Archive for November, 2008

Rest of the week until Day 1294

It was lovely to have Karen back. Big thanks to Michelle (temp support worker) who did all the to’ing and fro’ing dropping her off and picking her up.

I made the most of Karen being away and caught up with a backlog of dp stuff.

On the day after Karen got back, Michelle (Karen’s sister) came over with Freddy. We had a good catchup with them. One of the bits of homework we have had from Jane (psychologist) is to rekindle how we used to be (ie less of the carer and caree, more of the husband and wife). So, we have one day a week where there must be no talk of the accident, no talk of rehab, Physio, etc …. The idea is it should be like a normal day pre-accident. She also wants us to talk about the old days and relive the past. Well, with this in mind, I sent 25 hours of old video footage away to be converted to dvd.

We had started watching the first hour of this and left michelle and freddy watching it when rachel (ot) came for her visit. Half way through rachel’s visit, the living room erupted with an explosion of laughter and continued like that until rachel left.

We went back in the front room and michelle and freddy were watching me doing magic tricks in front of the camera talking to a fake audience. Highly embarassing but funny as hell.

On Friday, we came to Poland for a few days. It was karen’s birthday present from me. She had always wanted to go to see the Auschwitz Concentration Camp. The hotel is lovely (radisson sas) and yesterday (saturday) we made the trip to Auschwitz and Birkenau. It was an unforgettable trip and quite moving. At the bottom of this post should be some photos. Not sure what order they will be in, but one is of Karen under the infamous “Arbeit macht frei” sign, one is of me that I took myself ‘cos Karen wasn’t there (more about that shortly) and one is of Karen next to the buildings where they housed 700-1000 prisoners in EACH building). I had told her not to smile so much but I think she took it to the extreme in that shot.

We started off at Auschwitz (smaller of the 2 camps) but the walk was very long and we followed our guide into 3 or 4 of the buildings and each had many stairs. It took it’s toll on kp and she was really struggling by the end. The minibus then took us to Birkenau (2 miles away). Birkenau was Auschwitz “perfected” or that’s what the Nazis would have said. Instead of housing 28 buildings, it had 300!! Instead of 1 small gas chamber, it had 2 huge ones with attached crematoriums plus a couple of small overflow ones. It was murder on a mammoth scale. At one end was the famous tower (just visible in the background of the “me” shot) and at the other end (at the end of the railway line) were the 2 large gas chambers.

The walk from one end to the other was probably about 2/3rds of a mile ( with all the detours you do). The tourbus drove around the complex and dropped us off at the gas chamber end and then it went back to the tower end to meet us there. The tour lady was great and could see Karen was flagging and “told” her to stay in the bus and told me that I would be walking to meet up with her. Fine by us. Yes, Karen wanted to see it all but her body knew it had done enough. So, we bade farewell and split up. I was happy that Karen would probably just stay in the minibus and sleep.

Birkenau isn’t tourist-ified at all. It has basically been kept in the original state whereas Auschwitz has displays explaining the horror of it all.

It was all very moving.

After about an hour and a half, I met up with Karen and was really pleased to hear that she had seen the other end of Birkenau and hadn’t missed out by sleeping in the van.

On the way back, Karen was exhausted (I was flagging as well). She kept falling asleep and snoring off the Richter scale. I even caught myself falling asleep into the rucksack on my lap.

I think the driver took pity on us and dropped us off first, which was nice.

So, a very good trip marred only by some ignorant people we shared the minibus with. A couple of them really got my dander up and unlike the usual dp, I let them know.

It started off when we got in the minivan. We were the first pickup so we had a choice of seats. Karen, understandably chose a front seat as she doesn’t do back seat since the accident. The driver had blocked off the other front seat with her bag, so I sat behind Karen.

When we got to the next hotel pickup, the old bloke wanted to sit in the front but that would mean Karen was squashed so I suggested she could come with me.

David :- “it’s not the backseat love”

As I helped Karen out of the front, the bloke had the cheek to say …,

Bloke :- “it’s safer in the back anyway”

Well, I was #%^**”@&£)(; seething !!!

