Archive for March, 2008

Day 1044 to 1050. Monday 25th February to Sunday 2nd March 2008

So so week this week.

Karen’s sleep has been slightly better, achieving 2 good night’s sleep this week, but one night where it was really bad sleep. Until today, she has had quite an upbeat week.

Monday saw the neuropsychologist come to help karen cope with the mental strains of her “new life”. It was a little upsetting for kp as she had to go through things from scratch and there were a few tears.

Tuesday was a busy day, Steve (the physio) came and left kp with some new exercises. Rachel (the OT) came and did some relaxation exercises with Karen that she can use to help her to sleep. She also brought with her a “Sleep Contract” which she had done a great job with, on some very old looking paper. Here it is. kp had to sign it, but I have purposefully left off the signature part…..

Wednesday was quiet and uneventful, but surprisingly it’s the first good night’s sleep of the week.

Thursday saw Syd come. Together, they chatted about the way things were going and Doreen (the Support worker) who starts tomorrow (monday).

kp was out of sorts on Friday and just wasn’t feeling right. Steve and Karen agreed to not do a session that day, but kp felt guilty that he had come all the way from Seaham. Worst night’s sleep of the week with only 1.5 hours.

I had to work on Saturday, something I had agreed with kp NOT to do, but I think she understood that it will be a one-off (I HOPE !). When we got back, we took the dogs for a walk. It was windy as hell, and kp still wasn’t feeling 100%, so it was only a short walk (1/4 a mile). Whilst I was away, kp had been on the phone to Ronnie (from darn sarth) for 2 hours. Lots to talk about there.

Sunday should have been the best day of the week, but it turned into a bit of a ‘mare. We went down to Whalley Golf Club for a Mothering Sunday meal. It was lovely to see all the family, and it was a lovely meal. kp and I had took some flowers down to give to mum. We left them in the car to give her them after as we were going to mum and dad’s after the lunch anyway.

Here’s a picture of us all together and one of Jamie and Sophie watching a golfer….


Sophie and Jamie were great. Sophie spent most of the time doing “sums” and she is good as well ! She is nearly 6 and can do any addition or subtraction as long as it’s numbers less than 10 (as she does it all with her fingers). I was amazed, given her mum struggles with the same kind of sums ;-)

Jamie’s  only interest was dropping his trousers to show off his spiderman underpants that mum and dad had brought back from South Africa. It was a good laugh.

During the lunch, Jane (my sister) was very excited about everything she had coming up in the future. Trip to America, New Garage, and lots of other exciting things and she was telling us all about this. Nothing wrong there !! After the meal, kp and I went out for some “fresh air” and as kp sat in the car, she started crying. What had sparked it was that Jane had so much going on in her life, but Karen felt she didn’t.

kp:- Before the accident, my life would have been that full……

I tried my best to console her and tell her that she DOES have a lot going on in her life, but it was just different things, but she just got more and more upset.

kp:- I don’t want anyone to see me like this.
dp:- well, we’ll just go home (instead of going to mum and dad’s for a cup of tea).

She was quite distraught. I felt I had to go and tell mum and dad and saw them coming out of the Golf Club and ran upto them to tell them we were just going home and that kp was upset. As I left, kp shouted

kp:- Don’t leave me alone in the car

I said I’d be 2 secs, I had to tell mum and dad why we were leaving so suddenly.

In all the rush, we had forgot to give mum her Mothering Sunday flowers. So, mum, here’s a picture……


And yes, we’ll throw in the teacloth !

So, sorry Pollards, for the impromptu departure. kp feels dead guilty, but I explained to her that you all understand that sometimes things get on top of kp. That was one of those moments !

kp remained upset until about an hour from home, when she fell asleep.

Tonight, we will have a chilling night and hopefully with the busy week coming up for kp, she will feel better.

Day 1051 to 1056. Mon 3rd to Sat 8th March 2008

Karen remained distressed through the night and we stayed up all night (!), dozing on the settee.

