 15th January 2007

Very eventful day !

Karen decided to give our summer duvet a spin last night. It’s so thin, you can hardly call it a duvet. The idea being she is trying to resolve the night sweats situation.

Well, I had an awful night’s sleep because I was so cold, and I couldn’t snuggle up to kp as she doesn’t like me touching her left arm. kp also had a bad night’s sleep because of trips to the loo, so although she didn’t sweat at all, she didn’t really have a good run at sleep to be a good test.

Up at 8.15am this morning to get to the Sunderland Royal Hospital for 10am. It was the annual checkup of the pelvis/hip fractures. Here is kp on the x-ray bed….


The x-rays were very clear. Her right hip looks a bit rough (compared to the left), and the humerus ball that fits into the hip joint is well knacked. (that’s obviously my take on it). One of the pins that kept her pelvis together has broke, but apparently this doesn’t matter now as it has served its purpose in getting the pelvis to heal.

What was also very visible was all the loose bone she has around the hip. At least 2 big chunks, and lots of little bits too.

Karen asked Mr Cross (the top notch orthopod) why was she still in pain. Apparently, this is not down to all the bone issues, but rather because of all the scar tissue that is there as a result of her pelvis/hip being shattered. It won’t get any better, so she will be on the pain patches indefinately.

Karen had a list of questions written down, but Mr Cross did some very good explanations leaving kp only asking a couple of the 6 questions she had written down.

Will she need a hip replacement ? They will know next year (2008). If the hip dies (through lack of bloodflow), which happens in the first 3 years apparently, then “yes”.

Will she get back to normal ? Definately not.

We have to go back same time next year for another set of x-rays. Not the best news in the world, but kp took it very positively. Now, that could be a sign of her new positive mental attitude, or it could be a typical kp delayed reaction that could come over the next week or month ?! We’ll have to wait and see.

With that over, we went to Sainsburys on the way home and then went home for the visit from her employers.

kp’s direct boss and the lady from Personnel came. They were lovely. The Personnel lady started by telling kp that this is going to be a difficult conversation. To cut an hour’s conversation short……..

kp is being “dismissed” because of her inability to do the job for health reasons. I was looking at kp when the news broke, expecting floods of tears, but there were none ?! Now, we were both half expecting that news, but with kp, hearing it officially normally sparks reaction, but there was none. In fact, she even managed a joke…..

kp:- Eeeeee, I have never been “dismissed” before !

I think her attitude took us all aback. They went into the rigmarole of what happens next, namely, a dismissal meeting with Karen’s bosses boss, Karen’s boss and the lady from Personnel all present. She could then file a claim for ill health retirement and Permanent Injury benefit. It’s all going to take months. But if it all works out well, she may not be too financially worse off than before.

It took a few passes for all the info to sink into kp, but I think she got it all.

So, all in all, not the best day of information, but all REALLY well took by kp !!! Go KP Go !!!

I think kp may be thinking well at least I know the way forward for the future. It’s brought some hard facts to the table which she can now “get on with”. Time will tell….

Day 626 – 631 – Tuesday 16th Jan to 21st Jan 2007

Well, a corker of a week with a saddening twist.

Marie could see it, I could see it. kp has flicked a switch this week and is truly back to her old self. She scored herself a high 8 during the week, which is great !!

With Karen, sometimes it takes her a while for things to sink in. So the Monday when she was told she would never get “back to normal” and she was being “dismissed” from work, I thought would bite her later in the week, but it didn’t.

kp:- For the first time, I am looking forward to my life.

Music to my ears.

Tuesday saw her have a visit from the Community Psychiatric Nurse (CPN). It was only an introductory meeting, and because kp was feeling so positive, he was soon on his way.

Thursday saw me and her go to the County Hospital (Durham) to see her psychiatrist. Present were the consultant psychiatrist and the psychiatric female doctor who visited the house when things were so bad a couple of weeks ago. The female psychiatrist could really see a difference.

kp:- I feel a bit of a fraud for coming here today. I feel great.

We were there about an hour and they still gave her the 20 questions treatment. They put her recovery down to both the new anti-depressants and her positive mental attitude.

Psychiatrist :- I would be a bit concerned if you got too happy.

We both laughed. That’s never been a problem for the past 2 years !

Friday saw us go to the RVI to try a new contact lens. It’s made out of a different material. I really wanted this to go good as I didn’t want any downers affecting kp’s mood. It went great. She can put it in herself and take it out herself !! AND WITH ONE HAND !