David :- “that’s not the right thing to say. Karen was a back seat passenger and suffered horrific injuries BECAUSE she was in the back!”

I felt a bit better for my rant but then …..

As a little aside as he got in the front…..

Bloke :- “it’s still safer in the back”

Jesus! I was gunning for him from that moment on.

They were a party of 4 and with the exception of one of them, they were soooo ignorant. This sums them up …..

We entered a crematorium at Auschwitz where the sign called for silence (out of respect). This bloke constantly talked to the guide. And then, to fully sum them up…..

The womans phone rang and she took the bloody call in the quiet area.

Ignorant !

Anyway, we went straight for a snooze on our return and felt much better for it.


Karen :- “I am going to tell you something and I don’t want you to be angry”

Karen proceeded to tell me that when she had got out of the minubus (on her own) at Birkenau and crossed the road to get to the tower, she had nearly got run over.

I was relieved she was ok, but a little annoyed as I have told her countless times that she shouldn’t cross roads on her own. She can’t take in all the information that is needed to be taken in to cross the road safely. To be fair, it wasn’t a proper road (more a car park aisle) but still…..

Anyway, we had a lovely day topped off with some nice room service and a hot bath plus some morphine tablets (just kp for morphine obviously. I am just sticking to crack cocaine and a little heroine)

Today we are going to do the main square if she wakes up .

Sunday in Krakow

Well, we have had a lovely day in Krakow. The weather was gorgeous – t-shirt weather for the brave!

Here are some more fotos…..

Does anyone recognise where Karen is in the last photo ?

Answer in blog comments if ya know.

Day 1295 to 1301. Monday 3rd November to Sunday 9th November 2008

Before I forget, the photo that depicted Karen standing outside of some gate where I asked if anyone knew where it was…….The building in the background is Oskar Schindler’s factory where he employed lots of Jews from the Krakow ghetto.

Well, Monday saw us fly back from Krakow but not before another walk around the centre and it’s something we shouldn’t have done, because it was too much for kp. But with all of the day to kill, she was adamant she wanted to get out of the lovely hotel suite. But, her body was a wreck by the time we got back.

We had a huge meal somewhere around the square and then packed ready for the trip home. The trip home was very eventful. Karen is NOT a good flyer. She doesn’t mind it TOO much when we are cruising along, but doesn’t like the turbulence, but she is normally very scared for the takeoff and landing (if she hasn’t fallen asleep by the takeoff). She always holds my hand and grips the hell out of it even when she is nodding off.

This takeoff went horribly wrong. We taxied to the runway, and the pilot opened the throttles up and we started thundering down the runway and then all of a sudden, he throttled all the way back and slammed on the brakes. There were a few screams, but the loudest was right next to me. Even I was on edge, and I am a very comfortable flier. Karen was distraught. The plane just sat in the middle of the runway for what seemed like ages, and the air hostess had this fake smile on as if to say “everything was fine”. Eventually, she got a call from the captain and carried on her fake smile. Shortly after that, we did take off successfully, but Karen was beside herself. She had what I would describe as a panic attack. She said she couldn’t breathe, and I had to calm her down as best I could telling her to do her diaphragm breathing that she is supposed to do to help her sleep. It did help a bit, but the whole flight felt interminable. Tears on and off, and she didn’t sleep a wink.

My big concern (and Karen’s) is that she wouldn’t fly again, but we will try and do a short flight next to build her confidence. Anyway, we got home with her body and mind both a wreck. We got her in the bath to try and relax her mentally and physically and by about 2am (Tuesday), she was feeling much better in the mind which was the important one.

On Tuesday itself, she was due to attend Physio, but I rang to cancel it as she couldn’t have done a thing.

Wednesday saw her feel better physically which was good because we had a visitor who wanted to see her walk around and various other bits and bobs. It was a lady who (as part of the legal case) had come to assess Karen’s care needs. She was very nice and spent about 4 hours talking to kp and I about how much help she needs. We had a bit of a chuckle later in the day. The lady had left her coat at our house (none of us had realised) and was on the way back to Hertfordshire. Her secretary had rung and left a message on the phone. We thought it was going to say, can you post it on to this address, but it went like this…..