At about 6am, we went for a few hours sleep in the bed, me resigning myself to staying at home, ‘cos kp was simply too upset. When she got up, she pretty much started crying straightaway and remained upset until Syd (Case Manager) arrived. Syd had come to settle Doreen (kp’s new Support Worker) in. Syd was unable to calm kp, and so when Doreen arrived, kp was in full flow. kp felt guilty that Doreen was arriving to her being upset

kp:- What a welcome this is for you ?

Doreen was great though. She started talking to Karen and taking her mind off things and within a couple of hours Karen had calmed down enough to not be crying. She wasn’t out of the woods though, so knowing kp was on the verge of a breakdown, I phoned the new neuropsychologist, only to be told she couldn’t come until the 31st of March. How ridiculous !!! I was livid. I phoned Pip (the original and best NP around) and true to form she said she would attend to Karen later in the day between appointments. At about 4pm, kp had come off the phone to Pip and she was feeling a bit more positive. Pip is awesome !! She is a true life-saver !

On Tuesday, I went to work, and Karen got to know Doreen more. Steve (the physio) came and together all 3 of them PLUS 2 dogs went for a long walk. kp loved it !! Then in the afternoon, Doreen and kp had planned to go shopping, which they did. Matthew, the speech therapist came late in the day, and together kp and him worked on how to not be as anxious when she has to speak to people over the phone. They came up with this little intro speech…..


That night was an awful night for kp. At about 2am, I woke up to hear Karen shouting in her sleep, it went something like this…..

kp:- I am trying, I’m trying. It hurts too much, I can’t, I am trying…..

She was really crying in her sleep and really distressed, so I thought it best to wake her.

dp:- Karen, ………. Karen…….. KAREN

She just continued…..

I got out of bed and went round her side and started shouting “KAREN !” but she wouldn’t wake up. I was very concerned, as normally she wakes up when I shout at her. In the end, I had to slap her around a bit. Well, that would have been nice, but instead, I grabbed each arm and gently shook her, shouting Karen as I did so. It took a few attempts, but she did wake up, and she was crying when she woke up. We got up for a cup of tea, and had to watch some programs to take her mind off her dream.

The following day kp was in a hell of a state. She was 100% TOTALLY KNACKERED, physically and mentally.

Doreen came, but they stayed around the house mostly, preparing some roses to be planted later in the week. Syd had brought a new whiteboard for the kitchen door so that kp can see what’s coming up later in the week.

Doreen had recorded something that made me laugh.


She was dead right, and I drew the little face and “LOL”.

The rest of the week was all about kp recovering from Tuesday. Even last night (friday), kp was still bad. She had spoke to Steve (physio) earlier in the day and he said there was no point he was coming if she was in such a state. Last night, I was concerned that there could be something else causing so much pain (like the morphine patches wearing off), but am pleased to report that she is a little better today.

To summarise the week, it has been a bit of a roller-coaster, with Doreen proving to be an excellent choice for the role. I think, for Karen, it has been too full-on. And she is exhausted. You think that would improve her sleep, but far from it. Her sleep is worse this week than the previous week.

One day, i got up at 5am, and kp was fast asleep in the front room.


Karen is used to having some quiet time, but she doesn’t get that now, ‘cos Doreen is constantly around. It will take kp a while to get used to company 24/7 and being active all day.

Watch this space. Time will tell if things improve. I hope and think they will !

Day 1057 – 1064. Sunday 9th to Sunday 16th March 2008

Late blog this week, because we have been to Lanzarote for a week in the sun and it was gorgeous !!

We went last Sunday with Dave and Helen (who we’d met in Egypt last year). It was absolutely brilliant. The weather was absolutely perfect with the only downside was the nights were a bit chilly (16′C) and you couldn’t quite get away with shorts and t-shirts. But the days were 100% the perfect temperature at about 25′C.

The idea was that I would go diving and complete my Advanced Open Water diving course, and Helen could keep kp company. Dave is a Master Scuba Diver so he was keen to dive as well. Together Helen and Karen make a good pair, because Karen’s brain injury means she is not 100% safe on her own (road crossings, trip hazards), which Helen can make up for, and Karen is probably a bit more physically able than Helen (who broke her back a couple of years ago) and so can push her (on the flat) in the wheelchair. The only downside is that Karen has persistent sleep problems and so remains asleep a lot of the days so they didn’t get to do too much. Also, Karen can’t take too much in as she suffers from information overload easily, so long chats tired her.

