Archive for July, 2007

Day 788 – 794. Monday 25th June to Sunday 1st July 2007

Another depressing week. Monday saw us visit the fracture clinic at the Q.E. Gateshead. The consultant was a bones man and examined Karen’s breaks and assessed her range of movement. One thing Karen had wanted to do was to find out if what the physio had said was true, namely, could she get in the bath on her own ? The physio had said that her right hip wouldn’t let her do this.

Karen had been telling me “I bet your mam (who has also had a hip op) can get in/out of the bath on her own”. So, Karen popped the question of this consultant and he basically said she wouldn’t be able to get in/out of the bath by herself, but not JUST because of the hip (although that does make it harder), but because of the left-sided weakness as well. It’s the 2 together.

I don’t think kp was too pleased at hearing this. At the moment, she has to ask me for a bath. We do have an electric lowering seat, but it means kp is 6 inches higher in the bath, when it is down, so all her bumpy bits are exposed – no good. So, I lower her in. Makes for a nicer bath experience for her.

Tuesday, kp felt rally lousy. Adele came to do the cleaning etc and I think a chat with her made her feel a bit better in the afternoon.

The rest of the week, kp has been on a bit of a downer. She hasn’t wanted to talk to people on the phone, the prospect of picking it up and having a conversation being too much for her. I’d go as far as saying she is “scared” to pick the phone up.

But, this next week could be different.

Yesterday (Saturday), I woke Karen up as it was gloriously sunny (6am) and I thought she may like to walk the dogs with me. I probably took her on a 1/2 to 3/4 mile walk. Bad move. It was too far. She was wrecked by the end of it, and has paid the price today (Sunday). Patch tonight, so hopefully tomorrow, she will feel a lot better.

We watched Dreamgirls on DVD last night. Nice change. Good Film.

No appointments this week. It feels like a first.

Day 795 to 798. Monday 2nd July to Thursday 5th July 2007

This won’t make for a happy blog read. Things are not good in the Pollard household.

Karen has been going downhill for a while, and last night saw pretty much rock bottom. It was “suicide watch” time for me.

Karen is sleeping more than she is awake on a big scale. She is asleep as I write this.

Last night, she was inconsolable. She wanted to end her life because she felt that my life would be better without her around. She gets this notion, because when she is down, I am down, which I think is totally understandable. We love each other, we share the good times and we share the bad. But, she sees this as her bringing me down. Obviously, I try and tell her that this isn’t the case and we are just having a shared experience of life etc etc…..But it hits deaf ears.

She fell asleep crying last night. I had to be on my guard to ensure she didn’t do anything stupid. She has a habit of waking up in the middle of the night and watching tv for an hour, but in her current mindset, she could get upto all sorts.

I am pleased to report she was still here in the morning.

I had the day off work. It was a very solemn quiet day. kp slept most of the day, while I did work emails from home. We had an appointment with the psychiatrist booked for 4pm. Through no fault of his own (the psychiatrist), and a lot because of the postcode lottery of NHS support, there aren’t that many avenues that he can help us with because Durham doesn’t have the neuro-help that Karen needs and would get in other areas of the country (like Newcastle/Gateshead). But he did give me a few ideas which I can pursue through the insurance company that has helped already with things like the hip operation. So, I have written to a Professor who works for the insurance company and who will try and put in place the help that kp needs.

I really hope he comes good on his offer of help that he made months ago when we first met him.

From my perspective, I am finding it increasingly hard to do my job and to support Karen. The company I work for has been superb and couldn’t have been more supportive. But the nature of my role is one that means I can’t just stop thinking about it when the day ends.  And taking impromptu days off like today can’t help matters. I don’t want to abuse the support they have given me, but Karen has to come first. It’s a hard position to be in.

The new anti-depressants prescribed today are going to take 7-10 days to kick in, so at the moment, until the Prof comes back to us, all our hopes are pinned on them.

Watch this space, as they say


Day 799 – 801. Friday 6th July to Sunday 8th July 2007

Well, we have been thinking about what the psychiatrist had suggested and mulling over if there is any benefit to be had from his suggestions. One suggestion was Karen be admitted to hospital to sort her out. Mum suggested the Priory which has worked miracles for one of our family friends, but the thought of any sort of “hospital” visit turns her stomach.