Care Expert’s Secretary :- “Hello, this is Sharon, Mrs Smith’s secretary, she has noticed that she has left her coat at your house. She has asked if you could just put it in the bin. She was going to throw it away anyway.”

Might not be funny now, but it was when we listened to the message.

After she left, we were in need of a shop, so I suggested a trip to Sainsburys. It was a mistake. I should have known that the Care Expert’s visit would have took it out of Karen, but instead I dragged her to Sainsburys. When she got back, she was exhausted and with it came lots of tears because she was upset with herself that she couldn’t do a simple trip to Sainsburys. I explained that it wasn’t just a little trip to Sainsburys and that it was on top of a trip to Poland, an awful flight, only 1.5 hours sleep, a gruelling 4 hour visit from someone asking loads of question etc etc….I was pretty sure the tears were tiredness related and the next day kp was feeling much better, which is remarkable because she only had ANOTHER 1.5 hours of sleep, but it must have been the good sleep.

Thursday and Michelle (temporary support worker) came shortly followed by Laura (one of the new support workers). They hadn’t met before, and the purpose of them both coming was for Michelle to do a handover to Laura about all the procedures, but also to have a chat with Laura about Karen and in what ways she needs support. They had a brief chat before it was time to take Karen to the physio session at Seaham, which they did. When they returned, we all sat round and discussed Karen’s situation and how she needs help. Karen had an appointment with Dr Parry (psychiatrist) in the afternoon, so when I took her to that, the idea was Michelle and Laura would go off somewhere for a cup of tea and to further discuss Karen.

Now, before they went, Michelle explained to Laura the importance of confidentiality and that when they were out in public and were discussing Karen, they shouldn’t refer to Karen as Karen, because this could compromise their client’s confidentiality. It all seemed very sensible and above board. What was funny, is that they had to decide a name to refer to Karen as. Well, of couse, Karen was keen to get her 10p in.

Karen:- How about Chantelle ?  Or Kylie ?

And lots of funny conversation ensued from this.

The Dr Parry visit went fine. The main focus was on Karen’s mood and her sleep. Her mood is on top form at the moment. A good example was the flight home would normally have floored Karen for a week (when she was at a low ebb), but she bounced back within a day !! But, the sleep remains an issue. The Dolsolupin wasn’t having any effect, so it was decided to drop this and instead she is going to try Amitryptiline. She has been on that for a few days and it’s hard to say if it’s working after just a few days. She has had some bad nights and one good night which I’ll come to.

Friday and Laura (new support worker) didn’t think she was starting work until monday, so she had plans for the morning, so I took kp to her planned visit with Angela, which was good in a way, ‘cos it was nice for me to see Angela (fellow car crash victim). She was in good form and Karen later told me that she couldn’t half see a positive improvement in Karen, which was great to hear !!

Laura picked Karen up and brought her home and then we discussed Karen at more length and I went through all of Karen’s issues and how they affect Karen and things to look out for. It’s something I wished I would have done with the previous support worker.

After Laura left, kp and I discussed Karen’s medication and we decided now was the right time to take the next move on reducing Karen’s medications. So, and Karen is over the moon at this, she is down from 500mg Fentanyl patches to 475mg and the Tamazepam is down from 5mg a night to 2.5mg which is nowt !! Well done kp !!!

The following day (Saturday), Karen had a long overdue hair appointment and Laura came to take her to that, which released me to do dp stuff, which made a lovely change.

That’s it for the week. Things are looking up. With Laura starting, kp seems a lot more focussed about things she wants to get done which is great all round.

Things are on the up and up !! For the first time in a long time, Karen had a good sleep last night ; from 11.30pm until 9am with no getting up at all. She woke up about 4am, but then went straight back to sleep. Now, we aren’t sure why the sleep is better last night. It could be that we tried sleeping in separate rooms, or it could be the new amitryptiline drug ? But, whatever, it’s a good thing and I am sure we’ll try separate rooms again to see if that helps. I think it could be a factor, because I think Karen gets subconsciously stressed as if she wakes up in the night, she knows she has to physically get up and go to another room so she doesn’t wake me. There’s probably some psychology in this somewhere, anyway, let’s see what tonight brings.

