Archive for March, 2007

Day 669 – Thursday 1st March 2007

Mixed Day.

I gave Karen a ring about 8am and then a bit later when the consultant had been round. Apparently, as the consultant speaks to you, he talks into his dictaphone and Karen is not sure if he is talking to her or the dictaphone. Karen might ask a question, but his reply will be in to his little machine. Was a bit confusing for her I think.

Anyway, the op went ok. Nerve damage has been ruled out, because her foot is working fine. Infection is a “suck it and see” affair. Dislocation – watch this space.

I went to see her for 2pm visiting. She was in fine form.


Mum/Dad/Jane  – those are your flowers in the background. Susa, the address of kp at hospital is…..Karen Pollard, Ward 12, University of Durham Hospital, Durham, County Durham (thanks)

Alert and talkative – for the first 30 minutes, and then I could tell she just wanted to sleep. But, when I offered to go, she just wanted me to stay and tried to stay awake. At 2.50pm, she relented and said she wanted to sleep.

She went for an x-ray in the afternoon. Won’t know officially what the crack is until the consultant does his rounds tomorrow, but the Radiologist chap said it looked fine.

When Marie and I visited, kp was absolutely knackered. She didn’t wake up until 5 minutes after we had arrived. And then she struggled to stay awake. She is still on the morphine driver, but not pushing it as often, which is good. I showed her photos of the new kitchen. (They have nearly finished it). She seemed pleased.

She was suffering from a bad case of heartburn, and it didn’t east too much while we were there, despite her taking 2 antacid tablets plus a tub full of gaviscon liquidy stuff. Although she wasn’t scared of belching when she could (AND LOUD) with all the visitors around the ward. I was very proud !

She didn’t seem 100% tonight. Tired, lethargic and as she described it “aching all over”. We are hoping this is down to being laid on her back for 3 days straight.

Tomorrow, assuming the consultant says “All Systems Go with the X-ray”, she will be sitting upright in the chair, which will be good for her back and bum, but a bit painful for her hip.

All good so far :-)

Here are a couple of pictures of our kitchen as it stands at the moment.

Kitchen ….


Utility Room…..


Day 670 – Friday 2nd March 2007 – Part One

Bit of bad news this morning. Just rang Karen and she is not feeling very well at all. Hot one minute, cold the next. Sounds like an infection. I do hope that this isn’t the case. We’ll see. She wants me to go in, so I am heading there now.

Day 670 – Friday 2nd March 2007 – Part Two

She’s “ok”. She is feeling very low, and has loads of aches and pains and is hot and cold, but she is “alright”.

I was pleased to see she was sitting up in her chair and was off the morphine driver which is good.

No temperature, so that’s reassuring.

Day 670 – Friday 2nd March 2007 – Part Three

Just heard that Karen is moving to Ward 16 (orthopod ward). Should be there around lunchtime.

Day 670 – Friday 2nd March 2007 – Part 4

What a fidgety visit.

She was on her new Ward (16). Julie (from work) had sent me along with some flowers and Susa and Simon’s had arrived (thanks guys). So, she is all flowered out. She was in no mood to enjoy them really. She couldn’t stop fidgeting. She was dying to get out of the bed. She was wrestling herself all over. It’s like she is going “Cold Turkey” from nicotine withdrawal. I had similar feelings on my first night. Must be so much worse for her with a new hip.

She didn’t enjoy the visit at all and just wanted to go to sleep but was too “all over the place”.

She doesn’t have a temperature (that’s the good news), which infers no infection. She asked the consultant today, what risks were still there and he said “All of them”. So, that’s infection, nerve damage, floppy foot and something else, which I can’t recall.

Some more good news. At the head of each bed, they have a card with “Expected Discharge Date”. Karen’s had been blank until today. When I went in this morning (Ward 12), it said 6th March (next tuesday), which is great. When I went in for the 2pm visit, it was blank, probably ‘cos of the change of wards methinks.

Mum and Dad are coming up tomorrow for the afternoon visit, as are Michelle and Adele. Debs and Jane Burns are coming on the nighttime. If anyone else wants to come along, please feel free. I like curly wurlys. I mean, Karen likes curly wurlies.

Day 670 – Friday 2nd March 2007 – Part 5

On top form at tonight’s visiting.