I wrote to the Professor chap who is supposed to put things in place to help Karen. Within 15 minutes, I had a reply even though he was on holiday in Italy – very impressive. He is back this week and is going to “get onto it” straight away, which was good to hear. I have also emailed the great neuropsychologist who has done so much good for Karen in the past. No reply yet.

Friday, I stayed off work again as there was no way I could leave her in the state she was in. Adele came to clean the house etc, but apart from a short chat with her, she pretty much slept the whole day.

Saturday, we had agreed that she would try and get her sleeping patterns back in order as we felt that this would be the right first step. All in all, she did pretty well. She stayed asleep until about 10am. We had tried to set something to do for each day of the weekend. Today (‘cos of the weather) it was shopping at Sainsburys. She wasn’t in the mood for it. On the way round, we bumped into one of my workmates. Karen had met Helen a couple of times before, but seemed bemused as to who she was. I could tell Karen wasn’t in the mood for socialising and thankfully Helen picked up on this too, and moved on after a little natter – thanks Helen !!! Very perceptive !

We got halfway round Sainsburys, and got half of our shopping list, but kp had had enough and we went home.

She wasn’t going to make the full day so she went for a snooze.

We watched the film she had fallen asleep in earlier (“Inside Man” – very good), and then got ready for bed. In bed, we watched Parkinson’s favourite entertainers. It went through people like Ken Dodd, Frank Sinatra, Fred Astaire and George Best. Half way through George Best, kp was in tears and very upset. Parky was discussing whether George Best had a self-destruct button (with regards the alcohol etc…). kp felt that she might be the same as him (obviously, not with the alcohol). She was so upset, we had to get up and have a talk about it. There was probably 30 minutes of tears, that’s a long time when you’re living it. Eventually, she was calm enough to sleep.

Today (Sunday) has been a cracking day so far. The weather was glorious, we were up at 8am and off out in the car to a picnic spot we sometimes used to go to walk the dogs. I say we were up at 8am. I was, Karen had been up since 3am. We had a lovely walk. We couldn’t do the usual route for obvious reasons, but we got to the bit where the dogs could swim in the (fast-flowing) river. It was really special after so much heart ache recently. We even got to talking about the future. We didn’t finish the conversation but we are going to. kp is not back to “normal” by any stretch of the imagination, but there is a definite improvement, and I am hoping it is the start of a long uphill trend.

Day 802 – 808. Monday 9th July to Sunday 15th July 2007

Generally poor week, with the biggest of blows for Karen on Saturday.

Wednesday saw Karen attend probably her last physio session. She was very nervous going out on her own, “sweating like a pig” in the taxi. The neuro physio basically explained to Karen that she has “reached her potential” as far as neuro physio and that no more exercise will make it any better. She suggested that kp should continue trying to use her left arm while at home etc etc…. Not the ideal thing for Karen to hear after last week.

Thursday – Karen was due to visit her work for the last time. She was finished (ill health retired) at the end of May, and the works were going to have a farewell doo for her and Angela. Karen cancelled her attendance on the Monday as she didn’t feel mentally well enough to attend. She felt very guilty about this. I think they are postponing it until she feels better. In the afternoon, I left work early to take Karen for a follow up visit to the psychiatrist. One of the areas that he felt needs to be addressed are her erratic sleeping patterns. She sleeps about 2-3 hours on a night and then probably 12 hours (on and off) during the day. She has been on Tamazepam (sleeping tablet) for about 2 years. I personally think they wake her up ! They tend to knock her out for a bit, but when they wear off, she wakes up.

Anyhoo, she has been prescribed 2 new sleeping concoctions. One is an anti-depressant (traplidone (something like that)) which has a side affect of being a sleeping tablet. And the other is Zopiclone. The first night (thursday) she tried the anti-depressant one. It gave her a stuffed nose in the first 2 hours and she had to breathe through her mouth all night. It didn’t help her sleep and left her with a metal taste in her mouth. No good.

Friday saw us go to Woodlands Hospital, Darlington to see an eye consultant for a medico-legal report. He was a bit off at first, bordering on rude. He asked what injuries Karen had sustained. I started reeling them off, and he shut me up and said he would wait for the reports to come through. In hindsight, we think he thought Karen was “pulling the lead”. He put some eye drops in Karen’s eyes so that her pupils would dilate so he could see the back of her eyes. We left the room while the eye drops kicked in. Karen was VERY tired and fell asleep, her nodding head amusing people in the waiting room. When he called us back in, he had found the 4 inch thick worth of documentation detailing Karen’s injuries, and he couldn’t have been nicer to us. It really was as if he had thought she was “trying it on”, and now he understood she wasn’t. He even started talking about his recent experience with whiplash. Whoopy-Dee !

