Archive for September, 2008

Day 1232 to 1238. Monday 1st September to Sunday 7th 2008

Things still bad.

Mood  – Rock Bottom
Sleep – To Pot
Pain  – Generally ok, but slight hiccup.

Sunday night (after last week’s blog) saw Karen get quite a lot of pain in her right hip. At one point we were close to going to the hospital, but we agreed to leave it until the morning and it turned out to be the right thing to do, as come Monday morning, although it wasn’t gone, it was better.

The highlight of Monday was a plumber attending to fit a water meter, apart from that, it was uneventful.

Tuesday and it was physio for kp. kp hasn’t been in the mood for physio recently, but has forced herself to go. She normally loves it and it’s the highlight of her week, but not this week.

On Karen’s day off (wednesday), Syd came (her case manager). It didn’t help kp’s mood.

Thursday and Joanne came to work on Karen’s left arm. Karen remained subdued. Towards the end of the day, she felt she was getting slightly better, but then suicidal thoughts during the night saw her mood return to rock bottom.

Friday and it was physio again and we took the dogs to the vets in the afternoon to get their boosters done and to get a limp, that Elsa has, looked at.

This weekend saw some incredibly heavy rain. kp wasn’t in the mood for going out at all, and probably just as well, ‘cos the bridge we normally cross was flooded….

Yesterday and today, I walked the dogs, but kp did manage to come shopping with me.

So, not a good time at the moment in the Pollard household.

As usual, fingers crossed, that her mood can only get better. Some good news is that there has been lots and lots of applications for her support worker. I feel sure that her mood will pick up when she becomes active, something the support worker will help kp achieve.

Watch this space…..

Day 1239 – 1245. Monday 8th Sep to Sunday 14th Sep 2008

I am sorry this must make for depressing reading. I wouldn’t have thought things could have got worse, but they have.

Sunday night saw Elsa get very poorly. Elsa is one of our 2 German Shepherds. Bonnie is the rough and loud one, Elsa is the meek, puppy dog eyes one who has a face to die for. So, when something is wrong with Elsa, you feel very sorry for her, because she has THAT look !

Karen :- If anything happens to Elsa, I don’t know how I will cope

I was really concerned, because kp is so low, and it would be just our luck for something to happen.

German Shepherds are known for their weak backends, and Elsa (at 8 years old) has a weak backend, but nothing that stops her enjoying her walks etc etc…..Unfortunately, she had done something to her front left leg which meant she couldn’t put ANY weight on it all. With a weak backend, she was having problems walking AT ALL. We very nearly called the emergency vet out (it was that bad). But given monday morning was only 12 hours away, we thought she could hang on until then. We took her for the first free appointment and they asked us to bring her back the next day for x-rays. We felt somewhat reassured.

The following day she had the x-rays and we went to pick her up. The vet explained that there was no break and although there was a black area which could indicate bone cancer (Her blood sister Cleo had bone cancer) that they weren’t worried about that. What was clear was that she had bad arthritis in her elbow. With tablets and some antibiotics for a temperature, we took her home.

Thankfully, by the end of the week, she was like a new dog and she is so much better. The bad news, Bonnie is now bad.

She was a bit subdued yesterday, and today she has been off food (UNBELIEVABLE for Bonnie) and wasn’t really fussed with the walk.

We went for an afternoon snooze and when we got up, we were greeted by a pool of blood (which we think has come out of her backend).

So, vets again tomorrow. What’s weird is that both dogs have been fine for years (no vets visits). Because we are going away soon and they are staying at a new kennels, we had to get them vaccinated, and all of this has happened within a week of the vaccination. Probably coincidence, but a bit weird !!!

Back to kp. Needless to say, that none of this helped the kp situation, but things weren’t heading in the right direction anyway !