She greeted Marie and I with an A1 smile, something I haven’t seen in a long time. She was feeling 100% better than earlier today. Still fidgety but not as much. The key difference was her positive attitude. Earlier, she was doom and gloom….

kp:- “I am going to have to start everything from scratch, learning to stand, walk etc…

Tonight, it was more a case of …..

kp:- “Tomorrow, I’ll be doing some steps with physio (she had forgot that they don’t work on saturday, or that it was friday today) and I should be out by mid-week” (or words to that effect)

Keep it up love

Day 671 – Saturday 3rd March 2007 – Part One

You can take my mum anywhere !!

Firstly, Karen is on top form today. 100% her old self, feeling really positive and an absolute joy to be in the presence of. She lights up the whole room when she is like this. :-)

Visitors this afternoon were Adele, Michelle and my mum and dad.

Karen was alert, pain free and very talkative.

Mum had us in absolute stitches. You may have heard of malapropisms (named after Mrs Malaprop from Sheridan’s “The Rivals”), well there should be such a thing as AnnPollardisms.

Karen was asking how dad’s company was doing. What mum intended to say was that “they were working very hard”. What actually came out (AND LOUDLY TOO), was

Mum :- No, they are doing very well, but working like blacks.

I nearly choked.

dp :- MUM !!!!!!!!! (I shouted out)

Mum :- What love, have you hurt yourself ?

We were in absolute stitches for ages.

Here is Adele and Michelle. Adele was crying with laughter…..


Dad then recalled their trip last week to South Africa with Peter and Judith Dawson (Wendi Peter’s mum and dad (off Coro St.))

Mum said to Judith referring to what she was going to wear for the evening’s meal …..

Mum :- Are you wearing those shorts Judith, or are you putting something nice on ?

As I say, you can take her anywhere, but best to have her gagged !

Here’s everyone visiting….


We had a cracking couple of hours. Thanks for coming up mum and dad (and battling the with 1 hour+ tailback).

Tonight, we think it is Jane and Debbie.

Day 671 – Saturday 3rd March 2007 – Part Two

Another cracking visit – loads of laughter at Deborah and Lydia’s antics. Jane was a no-show. Lydia – a surprise visitor, but very welcome :-)

kp still on a roll.

Really enjoying this ward. Ward 12 staff were very loud and inconsiderate, but these staff (Ward 16) seem much more tuned to patient’s needs.

kp is a bit concerned that another lady on the ward may not make it through the night, so i think she is dreading tonight.

Here is a photo of Debs, kp and Lydia.


Day 672 – Sunday 4th March 2007 – Part One

Just rang the hospital. kp seems really fed up. She was a bit concerned that someone on the ward may not make it through the night. Although she has, it seems like it has been an eventful night and quite depressing for kp :-(

Day 672 – Sunday 4th March 2007 – Part Two

Went for the afternoon visit. Was a bit more perky. The woman across the way was really struggling. It was really getting kp down. I went to see the Ward Sister and asked if there were any plans to move her as it was really starting to affect kp’s health. She couldn’t comment, but by the evening visit, she had been moved to the High Dependency Unit. I was very pleased for kp.

We had a good natter for the first few minutes and then 30 minutes of quiet. We were struggling for things to say. I then started telling her all about the work politics going on at the moment and it provided for quite a few interesting conversations. Must remember that for future quiet moments.

The weekends in hospital are a real waste of time. No physio, no action going on. I am sure kp will come on in leaps and bounds from tomorrow onwards as physio once again kicks in. She can get out of bed herself, but needs a hand to get to the chair, but I am hopeful that that will soon be knocked on the head.

Day 673 – Monday 5th March 2007

From strength to strength.

Physio came round this morning. She has been walking around the room with her zimmer (with wheels). Very slow, but can get from a to b where (c = b- a & c<5m) which is important if you want to go for a p where p=loo.

Angela (fellow car crash victim) visited today. She looked great. Here are the 2 of them.....


Marie missed her bus, but I spoke to the brothers in the house (sister on the ward) to arrange that she could stay later than visiting with her homie. (sister).

Very hectic day at work today, and I was pleased I could get away a bit early to crack on.

Tonight, kp was again on top form, watching something on the tv when I arrived. She was reluctant to turn it off when I got there and kept taking sneeky peeks.

dp:- How rude ! (imitating Karen telling me off when I get distracted).

