Archive for November, 2007

Day 915 – 921. Monday 29th October to Sunday 4th November 2007

A cracking week this week, but not without tears.

I tentatively went back to work this week. It wasn’t without the odd trip to the smallest room in the building whilst holding everything in. Happy days.

I had asked my boss to keep me on light duties as I still felt very weak, but by Wednesday I was cooking on gas.

Work is a great tonic to take your mind off things and I feel sure I got better quicker because of it. I am now back to 100%. I do think Karen would benefit from something to keep HER mind occupied. We are a step closer this week to getting that.

So, what’s happened…..Well….For quite a while, we have been getting very frustrated with our solicitor. He has been uncommunicative on a big scale. I chased a couple of things this week and he said he had already informed us of these things. Well, I knew we had had no letter. I double-checked my email and there was nothing. I asked him how he had communicated these things, and I had no reply. Final Straw in my book.

So, we found a local solicitor who specialises in Brain Injuries and appointed her. She visited the same day we rang her on a night time (in her own time). On the first day alone, we had 2 emails from her !! The day after she came, we had a letter, so it looks very promising. This might seem a petty thing to blog readers, but I can’t emphasise enough how stressed we were both getting with our old solicitor. AND….to add insult to injury, he wanted payment as we went along, whereas the new one, doesn’t require any payment as we go along.

One of the frustrations we had was that we had found out about people called Case Managers. They sounded like the answer to all of our problems, namely, someone who specifically looks at Karen’s needs to get her better, and coordinates all the parties to achieve this. It must be about 4 months ago (if not longer) that we told the solicitor about this. We had stressed how important this was etc etc…… 4 months is too long !

Anyway, one day this week, Syd (the case manager) came for his first proper visit (he had been before the hols to introduce himself to Karen), but this was the real thing. I took the morning off work.

He was here nearly 4 hours wanting to know all about kp from birth to present day and how her accident has changed her life. He had asked Karen to compile a list of all the goals she would like to achieve. Blimey, she did a cracking job. There must have been about 20. Some more achievable than others, but Syd discounted none of them.

He had also asked her to complete a diary of what her days consist of. They were quite skewed for the first week, as I was rough-as-a-dog and throwing kp out of routine, but the second week (this week), was more accurate.

We could tell Syd was quite taken aback at how little kp has going on in her life and how bad her sleeping patterns were.

But, the good news is that he is going to compile a report summarising the state of affairs and recommending to the solicitor what courses of action need to happen.

Both Karen and I were over the moon after his visit. To end a cracking day, the solicitor visited on the nighttime (as discussed previously) and it felt like everything had come right all on the same day !

On that night, Karen woke up at about 2am, and was very upset. We got up and went outside for a fag. She was upset, because I think she realises there is going to be a lot more hard work required from her to get to the next stage of “better”. She also felt that Syd may feel she has been slacking recently. I tried to reassure her that Syd himself had said that in 9 cases out of 10, motivation is one of the key things affected by a brain injury. Anyway, she felt a lot better after I reassured her that the biggest fight is over, and that she will enjoy the next bit and that Syd doesn’t feel she has been slacking !!

So, all is good in the Pollard Hood. Well, apart from the damn fireworks going off. The dogs are petrified. We were hoping to get together with Dave and Helen (from the Egypt holiday), but we couldn’t leave the dogs, and I expect they couldn’t leave their cats, so it will have to be another week.


Day 922 – 928. Monday 5th November to Sunday 11th November 2007

Not the best of weeks this week. Karen has been having what is probably best described as “flashbacks”. She gets stuck in a mindset where she can’t think about anything but the accident. She relives what little she can remember of the aftermath of the crash. With this comes a lot of upset and major distraction is needed to pull her out of it.

I think we had 2 episodes of flashbacks this week.


Wednesday saw the physio and OT (Occupational Therapist) visit this week. Karen had expressed an interest in getting into the bath on her own. We have a chair-lift, but kp even struggles to get over the sides of the bath, and the chair-lift leaves her quite a bit out of the water – not as nice as an experience by far. So, what we tend to do is I help kp into the bath, I stand in the bath with her and lower her down. We have it down to a tee and I feel it is pretty safe. The hard bit is lifting her from sitting to standing when she wants to get out.

Anyhow… understandably doesn’t like to have to rely on my help and would sometimes like a bath in the day if her pain is bad – hence the physios came to offer their advice. So….

This was all done with no water in the bath, which is good because it is non-slip, but then you don’t have the benefit of the water taking some of the weight.

Step 1 was to get into the bath. They came up with a method to get her into the bath. It involved kp sitting on the side of the bath and leaning back so that she could get her legs over (one by one). It kinda worked after a few attempts.