There is _some_ good news. kp is doing BRILLIANTLY at dropping down her medications. She has got Tamazepam (highly addictive sleeping tablet) down to 10mg per night (down from 40-60mg per night)). PLUS !!! Her opiate-based pain patches (Fentanyl) are down from 600mg to 525mg. Interestingly, we did go down to 525mg before, but we did so in a sudden decrease and kp couldn’t tolerate the pain, whereas this time it has been VERY gradual, probably taking 2-3 months to get down to 525mg. So WELL DONE kp !!

So, what’s happened this week….(apart from the vets trips)….

Monday and it was a MDT (Multi-disciplinary team) meeting. This was one where the lawyers weren’t there, just all the health professionals.

That went well, and it was clear that kp was still making good progress !

She had 10 hours sleep the night before, so things bode well.

Monday night and kp had an awful nightmare. She occasionally has humdingers of nightmares, and this was one of those. It takes a lot to wake me, but kp was screaming…..

kp:- Stop It, Stop it STOP IT !!!!!!!!! (really sobbing). David, they’re torturing me, they’re torturing ME!!!!!!!!!!!!

And she just kept repeating similar things. Now, when I wake up to this, I, of course, immediately try and get her awake, but I just couldn’t ! She was locked in this dreaming sleep mode. It was quite frightening and upsetting. I was REALLY shouting to try and get her awake but in the end, I had to shout louder than her and it woke her up. For about 45 minutes, we talked about other things to try and calm her down. It was awful.

I am pleased to say it was the only nightmare this week. kp does a lot of sleep talking (which she never used to do, bizarrely) in her sleep as well, so I have bought a voice-activated digital tape recorder to record some of these episodes so I can play them to Karen. I have tried it out for the last few sleeps, and although I have plenty of snoring, I only have one episode of sleep talking and not a very good one at that. But, as soon as I have a good one, I’ll post it on t’blog.

Tuesday was the day Karen had another HiMat assessment. It’s a physio thing, where they record various activities and time them. I can’t remember the scores specifically, but I do know it was an improved score on the last HiMat assessment, which is great.

The further along the week went, the worse kp’s sleep went. An example would be Tuesday when kp went to sleep from 1am to 2am, 7-9.30am. So, that’s 3.5 hours sleep. It makes for such a horrid life for her ! Wednesday was her day off, and she did nowt but watch TV, despite me trying to do my support worker stint (in the absence of a real one) and motivate her.

Thursday, Joanne (physio) came to loosen kp’s left arm and shoulder and then we both went to see our psychologists.  I go into mine first so I can join Karen’s for the last 15 minutes. Mine went great and we are now putting them on hold until I feel I need another one. I feel very positive (despite everything going on) and in a good position to support kp, which is great and a lot of it is down to these sessions, so money well spent !! When I joined kp’s session, things were very different. kp was upset, and neither of us can remember what about. There were lots of tears on the way home too, and I do remember we went to sleep hugging each other and woke up still hugging, but that’s all I remember !

Friday and another physio session with Steve.

The weekend has been pretty awful. Despite my best motivational efforts, kp has done only 1 dog walk with me and that’s all she has done (aside watch TV). She is even worse (mood-wise) than last week and there have been a few tears.

She did have a couple of glimmers at some point during the week, where there was a bit of positivity. We are both hoping that there will be a few more.

She is so desperate for the sleep to be sorted, and I feel sure if she could be on top of the sleep, then things would improve ! We have a plan anyway. She is going to take 40mg Tamazepam at 3am this morning (monday) and that should get her to sleep. I’ll get her up and we have arranged a full day and hopefully that will correct her sleeping pattern. We are then going to keep her busy each day.

As always…………..Fingers crossed !

Day 1246 to 1249. Monday 15th to Thursday 18th September 2008

Hell and back – that’s where kp (and I) have been this week.

Monday and kp wanted to “end it all”.

Lack of sleep and severe depression had pushed kp to the very edge and it was time to “leave all this shit” (kp’s words).

Normally, I can lighten things up and swerve kp in a certain direction of thinking, but not this time.

We both sat on the sofa for a couple of hours, kp in tears and me VERY close, just hugging her. She felt she couldn’t carry on any more.