She got the point. Although she still kept looking to catch the ending. Different rules for her though. When I get distracted, it’s “do you not care about me ? Is TV more important ?”. But when kp gets distracted, then “she is just catching the ending” – that’s ok. Women !

Alarming but funny thing happened this afternoon according to kp. Another lady came back from the theatre, but every so often she would stop breathing. kp said she was dead funny and is dead relaxed about everything. The nurses would rush around her and shout at her to “Keep breathing Sally  !!”.

Sally (name changed) :- Eee, sorry, I keep forgetting.

Another one happened while I was there. Sally started vomiting with her oxygen mask on. The nurses rushed round to make sure she didn’t breath it in. About 30 seconds later, Sally was laughing…..

Sally (laughing):- Eeeeee, most of it went back down.

Takes all sorts ! She is going to ask the physio when she can go home tomorrow, because she can get to the loo now, and we are not sure what else they are looking for.

Day 674 – Tuesday 6th March 2007 – Part One

Was late for my visit due to work pressures, but kp was understanding.

She is in a lot of pain at the moment. The physio has had her walking using crutches. She has remarked how much her left side has bucked up to compensate for her weak right side which I thought was interesting. If she lies still, she is ok painwise, but she dreads getting up to shuffle to the loo. Can’t really say “Walk to the loo”. Will try and get some video of her current walking. She is doing really well, but it looks laborious.

She is being moved back to Ward 12 to a private room, because of the MRSA risk. Because she has had it before, they are going to swab her for mrsa etc and apparently this is standard procedure just in case. Not worried about that – she has knocked mrsa out of the window before and I am sure she can do the same again (IF she gets it or has it)

Day 674 – Tuesday 6th March 2007 – Part Two

Here is kp tonight when I first entered her new room – gossiping with Ronnie. I came straight from work (late finish) so didn’t have the things she ordered……underwear, trousers, tops etc etc….


She was understanding.

She needed the loo, so I watched her on her new crutches. It looks hard going.

CLICK HERE for a clip of kp coming back from the loo (she thought I was taking a picture).

Which I did, eventually …..


Back in bed, we had a natter and then it was soon time to go. She is in fine fettle, but the pain when she walks is tangible.

Looks like it may be thursday or friday when she comes home according to the physio.

Day 675 – Wednesday 7th March 2007 – Part One

Karen is coming home today. Just heard from a very excited kp !

Picking her up this afternoon during visiting

Day 675 – Wednesday 7th March 2007 – Part Two

Well, she’s home.

I went home to pick the car up and to put the wooden ramp back in place which Tommy had built. Tommy came round to help screw it into place.

I arrived late at the hospital, but in perfect time to take kp home. No sooner had I arrived than the last piece of the puzzle required for kp to come home, the doctor’s letter, was delivered. (Not so) Quick trip to the loo and we were on our way. kp was loaded up with plastic bags (on her wheelchair). I was carrying her case, 2 crutches and a zimmerframe whilst pushing the wheelchair with one hand. I got lots of sympathy along the way from everyone who saw me.

kp:- Can we pop into Ward 16, so I can say bye to the staff and me mates (patients in her room ?

dp :- Yes dear, no problem

Bit of a struggle getting her into the car, but an 80 year old man came to help me (I kid you not). He had obviously done this for many years with his wife.

kp was well pleased to get home. She was absolutely knackered. So was I. So, after the dogs had seen her again, we both retired. We were both woken up by a bouquet of a beautiful flowers arriving from Nigel and Terry (thanks you two) – that’s “Thanks for the flowers”. “No thanks for being woken up” ;-)

kp snored like a trooper (she has to sleep on her back).

When she woke, I got the usual…..

kp:- I just couldn’t fall asleep.

Yeah, right !

No fags for a week, I just hope she can keep it up.

Soon after we woke up, I went for supplies. I left her with a cup of tea, all the remotes, the phone, her mobile etc etc…. Sorry about the photo quality.


I had to get our card table out as all our other tables are too low for her, and she has to be careful not to bend down, for fear of dislocation.

Let’s end on a funny. This happened yesterday. She had been given a sheet on what to do and what not to do. Things like bending, twisting are no gos. There was a whole section on “Sexual Intercourse” that caught my eye.