Then she sat on the little side-seat (built-into the bath) – that was easy enough, and then she kinda slides herself over to the back of the bath and slides herself down. Works great in a dry bath (although not without difficulty).

At this stage, she is in the bath successfully. The tricky bit, of course, is getting her out of the bath.

They came up with a 2-step way of getting her up. The first step was to try and get her onto the half-way seat. With only one strong arm/hand, she found it extremely difficult and strenuous to get up to the half-way seat. So they aborted that and came up with the idea of sitting crunched up across the bath, so she could use her legs to help her to lift her bum on to the half-way seat. Well, what a struggle she had and she REALLY tried. In the end, the physio had to get hold of kp’s trousers and help her up. kp was out of breath by this time.

They tried it again, thinking it would be easier second time, but it wasn’t. So, they are going to get another little step that can go in the bath, that is halfway between the bottom of the bath and the half-way step. The idea being, that kp can grab this when she wants to get out and put it in the water and use it as a stepping-stone to the half-way seat.

We look forward to their next visit.

I went to work after their visit and came home to a kp in a LOT of pain. For ages, we have been just getting by on the morphine patches. She has avoided using the morphine tablets, but tonight she took 2 x 10mg, so bad was the pain. All the bath shenannigans obviously took their toll.

The following day she took 2 more !

By Friday, the pain had eased off I am pleased to report.

In fact, on friday, kp thought she would try the bath routine (just the easier getting-in bit). We couldn’t get her feet into the bath on her own, but she thought she would try the sitting in the half-way seat, and then the slide into the bath. Well, it was fun ! Rather than a nice steady slide  down the back of the bath on her bath, which is what we experienced when there was no water in the bath. It was more a steady slide until her bum touched the water and then Tsunami time !!  We had a giggle about that.

We got some bad news from my family this week. My dad had a mini-stroke. In typical dad-fashion, he drove to the hospital himself after having it, unable to open his left hand. They have told him to take things easy !!! So, DAD !!!!!! No more having the kids at a weekend, no more working those long hours. A few more holidays a year (if that’s possible) ;-)

On Friday, we were supposed to have our nephew (Ethan) stay for the night and take him to Toys’r'us on the Saturday, but in the end his mum said he had to go to his Nana’s. We tried to ring him at his Nana’s, but she said he wasn’t there. So, that was a bit strange.

We had a nice day yesterday. (Saturday). Marie brought Abbie and Louisa up and we had refreshments and lots of fun.

Today, when kp gets up (about 1pm hopefully as she is still not sleeping right), we will be walking the dogs and jobbing on.

This coming week, the only appointment we have is the Dentist – 2 fillings for me, and kp getting a clean and polish. I think that’s thursday. Quite a busy week for kp, with Angela coming on monday, Adele on tues/wed and friday and Helen on Thursday, so that should do her the world of good.

Day 929 – 935. Monday 12th Nov to Sunday 18th Nov 2007

Busy week for her highness this week.

Monday saw a visit from Angela (fellow car crash victim). By all accounts they had a really good chat, exchanging all the latest news. There were one or two tears along the way. She had an awful sleep that night.

On Tuesday, she was due to go shopping in Durham with Adele, but we postponed that until the following day. On that evening, we went to the local blood donor’s session for me to give blood, and of course, it was a chance for Karen to catch up with her old work colleagues. They all seemed pleased to see her, and I could hear quite a bit of kp laughter from the waiting area where I was stationed.

As we were about to leave, Lydia asked me if I thought it would be a good time to give kp her leaving card and pressy. Last time I had given blood, she had asked the same question, and I had said “No”, because kp had had her employment formally terminated a week or 2 before, but I felt she was strong enough today, and gave the “nod”.

Lydia gave me the card, and I went over to the “Tea/Coffee” section to give it to her. I didn’t think twice about it, and just gave it her. Bad move Mr P. The tears and the upset started as she read everyone’s lovely comments. There was also a present of Gardening Gift Vouchers. The comments were lovely, and of course, for Karen, it was another reminder of the fact she no longer works there, and can’t share all the daily banter they used to have. I felt awful. kp just wanted to get out of there.

The tears continued at home and she was subdued the whole evening and the whole of wednesday ! She is keen to thank everyone for the lovely card and the pressy though – so big thanks to all involved !!!!

Tuesday night, Karen had another bad dream about the accident. She remembered peering up at Kevin and Angela and seeing them.

Wednesday saw her go to Durham with Adele. She had a shopping list she was supposed to get from Tesco, but they didn’t have the time to make it over there. She remained subdued on the night time.