There was only one person I felt could help……..Pip.

Pip is a neuropsychologist who has done wonders for kp in the past, and without fail, has always been able to pull kp up from the lowest of slumps. She is my “joker in the pack”. And I needed to play it now. While kp was out of the room, I rang her but only got a voicemail, so I started leaving a message. Before I had got out the full message, I was crying like a baby.

I was so upset I had forgot to leave a contact number, so left it a few mins to compose myself and then still bawled out the phone number when I phoned back.

By this time, it was after 5pm, so I wasn’t expecting a return call from Pip, yet we still needed help.

So, at about 5pm I phoned Syd, Karen’s case manager. He was great. He said to “hang in there”, and he would be here in a couple of hours.

I was very pleased to have some help on the way, although to be fair, I didn’t think Syd would be able to “do a Pip”.

Syd came and within a couple of hours, he had said a few things which Karen later said had made “something click” in her.

Thank the Lord for clicks !!

And well done Syd. I don’t know where we’d be without you now.

The night only got a little better after Syd had gone, things were still bad, but the real improvements came over the next few days.

It’s an early blog this week, but already the air feels lighter and STOP THE PRESS !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Karen has had 12 hours and 11 hours sleep for the last 2 nights respectively with no extra sleeping tablets or anything !!! We can’t believe it and we don’t want to tempt fate by overanalysing it, but we have no idea why it’s suddenly improved !!

So, her mood is still lower than normal, but 10x better than monday !! And with her sleep improved, things are looking positive (touch wood!).

So, that’s the week so far.

So, the rest of the facts this week….

Monday, Rachel (and Charlotte) came to do some OT stuff with kp. This is the day when it all kicked off and kp wanted to end it. It was very awkward when they were here, because getting conversation out of kp was like drilling for water in a stone ie bloody hard work. I took Bonnie to the vets in the afternoon.

Tuesday and another trip to the vets with kp attending Physio in the afternoon.
Wednesday was kp’s day off, but she still got a lot done. She made a Lasagne and it was lovely, walked the dogs (with me) and something else which I have forgot.

Today has been another positive day. Joanne came and loosened kp’s left shoulder up. I am back on the fags (yay!) and I think that has boosted kp’s mood (kp would disagree), but I personally think she missed all the little 5 minutes we had together during the day.

So, from monday hell to a lovely light-feeling thursday, things are looking up.

Watch this space !

We are going for a week in Spain from this Saturday so hopefully that will improve things further. Big thanks to Marie who is house/dog-sitting while we’re away. Thanks Marie !!

Day one of the holiday

Early start. 2am for a 6am flight.

After delay of 30 mins while engineers fixed a fault with the plane we taxied off only to get 100m for the fault to recur and had to taxi back to gate. Lovely flight apart from that.

Arrived safely at the hotel despite a near miss in the car. Someone, the woman looked British, was in the right lane and came into my lane without looking. Karen got very slightly upset but did a really good job of calming herself with the diagphram breathing she had been taught. Well done love!

The hotel was built in 1961 and we think the last time any work was donevto it was 1961!

But the staff are friendly and aside from an ant infestation in the room it does the job. We had researched the hotel before we left and knew to ask for a room in the Annex as it was a lot newer/nicer. Sadly it’s up too many steps so we are sticking with the hotel main building.

First afternoon has just been a sleep catchup.

When kp wakes up we’ll to for a meal. Will add some fotos later in the week.

Day 1 to 2

Forgot to say a little funny that happened yesterday. We were trying to find the room when we arrived and we were looking in the wrong part of the part of the hotel. The porter caught us and said to me that we need to go back to reception and ask for a room in this part of the hotel as there would be too many steps to our original room for me and my “mother”!

We both laughed at this. A week ago Karen would have been knocked back by this but I believe that is a sign of Karen’s improving mood that she saw the funny side of it. We put it down to poor English.