While I remember, Karen is even considering stopping the fags. I stopped again a few weeks ago and am confident that I will never smoke again thanks to an electronic cigaretter that I have now bought. I bought one for Karen too. It’s called a Janty ECigarette. Basically, it doesn’t burn anything so there are no carcinogens, so it’s not bad for you, but if you want that puffing sensation, then you can have a puff. Basically you load it with a cartridge (flavour of your choice) and choose a nicotine level from high to none. And then you smoke it, and then you can blow out smoke (actually it’s vapour/steam) and it feels like you’re smoking. I am really very pleased with it. Karen likes it too, but she wants to set a formal “give-up” date to aim for, yet to be set.

So, the Pollards are on the up and up. Well done kp !!!

Life is good again.

Day 1302 – 1308. Monday 10th November to Sunday 16th November 2008

Well, a big week of change, taking Karen from a big high, to a real low by the end of the week :-(

In a nutshell, one of the new support workers (Laura) started this week. We had discussed this week previously, and knew it was going to be quite a culture shock, going from a week, where Karen’s week was focussed on all of the appointments she attends (2 physio, 1 OT, 1 psychological & 1 pscychiatric in a busy week), to a week where she still had all these appointments, but now had someone motivating her to do much more.

I think it’s safe to say now that we have got the balance wrong and gone too fast at the “new regime”, but I’ll come to this later.

The last part of Sunday saw Karen develop pain between her knee and groin. The pain was so bad, it limited her walking at her normal pace, but what was extra strange, is that the pain seemed to move around as the day continued. We were actually relieved when we found the pain was moving around, because at the start of the pain, we were thinking it could be a problem with the hip, but when we found out the pain was moving around, we started to think it was a muscular thing, which means it will probably self heal.

So, Monday came and the pain was still there, but not as acute. Karen was keen to make the most of Laura and after a cup of tea with her, they both went off to the local gym where Karen did 18 minutes on the treadmill in the hope of walking the pain away. I think it helped, well, it certainly didn’t make it any worse. From the treadmill, she went and did 12 minutes on the bike.

Back to the house for lunch, then the girls spent some time planning their week. It definitely helps Karen (as it does all of us) to have goals. It was a lovely day, so Karen decided to take the dogs out (with Laura). They had a nice walk, shorter than the usual weekend walk. Following that, the girls went to Sainsburys for the weekly shop.

So, the first day was over, and already Karen was feeling tired, physically and mentally. I don’t think it helped that her sleeping was still all over and she hadn’t had much sleep. Monday night was the same.

Tuesday, and she needed to slacken the pace off a bit, so rather than go out and do the gym or take the dogs, she chatted with Laura. Laura is very intelligent and is just right for Karen with her wit and sense of humour. Karen chose well ! After their chat, Laura took kp off to her physio session in Seaham. Good progress was made there. Laura had Karen try and map read on the way home to try and stimulate her. Karen has real issues reading maps, especially ‘cos of the spatial awareness issues, but according to Laura, did really well. Well done kp.

In the afternoon, I was busy doing my own thing and it went very quiet in the dining room, so I went through to investigate, to find them both playing a game of “pickup sticks”. It’s one of the games the OT got for Karen and the idea is that Karen (and Laura) can only use the left hand, to try and make Karen’s hand better at fine motor skills. Well, I stayed to watch for a few minutes and was amazed to see how well Karen was doing with her left finger. Karen has amazing fingernails now (all her own), and she did a cracking job at finely picking sticks out. The thing I think let her down wasn’t her left hand, but her vision. She’s not very good at measuring distance (only having usable site in 1 eye). So, her motor skills were great, but she was trying to pick the stick out 1cm behind where it was. But, good job kp. Not sure I have mentioned this one before, but it’s always funny watching Karen try to light a fag. She will try and light it 2cm from the end of the fag, and I have to keep saying “closer, closer, closer…”

Same kind of thing.

Dr Parry (psychiatrist) rang in the afternoon to discuss how she was getting on with the Amitrypteline and to see if it was aiding her sleep. It wasn’t, so the dose was doubled.