Thursday morning, I woke up to hear Karen shouting in her sleep.

kp:- “Get off my legs”. “Don’t touch them”. “You’re putting pressure on my legs – someone’s on my legs”

It was clear she was reliving the accident AGAIN. As it got more upsetting for Karen, I had to intervene and wake her up, at which point she just wanted comforting and holding.

Thursday saw Helen come over (who we met in Egypt). They had a good catchup on what has happened since the holiday. I arrived in time to see Helen which was nice, and then kp and I went to the dentist. Me for 2 fillings, kp for a polish/clean.

Thursday was another bad sleep. Friday saw Adele come over. Karen rang Ronnie to arrange the forthcoming trip to Surbiton. I am going down with kp for a week. I am on a course, and we are seeing a musical one night. kp is also going to see the recording of “Loose Women” so she should enjoy that.

On Friday night, I went straight from work to pick up Ethan who was coming to spend the night. So a busy day followed. Karen had her usual nightly bath and then Ethan wanted one (he likes the jacuzzi thing). Here he is sporting a beard of foam.

On Saturday, we went to Toys’r'us to pick a birthday present for him, and then returned him to his mam.

A lovely quiet Saturday evening followed. kp took 3 sleeping tablets last night and had 6 hours sleep (broken into 3 x 2hours).

So pretty good.

This week, she is going for a meal with Debs and Lydia (from the Blood Service), and getting her hair done.

This coming Sunday we are going to Surbiton for a week (me for a course, kp to see vd) and then Southampton for the weekend to see the Maffey Crew :-)

Day 936 – 941. Monday 19th November to Saturday 24th November 2007

Another action-packed week in the life of kp.

Tuesday, we had arranged to meet up with Lydia and Debs for a meal at Chevitas in Durham. It was 3 hours of howling. We had a cracking time, and too much food.

Wednesday saw us visit the pain clinic at University Hospital, Durham. Karen is now on the maximum medication she can be for the pain, so this was supposed to provide us with a way forward. It was a cagey start with the consultant advising to just rearrange the existing pain relief ie more of one drug, less of the other. But, kp and I both instinctively knew that that wasn’t going to crack it. kp spoke up and said that we had come here, ‘cos we had tried all that, and that the doctor was hoping the consultant could come up with other ideas.

And then he did………….

He is going to put kp forward for a trial of Dorsal Column Stimulation. What that is, is that kp goes for a psychological assessment first of all to see if she is suitable. She told me later that she instantly thought that would rule her out, as she isn’t as switched on as she was before the accident. But kp raised her fear and he reassured her that she would have nothing to worry about and that the assessment was more for sussing out the negative people who believed “nothing fixes my pain” etc etc….

It costs £20,000, so they have to be very cagey about who they do it with.

If she passes that, and she will, they then arrange a week’s trial. It’s a general anaesthetic jobby, where they insert an electrode into the epidural area of the back. She wears it for a week to assess how much it improves things, and if all is ok, she goes back to get a full time one implanted. It sits completely under the skin (including the battery) and she gets a remote control unit which she can adjust to control the pain. BAGSY THAT REMOTE !!!!

We are both feeling really good/positive about it.

Thursday, Marie came up and with Karen, they went shopping for FOUR HOURS. Marie was a god-send, carrying 74 bags for kp and keeping her right. If anyone needs a pack-horse for shopping, Marie is available at very reasonable rates, and you’ll be sure to find all the bargains as well.
kp was the worst I have seen her when she got back. She was in an upsetting amount of pain ! She took a big 50mg Morphine tablet, which she hates doing it, so it must have been bad. It didn’t help that much, and she had an awful night’s sleep. She went to sleep, knackered, but as soon as she fell asleep, she was moaning, and that just carried on. I couldn’t stand to listen to her in so much pain, so slept in the other room. Thank God, she was asleep !

Friday, she stayed in pain for most of the day, taking more morphine tablets on top of the patches.

On Friday night, we went to David and Helen’s (the people we had met in Egypt) and had a lovely (and too short) evening with them.

Saturday, kp has been asleep most of the day, as she had a bad night’s sleep.

Tomorrow, we travel darn sarth as I am on a course in Surbiton for the week. kp is spending the week with Ronnie. We are going to see a show on the Tuesday night (Joseph), and kp (and Ronnie) are going to see the television show “Loose Women” being filmed on one of the afternoons.

And then next weekend, we are going to Southampton to spend the weekend with Tracey, Mark, Megan, Thomas and Madge.

We are both really looking forward to the week.

We don’t get back until late Sunday night, so there will be no blog entry until the middle of the following week or perhaps even the following weekend.

Big Thanks to Marie, who is once again coming to house-sit with the dogs.

Thanks Marie !

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