Also, there was no bad reaction like to the last 3 or 4 attempts.

Saturday saw the downer come. For a change, it was nothing to do with Karen. I was in the middle of building some new furniture when the dogs caught a glimpse of the postlady. To say they don’t like the postlady would be an understatement. I know the postlady is frightened of the dogs so rather than let them jump up at the patio window, I put them out the back. Unfortunately, both gates that stand between the front and the back of the house were open. One had been blown open by the wind and the other had been blown off its hinge by the recent high winds.


The next thing I knew there were screams from the front of the house. The dogs were out the front. Two German Shepherds running for you must be a very frightening ordeal, but to make it worse, Bonnie had bit the postlady on her hand. I went out and boomed for them to get in, which they promptly did, but the postlady was very upset. I went straight back in and got the dogs in the Utility Room, and got kp up. When I told kp, her first words (straight from sleep) were :-

kp:- Oh F***ing hell !

kp NEVER swears !

I went back out to comfort the postlady (I’ll call her “June”). She was really upset and in shock. Despite us pleading for her to come inside out of the cold, she understandably didn’t feel comfortable entering the house even though the dogs were locked away. kp made her a sugary cup of tea, while June phoned colleagues to come and pick her up.

Bonnie had bit her hand and June had teeth marks on both sides of her hand, but one of Bonnie’s long teeth had pierced the palm of her hand and gone quite deep :-(

I offered to take her to the hospital, but she wanted to wait for her colleague.

kp phoned June later in the day, but she didn’t want to speak to us :-( The police are being involved :-( Yikes – we just hope we don’t have to get her put down. I’d rather do some bird ! All the best to June, hope you’re feeling better soon !
Sunday (today), we went for a birthday lunch with most of the family at Joe Rigatoni’s in Middlesbrough. We were celebrating Abby, Michelle and Glenn’s birthday. It was a lovely meal, and here are some pretty crap photos (because of the light I think).


The 4 sisters ……..


This week, we have NO hospital appointments !!! But that’s only ‘cos kp is going to Taba, Egypt for the week !!!! She is going on a girls’ holiday (with Jane and Ronnie). 2 weeks ago, she wasn’t going ‘cos she was so down, but NOW she is really looking forward to it !

And that’s despite her finding out that over the last 3 years, that 34 people have been killed and 159 injured by terrorists attack in the very place she is going to !!! If you broaden that to the Sharm Al’Sheik area, the total killed expands to 97 killed, 223 injured !!! Yikes !!!

I am sure she will be fine. It’ll be our first week apart since the accident, and I think we will be both be feeling pretty weird. I know I will miss he and I know she will miss me. Only a week !

Have a great time kp !  Get well soon June !

Day 632 to 636 – Monday 22nd to Fri 26th January 2007

Well, it sounds like Karen is having a great time with Ronnie and Jane in Egypt.

They spent the night on Monday at my parents. Mum and Dad took them out for a meal and they had a real good laugh of a night.

Taba, Egypt is giving the girls a peak temperature of 20′C during the day, but beautiful weather with it – clear skies ! Yesterday, the girls treat themselves to 3 hours of pampering (massage, steam room, sauna etc).

Karen trumped the day. She was having her massage, when the male masseur must have massage the wrong part of Karen’s back, and she let out an almighty fart. She was very embarassed. Karen then needed to turn onto her back, so Ronnie came in to help kp turn around on the table, and she started doing her “farting in time to her laughter” trick. The girls were in stitches as was the masseur.

You can take Karen anywhere and she does England proud !

Here is a photo Jane sent that she took of the hotel. It looks lovely !


Dog Update

Had a visit this morning (8am) from the Post Manager. Not much to report from this, basically post is going to be delivered to our next door neighbours from now on. That’s fine by us. kp can go round for it from time to time. Thanks Tommy and Eileen

Spoke to the Police today. The police want to come out and assess the dogs to see if they are suitably behaved pets. He said he had no doubt that had I been in yesterday when he called and had I let them out, they would have had a go at him. :-(

I explained that visitors to the house do get a loud welcome, but once in the house, accepted by kp and I, the dogs are fine. So he is coming to put that to the test ! He said it would be in our favour if we have a 5ft fence erected by the time he comes (sometime week after next). It would help him go back to the postlady and tell us how committed we are to ensuring the dogs are kept safe etc….

Nice copper. I just hope my nerves when he comes put the dogs on edge !!!

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