My advanced open water course was great. I did it with Calipso Diving ( and the instructors were absolutely brilliant. Very knowledgeable, very safety-oriented and lots of fun. The course consisted of 5 dives, each one of a different nature. So, I ended up doing a dive focussed on fish identification, one on navigation, a wreck dive, a deep dive (32m) and a night dive. Very different to Sharm-al-Sheikh, but just as enjoyable. I also did one further dive with Dave, where we did a deep dive on a wreck called The Rabat. Saw all sorts of marine life (Octopus, Angel Sharks (lots of them!), Barracuda, Groupers, Wrasse, Spider Crabs). The night dive was a particular highlight. Very eery, but amazing at the same time. At one point, our group sat on the bottom of the ocean in a circle (at around 12m), turned off our torches and then the instructor (Debs), waved her hands in the sea, and loads of minute particles of light spun from her hands. Some sort of irridescent algae. Amazing ! On the last dive, we did The Rabat was absolutely covered in Sea Urchins. They are like black tennis balls (with blue streaks on them), with loads of spikes coming off them (about 6inches per spike). Well, I only went and put my hand on one (in error), and got a load of spike lodged in my finger. Ow !! When you bleed at 30m, it comes out blacky green ! One of the funniest moments for me, was when we went diving at Marla. Marla is a naturist beach – and I kid you not when I tell you this…………..After a 40 minute dive, I surfaced at the steps and THE FIRST THING I SAW when my head was out of the water was a penis and a pair of testicles hovering over me. Circumcised for those that want the extra detail.

As for Karen, she loved the temperatures and they didn’t half make a difference to her movements. Her sleep was all to pot still, staying awake most of the nights and sleeping until noon, but when she was awake, she enjoyed the island with Helen and Dave making various little excursions.

We did some things together as well. For example, on one day we all went to Puerto de Calero (a very wealthy area of the island). Karen, Helen and I wanted to go on a REAL submarine that took you down to about 40m to see all the marine life and a couple of wrecks. The BIG obstacle that we had established before we got there, was that to get into the submarine there were about 10 near-vertical steps on a ladder. But, kp and Helen were both adamant they were going to do it – AND THEY DID ! Thankfully, the rungs were proper flat steps. I had permission from Dave to touch Helen’s arse to help her get up and down the steps, and by virtue of marriage, no permission was required for kp’s arse. And by me going behind them, and taking it a step at a time, we got them both down AND up. They both high-fived each other when they got down there.

The submarine was great. kp found she had to stoop down a bit to see out of our porthole, but she persevered. We saw all sorts of fish. At one point a diver came down and fed the fish and they were swarming round him. Here are the photos from Puerto Calero and the submarine.




Another day, we all went to Timanfaya (the fire mountains) and it was amazing. We had hired a car for the week to do all these trips and some of the scenery we drove through was amazing. They had roads straight through fields of lava. Here are some pictures of Timanfaya.



One of the best things at Timanfaya was they showed the heat that was still only a few feet underground. They had a 10foot hole and they chucked some wood into it, and it smoked and caught fire. They also had some pipes that had been drilled into the earth and they poured water down and it immediately turned to steam with a big bang (causing the little kids/babies to scream and cry). I tried to catch this on a foto, but the timing was out, and I caught the tail end of it.

The earth was so hot, that the kitchen (of the restaurant at the top) were cooking chicken over it !

So, all in all, a great holiday, something we both needed. Beautiful temperatures, good company and generally a nice break. Back to the grindstone tomorrow (for both of us).

Karen is already starting to get a bit anxious about the onslaught of all the rehab team (Incl Doreen and Syd). She is close to tears as I type this. Fingers crossed, she will get through the day.

Here is a photo of the hotel cats that frequented the balconies….


David took his camera along, so there may be more photos in time.