Nice meal last night in a restaurant close to the hotel. Today we went on a walk to get our bearings and a map. We have also made a few plans for the rest of the week.

A day out to Gibraltar, marbella, rhonda and possibly Almeria. Oh, and Granada.

So quite a busy week.

The ant problem got to Karen overnight. So we asked reception to do something about it.

Today we walked round the lovely marina and had a late breakfast.

Weather, as you’d expect is gorgeous.

We are chilling now before dining tonight.

So far so good!

Day 2 to 3

What a cracking day we have had today ! Karen was all smiles and it was worth the wait and lovely to see!!

The reason was……..our day out to Gibraltar. The photos will be at the bottom of this blog entry.

Today we made the 90 minute journey and the subsequent 20 minute wait to pass through border control onto the British soil of Gibraltar!

The plan was to take the cable car up the rock and see the views and the monkeys. By chance we were accosted by the hard sell of a minibus tour instead and normally we just say NO to such approaches but we were so glad we said Yes! We saw sights that would have been beyond the reach of Karen probably more than most cable car people would see.

Our first stop was the Hercules column. From here there were some great views of the ships waiting to dock. Then to St Michael’s caves for a bit of welcome cool. Then to the top of the rock and the monkeys. Finally the Siege tunnels. The whole thing was an unforgettable experience. The photos say it all !

Cracking day!

The last photo is the botannical gardens.

Day 3 Night

A good night to cap a great day.

We went for a stroll along the marina and had a lovely meal. And just as we were finishing the entertainment arrived in the form of a young Geordie lass and her entourage.

Having just been thrown out of another restaurant for being too loud, it was our fortune that she sat on the next table to us.

Well, she genuinely was entertaining. She was loud and lary. Our favourite line and bear in mind the context of our position next to £100,000+ yachts with very rich people eating food and drinking wine onboard…..

Her boyfriend (and I’ll try and do the accent) :- “Dya want 6 pieces of pizza ?”
Loud Geordie Lass :- “I’m not a fat c@@t ya nar !!

Proud to be British !

Forgot to mention that kp was a bit annoyed yesterday because she couldn’t take a photo with my new phone. If she holds it with her left hand she covers up the camera hole. Even I do it a bit (as can be seen by the photos). She is starting to get a bit annoyed at each photo being of her and REALLY was annoyed that she couldn’t take a photo of me with a monkey on my head especially as she had suggested we buy a real camera at the airport. Yikes!

So it’s Tuesday morning and p@ssing down! Just waiting for Karen to wake. Her sleep has dipped a bit from the highs of last week so she is up quite a bit of the night.

Tuesday is a washout

Tuesday – After the rain

After the torrential rain, we went to a lovely park Sue McKie had suggested. On the plus side it really was a lovely park, with rabbits running wild, chicken, cocks, peacocks and the best entertainment was the Ginger cat trying to catch the pigeons, which he never did.

Picture of kp in the park at the bottom.

The downside of the park was the distance from the hotel which I had underestimated and that it was down a big hill and up a big hill there and back! Kp was in a lot of pain when we got back! She wasn’t keen about leaving the room for dinner even and there us no room service! But she battled through it ad she does and she was glad she did as we had a lovely meal,

A good 5th day but a bad ending

Lovely weather today in Benalmadena.

We had planned to go to Mijas and en route was the cablecar to the mountain top which we stopped off at. Well worth the £10er each. The views were spectacular and probably not done justice by the attached photos.

It was noticeably colder and windier at the top. Probably 1000m above where we got in the cablecar! At the top were the most amazing views. They also did a falconry display and although we didn’t stay for it as our day was too packed to wait 45mins we did see the amazing birds. Well a few of them! A huge owl, great eagle, vulture etc …

Very impressive!

The cablecar people were great and slowed the whole thing down for kp to get in and out!

Cablecar done we headed the scenic route to Mijas. It really was a beautiful place! Photos attached!