He examined her eyes, and basically confirmed what we already knew ie that her right eye’s optic nerve had been damaged and there was no room for improvement as it is an extension of the brain and brain cells don’t get better if they die blah blah blah !

As soon as we got back, kp went straight to sleep. She was asleep as soon as her head hit the pillow.

At 1245pm, the neuropsychologist arrived. She spent 5 minutes asking how I was, which was nice. She stayed until 3.15pm. kp and I get on great with her. As I have said before, she has an uncanny knack of getting into kp’s brain. We both feel she REALLY understands Karen’s condition, depression and moods. When she says things, even the dogs nod as if to say “ah yes, that makes sense.” She didn’t leave kp feeling mentally better, but Karen did feel that she understands her situation more. We also had an action plan, namely that I should contact the solicitor and ask him to progress the appointment of a Case Manager, which I have now done.

Before I forget, a quick paragraph on me ! For the past month or so, I have been questioning if I should be working at the moment. Karen really needs me at the moment, and although my boss has been great when it comes to time off for Karen, I question whether I have taken enough time off, and of course, from a work’s perspective, how much better would my department run if it were run by someone who was full time there. My position is to be responsible for the Service Department of an IT company. The company is 70-staff strong, and I am responsible for 40+ of those staff. Recently, with the increased number of appointments and bouts of low mood for Karen, I have been off a lot. When I have been off, shit has happened that wouldn’t have happened had I been there. I, of course, feel guilty about this and have been thinking more and more about how much better it would be for the company and for me personally, if I stepped down from my role and took on a less responsible position. I approached my boss about this a little over a week ago and he understood where I was coming from and offered me another post (less money but more importantly less responsibility). So, this has been announced at work, and it’s like a weight has been lifted off my shoulders. Hopefully, they will find a replacement for me asap, and I can move to my new post in the Datacentre. I am not responsible for any person, just for IT projects, and I feel that this will allow me to give kp the attention she deserves. At the moment, I am living and breathing work at home. kp will ask me a question, and it will take me 20 seconds to respond, because I am still thinking of work issues. She gets irritated when I don’t have her attention etc etc….

Anyway, back to kp !

For some reason (can’t recall), she didn’t do Zopiclone on the friday night, and her sleep was all over the place.

Saturday saw some real bad news come in !!! It was in the form of a letter from the DVLA. Karen’s driving licence has been revoked for medical reasons. There was an accompanying letter from a doctor explaining why, but basically it’s because she doesn’t see things on the left.

Putting Karen’s driving license in the post was quite a hard thing to do. That may sound strange, but it was. I took a photo of it ‘cos it feels quite a momentous thing.


A week ago, I thought things couldn’t get any worse. Oh yes, they can ! Karen was distraught. In a way, she was like an upset child. She was very angry and was shouting “It’s not fair”. She was throwing things around the house. It was so sad. She wanted to pay the person at fault for all of this (the driver) a visit. The driver of the vehicle who caused the accident had been given a driving ban for 3 years (I think, memory like a sieve). Karen mentioned this and the fact that she now has a driving ban for life. “How would he like that ?”.

kp:- “Do we have his address ? I want to pay him a visit.” (crying while shouting this)
dp:- “Yes, love, i think we have it in a newspaper cutting somewhere” (what else can you say ?!)

This probably carried on for about 2 hours. It doesn’t sound like a long time, but it is a LOOOONG time when you are living it and feeling the hurt kp feels.

kp:- “Well, that’s it now isn’t it. What’s the point carrying on now ? What little independence I had is just gone ! GONE !”

and then later……….

kp (still bawling) :- “That car was a present from you for my 40th. You might as well get a car you like, ‘cos I won’t be driving it again”

She was so, so, so upset. And so angry ! By her own admission, she said she had never felt so much anger against a person. I was incensed as well. Of course, I feel her hurt, and I am angry when she is upset. I have never had a fight in my life (not even at school), and I was ready to go down to Stratford-upon-bloody-Avon and slap this bloke in his leather f+cking jacket around a bit. (He wore a leather jacket to court).