Day 1065 – 1071. Monday 17th March to Sunday 23rd March 2008

Not the most eventful week this week. Busy day for kp on Tuesday (our first day back after hols). Syd (Case Manager) and Doreen (Support Worker) came, then Steve (physio) later in the morning. Steve tried to hone kp’s balancing skills. She was asked to stand on one leg for as long as she could. She did about 3-4 seconds. He then got her to try sitting on the wobbleboard for 20 minutes or so and balancing and when he then asked her to repeat the balancing on one leg trick, she managed nearer 10 seconds !!! :-) In the afternoon, Rachel came and she asked Doreen to try the relaxation techniques with Karen. Well, with Karen’s sleep STILL being all to pot, Karen nearly fell asleep. Although she didn’t tell me, I feel sure there would have been a few snores and her waking herself up !

Thursday, a chap came from the Job Centre to check kp’s current health state and in the afternoon she went to the Arnison Centre with Doreen to get a few things in.

Friday was Bank Holiday so we had a nice walk with the dogs, despite the blizzard conditions. Saturday the same, but the weather was treacherous and neither of us enjoyed the walk, but kp was adamant she wanted to go. Sunday much the same, but with nicer weather. Pain has been a bit of an issue this weekend. By the time Sunday had been and gone, kp had done 3 long (for kp) walks with me and the dogs. She had to take some top-up morphine tablets last night and has instructed me to walk the dogs myself today (BH monday)

Sorry about this week’s blog entry. Pretty dull week really.

Day 1072 – 1078. Monday 24th March to Sunday 30th March 2008

Good week this week. Sleep still remains the BIG issue.


Monday was the Bank Holiday. Sleep has been a BIG problem recently, and kp has been getting very little sleep, so the weekend she took off from her sleep contract and we did lots of snoozing and tv watching. And a nice walk with the dogs.


Tuesday – she went (with Doreen) to physio at Steve’s gym (in Seaham). Steve had got a table tennis table out and they started off by having a go at that. kp couldn’t hit the ball initially. Steve was unaware about kp’s lack of sight in her right eye, which makes it harder for her to see the distance of an object.


After a few missed balls, Steve played a ball diagonally across the table and kp could hit it – weird ! After that, it became a lot easier and she described it to me as “instinctive”. (a word that she couldn’t find, but when I said it, she shouted “Yes”)


After 10 minutes of that, Steve took her to a beam (6 inches off the floor, 4 inches wide) and with Steve helping her, she walked along it (sideways). Once she had done that, she did it again (one foot in front of another). Very impressive – wish I was there ! The idea behind everything he is doing at the moment is improving balance. He then got Karen to try “marching” (like a soldier). Not sure exactly what the purpose of this one was. For some reason, Karen couldn’t march, she couldn’t get the hang of putting the arms forward in time with the legs. No matter how much she was told about it, it didn’t work.


Rachel came to the house in the afternoon. They discussed a new bath seat for Karen. Currently, I lower her into the bath, but it means she can only have a bath if I am around. They are looking into a one that is lowered and raised by pumping in or releasing air. Rachel is going to bring a box of stuff to help Karen’s hand movements this (coming) week.


The following day (Wednesday) Karen and Doreen went to the Metro Centre. Karen reported she had used a few expletives with Doreen when discussing her sleeping patterns. It’s really getting to kp. They had a nice time apparently, with a nice lunch out.


Thusday saw them visit “Whickham Villa”, a hydrotherapy pool and gym. Karen absolutely loved it. She said she was made to feel very welcome and the surroundings were great. She didn’t actually do any of the stuff, as it was more of a “check it out” kind of visit. She is going to definitely go in the future. I think she is going on tuesday of next week. After that, Doreen took her to see the neuropsychologist. Quite a few tears as they discussed a few things that were still quite raw.


On friday, they went to Seaham again to see Steve the physio. Not a good session AT ALL. Karen would get all into an activity, and then someone would come in, and they had to move rooms. Apparently, this happened twice. And when they got to the final room, Steve got one of those big exercise balls which they did some stuff with, only for someone to come along and ask if THEY could have the ball. This is where Karen should have used her dictionary of expletives and the word “Off”.


Satuday – we went for a lovely walk with the dogs and had some snoozes, watching some cracking tv. No sooner had we got back from the walk and the heavens opened.


Sunday – Mum and Dad came up and we went to “The Pump House” for Sunday lunch. Delicious. Thanks for coming up M+D. 


Here is a picture of them outside The Pump House.




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