It went something like this. You should refrain from Sexual Intercourse for 6-8 weeks, blah blah….

When Karen read that out in the presence of the physio and all her other wardmates, she laughed.

kp:- If my husband reads that he will be chuffed to bits, he hasn’t had any for 2 years….

Oh, how I laughed. :-)

Day 676 to 679 – Thursday 8th to Sunday 11th March 2007

Well, it’s great to have her home.

But, hard work. Takes me back in time to the last time she came home from hospital, but its not quite as hard work.

Mentally, kp is doing “ok”. She is still not “walking”. Pain has been an issue, surprisingly not in her hip (although this stills throbs on a nighttime), but between her hip and knee ? She needs the zimmer to get around, but resorts to the wheelchair from one side of the house to t’other. Her “walking” is SO laborious. And her right foot is not in line with her walk, but points off to the side ?! You can see she doesn’t want to put ANY weight on the right hip.

There was one time this week when she had just woken up, that she COULD put some weight on it, and we thought “WOW, it’s getting better”. Her walk was not normal by any means, but you could see it was on the way to being normal, but since then it has just reverted to a hobble. I don’t think it helps that her left side is weak, and the hip that has been changed is on the right.

So, hopefully, this time next week, there will be improvements, but I know kp is concerned that she isn’t much further forward since coming home from hospital.

We were due to go to Cyprus in April with my family, but kp can’t go now (can’t fly, for fear of embellisms). She has said I should still go, Marie will stay the week with her, but I am in 2 minds.

Work have been good to me. On the day she came home I left at lunchtime, and the following day, I was kp’s carer and worked from home. Marie came to do Friday (thanks Marie). We have Mon/Tue/Thurs/Fri covered this week, which means I’ll work from home on the wednesday.

So, in summary, kp “ok” mentally, neither up nor down. But we would like to see some improvement this week.

Day 680 – 682. Monday 12th to Wed 14th March 2007

Well, improvement continues. Not big leaps, but enough to show things are heading in the right direction. The dogs are getting a bit impatient. When kp goes (with zimmer) from one room to another, the dogs want to get ahead of her, and so have to jump through her zimmer. Funny to watch.

She is very anxious at the moment and keeps pressing Marie and I on the subject of “when will I be walking”.

We keep reassuring her that it will happen soon.

Mentally, she is doing good. She is keeping positive which is the main thing. Marie came on Sunday night and stayed until Monday night. Adele came on Tuesday for the day. I am off working from home today and Marie or Adele are returning tomorrow to be “carer”.

No other big news.

The kp hobble

CLICK HERE for a clip of kp WITHOUT the zimmer taken today.

You will more than likely need Quicktime installed on your machine to see this.

Day 683-686. Thursday 15th to Sunday 18th March 2007

Mentally, kp’s mood has been on a downward trend towards the end of the week, resulting in lots of tears on Saturday. :-(

She keeps comparing herself to my mum who had her hip replaced last September.

kp:- What was your mam doing by this time ?

kp:- When do you think I will be walking properly ?

kp:- When will I be able to get on the sofa without your help ?

kp:- I really want a bath, I am cold to me bones, but I can’t. When will I be able to have a bath do you think ?


Saturday it came to a head. She was sick of walking at a snail’s pace, sick of needing me to get changed etc….And we had lots of tears.

I booked us in for sunday lunch to try and get her out of the house and a nice meal in her. But Sunday, she decided she didn’t want to go. So, I pampered her as best I could. I dried her down after her shower, did her hair for her etc etc…

I offered to take her up the drive and we could go and visit Tommy and Eileen next door. She was keen to get outside. Here is a photo of her on the drive.


And for those with Quicktime installed, you can CLICK HERE to see a video of her before she was blown over by the wind.

Day 687 – 693 – Mon 19th to Sun 25th March 2007

Karen will be the death of me (see later)

A very fed up kp all week this week. She is very frustrated with not being “better” now. She keeps comparing herself to anyone else she knows who has had a hip replacement. I have to keep reminding her that she is only just over 3 weeks post op.

kp:- Yes, but I am sure your mam was up and about more by this time.

dp:- I don’t think she was, and even if she was, she hasn’t had a stroke or a broken pelvis.

She was really concerned midweek that she wasn’t going to get much better. Fiddlesticks.