I honestly don’t know where we will go from here. It’s going to take all my and Karen’s strength to pull her out of this one. Karen is becoming a recluse. She can’t speak to friends or family on the phone. She feels guilty about this. But, most of all she bears a huge load of guilt for me.

kp:- “How much better would your life be, without me ?”

It’s something we discussed in detail with the neuro-psychologist (NP).

The NP put it brilliantly when she said …………..

NP (talking to Karen) :- “You feel like you’re on an island and your family and friends are on the mainland and your island is getting farther and further away. The more guilt you feel, the more distant you feel”.

It was something like that. It really hit home with both of us anyway. She is sh+t hot !

So, Saturday was a day full of tears. We didn’t eat at all (bar biscuits and tea), not even Pizza on the night. We didn’t even watch a programme which we normally do on a Saturday night.

She tried a Zopiclone last night (Saturday night), and although she got up for half an hour, she did have a good 8 hours sleep which is GREAT and although how much of that sleep is because of the tablet, and how much is because of the horrendous day yesterday, we will have to wait and see. The worrying thing is, that when she got up for her half hour, she later told me that she was thinking of how many tablets would it take to kill herself !!!! I know if she tells the doctors that, she will be sectioned and she would hate that.

We got up about 8am for a cup of tea, and then went back for snooze.

On a positive note, we have been for another lovely walk in Wolsingham with the dogs.

She is now thinking of moving house to some secluded spot where she can be on her own and if she wants to walk the dogs, she can do without fear of being pulled over if she meets up with anyone.

I think it was a passing thought, but you never know with kp !

That’s enough blog, horrendous week all in all.

Let’s end with a funny. Even karen laughed at this when I told her.

Both Karen and I went for a snooze this morning about 9am. I couldn’t sleep and after a while she started talking in her sleep.

It went something like this. Bear in mind, she is fast asleep !

kp:- “But you see, my diet isn’t great. I mostly drink cups of tea and biscuits. [pause] Oh yes, oh yes, occasionally………. [pause] …… We did have Roast Lamb though ! Anyway, I have got to get back to sleep.”

Then nothing…..

How weird is that !

Day 809 – 815. Monday 16th to Sunday 22nd July 2007

kp describes her mood as “still flattish, but different than what it was”. By different, she means in a better way.

Monday saw kp visit the ortho physio. Went well, and she got discharged from ortho -physio. I met her at the hospital to attend with the orthopedic consultant (who did the Hip op) for a reassessment. She had an X-ray and then we went for a chat with him. He said everything was “as expected” and he was pleased with the x-ray.

Here it is………….

Click on the picture to enlarge

Notice the zip they left in her stomach for easy access for any pelvic/hip changes they want to make ;-)

She has to come back in a year.

Tuesday saw Adele visit to do the housework etc….She prepared all the veg for a roast, which we didn’t feel like on the day.

Wednesday, kp said she was going to cook the roast “for her man”. I cook teas generally, but she wanted to see if she could do it. I left her to it. Unfortunately, it didn’t go too well. She got really stressed. Basically, she struggles to coordinate the timings and it really stresses her out.

kp:- I am ready to scream

At which point, I went in to assist.

Everything was ready (I would say the potatoes were overready by about an 45 minutes), but the carrots had only been on 5 minutes. “Al dente” they were not ! Crisp would be a more apt description.

kp:- I can’t do this. I am too stressed……………….. I am dangerous in the kitchen. My left hand catches on things. I nearly knocked the gravy off without realising it.

I am aware of this already. The previous weekend we had been to a shop for some items for the new bathroom. The aisles were tight, and her left arm was “kind of” sticking out catching things. I was busy sorting the havoc she left. Well, it wasn’t that bad, but I was having to keep my eye on it. The other thing she can tend to do is to grip something with the left hand, and then move away, not realising her grip is still in place. I can imagine that something like this must have happened in the kitchen. She was probably gripping the gravy dish as she stirred it, and then moved onto something else, taking the gravy pan with her.

I think we will be sticking with easier meals for now, and move upto roasts in the long term.

Her sleeping is still all over the place, despite the new sleeping tablet. She doesn’t like the new one as it leaves a metallic taste in her mouth. One night, she even tried going to bed without one, but she was up all night – no good. She is persevering with it.