Now, the day had been quite packed so far (perhaps we were overdoing it) and kp was really flagging when she got back. We had just enough time for her to have a bath before we went to the Andalucian horse show. It was a bit of a rush but we made it. The horse show (kp’s choice) was amazing but far too long. Once you have seen a horse walk sideways, walk in a circle on its hind legs backwards a couple of times, that’s enough. 1.5 hours is too much. Don’t get me wrong it really was amazing, but looong!

It was 8pm when we got back and kp was in a LOT of pain and we were both hungry. So as soon as we were changed we headed to a nearby restaurant. We got 9/10th’s of the way and as soon as we could smell the food’ kp felt nauseous …. Really nauseous. She was going to be sick (in our heads) so we got off the busy pedestrian sea walk and went on the beach and sat on a rock as kp composed herself.

Kp :- “I just need to get back to the bedroom”

We made it back with no vomit trails but a kp feeling VERY rough. We think it was the morphine,diclofenac,codeine cocktail she had before we went out that did it.

So…..we had both just had a bacon sandwich for breakfast all day but were just glad that she was back in the room in 1 piece!

So, good day overall, but an unfortunate ending.

Last day of good weather tomorrow so we were hoping to go to Ronda, but we will have to see.

Fingers crossed….tomorrow she feels better!

Day 6 in Benalmadena

Weather not too clever. Rain until 3pm which was a shame ‘cos we has planned to go to Ronda.

90 mins each way meant we had to call it off. So the day was spent with me reading and Karen resting her body, mind & soul.

Once the sun came out we went for a nice walk. Kp found a new collapsible walking stick purchase that she made.

And we did The Slut. Or as it’s more commonly known – Pizza Hut!

Nice change and the best Pizza!

Karen’s sleep is all to pot at the moment. I woke up in the middle of the night to find kp sitting on a closed loo reading her magazine ‘cos she didn’t want to put the bedside light on. Thanks love!

Tomorrow Karen has booked a massage and we are going to go to the hydropool as the forecast is bad.

We are still enjoying ourselves despite the weather.


Last Day has been a good one

Weather forecast was mostly wrong. Glorious day on the whole with one nice exception.

Thinking the day was going to be a write-off, Karen took a big dose of sleeping tablets to try and get a good sleep (50mg tamazepam) which did its trick but we knew it would leave the morning as a lost cause. How annoying to find that it was glorious and we couldn’t do the Ronda trip or the Marbella people-watching trip but we still had a great day!

I got Karen up at 11am and went to get her a tea and croissant, which she was very impressed with. Good husband points rolled in!

She had a massage booked for 12pm so we ambled down for that. She has overdone it quite a bit on the holiday so a bit of pamper time was well-needed.

We both went in the health spa after and were the only ones in so we really enjoyed all of its facilities.

Then, a lovely walk to the Marina where we fed the fish and had a sit down.

Once back to the hotel, we had a drink in the sun, feeding the hotel cat, before going for a snooze. The weirdest thing happened whilst we were outside. There wasn’t a cloud in the sky within a 5-mile radius and it started raining, everyone was bemused. It was quite refreshing and a joy to watch the others (probably not Brits) run for cover! Well, I say run. The average age at the Hotel Triton is probably 76, so more shuffling than running.

That’s a first for me, weather-wise so I was pleased at that.

Home tomorrow. Had a text from Marie to say she had broken her arm. :-( no detail as to how. Yikes!

Good last night

…….with a meal at American Jacks and kp managed to get a photo of me. At the last minute I realised I wasn’t going to be in it hence the ducking posture!

But I made it !

Back Safely.

Good holiday, but always great to be back and see the dogs ! (Thanks Marie)

I used a little plugin on my phone to do the blog while away, but I notice it has made it so that you can’t see the photo of Karen with the monkey on her head. My favourite !

To see this photo, you need to click on September 2008 (on the right) and then because that page is in date order, scroll towards the bottom and look at the start of the holiday.

Actually, I’ll put it up again, ‘cos it’s my favourite and it was quite small before…..Found 2, so here they are…


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