It is a bit weird, because one day she would be “ok” – Able to walk with the stick from room to room. The next day, i would be ferrying her, here, there and everywhere in the wheelchair ?!

But, I am pleased to report as the week got towards the end, there has been a marked improvement. Since friday, there has only been very sporadic use of the wheelchair, which is good. The other good thing, and it’s REALLY good !!!!

Before the op, she was upto 150mg Fentanyl Patches. The limit she could go to is 175mg Fentanyl and then she would have been going on to oral morphine ! But as this week has progressed, she hadn’t been asking when the patch was due for a change. So, we decided to go the full 3 days, and reduce the patch. She did 3 days on a 100mg Patch, and on Friday, we did 75mg Patch. Which is great !

During the week, she has not been feeling very well. She can’t put her finger on it, but said she felt anxious and her stomach wasn’t right. She couldn’t be any more specific.

Over the weekend, some research on the internet revealed this was a symptom of fentanyl withdrawal :-) Good to know there is a reason.

Tommy the tiler (our next door neighbour) has been tiling our kitchen all week. Big Job and he has been doing a cracking job.

Marie and Adele have been performing their usual wonders and making the house look spotless despite all the mess and giving Karen loads of TLC. Thanks girls !!!  I know you don’t often get a mention in the blog. It’s not that you’re taken for granted, but you’re here that often, you’re like the furniture, and I haven’t mentioned my recliner chair in the blog AT ALL ! Thanks :-) I know ONLY too well, how hard this journey would have been without you !

Friday saw a marked improvement in Karen’s walking. It’s still not “walking”, but its much less of a hobble.

I can’t remember if I mentioned this already in the blog, but we were due to go to Cyprus w/c April 8th 2007. But kp can’t go, because of the risk of clots. But I can go, she has said, so I am looking forward to that big time.

What else…..

Yesterday (Saturday), Jane and Ronnie came up for Sat/Sun night. We had the usual fun-filled nights. kp was nearly wetting herself with laughter last night as we all were at Jane’s antics and that of her grandmother wearing paper knickers when going on holidays abroad. She went out one day – it was a very hot day – when she got back, she was left with 3 pieces of elastic (2 on her legs, 1 round her waist), the paper knickers had disintegrated. It doesn’t sound funny, but when Jane tells it, it’s a much better story.

We went to the Pump House for lunch today – gorgeous as always.

I got my new phone out (better camera, and video camera), and took a photo of the girls. But it was in video mode, so CLICK HERE to see kp doing her improved walking.

For those without Quicktime installed, here is a photo of the girls outside the Pump House.


So, why will Karen be the death of me. I can’t remember which day it was, but it was one night this week.

Karen has a raised toilet seat with feet going all the way to the floor. I couldn’t be arsed going to the other toilet, so went on it. As I went to the sink after abluting, I stubbed my toe on the foot. Grrrr.

Leaving the bathroom, my dressing gown caught on the wheelchair arm and nearly took me down.

As I entered the living room, Karen was sitting in my chair, with her walking stick down by her side but it was sticking out by a foot at shin level. Bang, straight into it. There was some blue language as I performed a miraculous recovery. Karen found it very funny, especially when I described what had happened on the way from the bathroom to the living room.

Day 694 – 696. Mon 26th to Wed 28th March 2007

Not a good start to the week. On Monday, Jane, Ronnie and Karen went to see Jane’s new house. With 5 toilets, 4 bathrooms and a double sink (private joke), it is a big house to get round. I told kp before she went that I was concerned about the stairs.

But, she decided to look upstairs anyway when she got there. She took it a step at a time, had a look round and then came down a stair at a time, but backwards.

Yesterday, she was in agony.

kp:- This is as bad as it was the night before the hip replacement.


Most of the night, I wheeled her round in the wheelchair, she really couldn’t walk. I was annoyed with myself for not being more forceful about the stairs issue. I am sure that is what caused the problem. The commode is back in the bedroom again as well.
She had gone back upto 100ug patch from Monday night, but last night, as well as codeine, diclofenac, paracetamol and gabapentin, we had to up the patch to 150ug.

Now, a bit of good news, although this could be a dream. She got up in the night for something, and I think I asked her if it was any better. I think she said “a little”. Now, that could have all been a dream, but fingers crossed it wasn’t.

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