Her mood has lightened. But, she doesn’t feel comfortable talking to people yet. When I ask her why that is, she explains that, generally people have problems going on in their lives on a day to day basis and if that comes out during conversations, she takes that on and it’s “too heavy a load”. A woman who was on Stars in their Eyes got killed recently, and that stuck with her for at least a week. This poses a problem in itself, because of course, everyone has issues in their day to day lives which they would normally share with Karen, so to avoid the situation, she has to avoid the people. That’s how she feels at the moment.

Friday, I left work earlier to take her to the Industrial Injuries Benefit doctor to be reassessed. Basically, she is still the same and is classed as 100% disabled. We see him again in 2 years time.

Yesterday (Saturday), we booked a last minute pair of seats at the Theatre Royal, Newcastle to see “Fame”. This is the show that kp was due to see in 2005, but couldn’t because she was in hospital after the accident. Here she is in the theatre. Great show, everyone (including kp and I) was up dancing at the end. (Perhaps dancing is the wrong word for my attempts, swaying might be better).

Here is kp in the theatre….


dp+kp:- Fame………..I’m going to live forever………I’m going to learn how to fly…….HIGH !

All together now !

So, a really good Saturday.

Today, kp has been asleep since about 7am. Will be getting her up shortly. The pain has meant she has about 225ug of patch on, which zonks her.

We are going to try and plan some holidays and weekend’s activities today so she has something to aim for. Things like shows, visiting family / friends etc…..

Should be good !

Day 816 – 822. Monday 23rd July to Sunday 29th July 2007

Much improved week. kp is back in the house !

Adele has started to come 3x a week now, which I am sure has helped. Her first day was Tuesday (cleaning day). kp’s sleep was still all to pot. She was so tired, but couldn’t sleep. She sometimes can’t find words (part of the stroke), but on Tuesday, even sentences were tricky, but I am sure it was down to the lack of sleep.

Wednesday, she had a nice day on her own. Thursday, Adele came to clean again, but kp was asleep a lot of the visit.

Friday, Adele came over and they both had arranged to have a day out. They went to the hairdressers, first time kp has been in 2 months. They then went on to do some shopping for furnishings for the lounge and the new bathrooms.

kp had a great time. It was so lovely to see her “on a high” when I got back from work. It was blood donor session on the evening, and I had booked an appointment to give blood and kp was coming along to see her old team mates. She really enjoyed seeing them and catching up on all the gossip, although she was very nervous before she went in. Debbie and Lydia were there full of their usual banter. It was planned for them to come over after the blood session for a chinwag, but they could see kp was shattered, and I made the decision that perhaps it was best to leave it until another day.

Just before we left, kp, Debs and Lydia were arranging a get together.

Lydia :- You should come round mine. It will do you good to get out of the house and you can stroke my pussy…………………..pussies (correcting herself)

Lots of laughter ensued. She has 2 beautiful persian-type cat things.

Saturday, kp was feeling great. We went over to visit each of the sisters. Adele was at Marie’s with Abbie and Louisa. They were all going to a wedding, and the girls looked great. Here are the 3 of them ……


On the way home, kp remarked how it was like “old times” which was nice.

Saturday night was a bit flat, but all because of tiredness.

Today has been great so far. We got up about 6am for a cup of tea and some tv, and then went back to bed until about 10.30am. We then took the dogs for a walk on the old railway line in Esh Winning. It’s pretty much all level. It was a gorgeous day and made for a lovely walk. Here are kp and the bitches……..


She insisted on taking one of me…….


It was probably at least a half mile that she walked, maybe even 3/4 of a mile, so I have no doubt she will pay the price tomorrow. The best bit was she thoroughly enjoyed it as did the dogs and I.

Generally, Karen has felt very guilty for not seeing friends/relatives etc, but her mood hasn’t been upto it. She is now keen to see everyone again (which can only be a good sign). So Pollard family, heads up that we may be visiting Lancashire soon !

Busy week of appointments this week…..

Tues 4.30pm – Insurance Company coming re us being sued for dogs biting the postlady
Wed 4.30pm – Visit to Norton, Middlesbrough for a Urology appointment
Thu 4.30pm – Psychiatrist, Durham

Keep it up kp, dead proud of you !

. Page Hits View Stats