To top off all of this day, Karen and Laura prepared the evening meal. Well, since the accident, I have been preparing the evening meals, so it was a lovely treat for me to have all the veg prepared for our Roast Chicken dinner – Thanks love.

Another busy day in the end, and things were starting to take the toll on Karen.

Wednesdays are Karen’s sacred day. A day with no rehab and no activities linked to the accident. Syd – take note !! Syd, the Case Manager, came for a planned visit to see how Karen was getting on. It’s always good to see Syd, although I think it got in the way of her plans for the day. In the morning, we had looked at the possibility of her going to Whickham Villa for a massage, but Syd’s arrival time, kind of, ruled out any trip like this. Instead, the girls went to the Arnison Centre to pick up some sheets (another of Karen’s projects).

Whilst there, Karen met a colleague that she used to work with (Diane) when she was the manager of Durham Cathedral’s restaurant and they had a good natter and agreed to meet up in the future.

Another busy day for kp. Lots of physical activity and more importantly, lots of mental activity were starting to build up and take their toll on Karen.

Thursday, Laura came early to take Karen to Seaham for her physio session with Joanne. Joanne focussed on Karen’s left arm, which had stiffened up a bit, given that Joanne had been away and Karen had missed out on her lovely massages. By the end of the session (which kp found a bit painful), it had loosened up somewhat which is great.

By this stage, the mood in the house was well on a downward trend. Karen was going quieter and quieter on the evenings. I recall on Wednesday, when Syd visited, he asked me how I felt Karen was. I had joked…..

David :- She’s doing great. If anything Syd, I think her mood is too good. She doesn’t stop talking ! Can we bring her down a little ?

But, thursday night, we had tears.

Karen :- I don’t feel my life’s my own anymore.

Of course it is, but lack of sleep, and an increased activity level by two or threefold have been too much for her.

Thursday night, with her low mood, I thought we were in for a hellish night, but hold the press, she had a good night’s sleep !!!! 10 hours solid !

Friday and Adele came to clean the house, and then Debs and Lydia (ex-work colleagues and pretend friends) visited with goodies and lots of banter and high-pitched laughing !! And she put on a brave face, but she was gagging to be on her own and to have a chat with me. She enjoyed Lydia and Debs’ company a lot and it was a great distraction, but as soon as they left, there were more tears.

Laura was due at about 1.45pm and no sooner than she arrived, I asked if she would leave it for the afternoon and come back on monday. Karen wanted to be on her own (with me). More tears and a very upsetting afternoon. In fact, things got so bad, and I was so concerned for Karen’s state of mind, that I called the psychiatrist. I felt, and Karen was with me, that she was having irrational thoughts and she described herself as being paranoid. Karen likes to have goals and be busy, but I think her mind and body can’t keep up the pace that she wants them to. So, we put these scary thoughts down to the double dosage of Ametrypteline as the likely candidate and the phonecall with the psychiatrist confirmed that “this drug” (much easier to type than Ametrypteline, bugger I have typed it anyway now) can cause paranoia. It’s listed as one of the side effects, although uncommon. I was hoping he would say, ditch the double dose, but instead he said to carry on, given it’s had the desired effect (a good night’s sleep), and discuss the situation more to calm Karen’s paranoia.

Friday night saw Karen have 12 hours sleep. Another success !!! But her mood remained low and the atmosphere around the house was horrid. Saturday night, the highight of the week normally, wasn’t the usual highlight and today has been a pretty down day. We had some plans for the day, but apart from the dog walk, they have mostly been scuppered with Karen wanting to just get out of it (sleep) and this when she had yet another good night’s sleep !!!

I am hoping that she will wake up, feeling a bit better. Because, the one thing we must do, is plan this next week better.

She needs to feel in control (paramount), and to pace herself better. And, with a bit of luck, her mood will return to the 100% it was just a few days ago !

Day 1309 to 1315. Monday 17th November to Sunday 23rd November 2008

After a bad night’s sleep on Sunday night, I had the opportunity to have a chat with Laura (on her own) when she arrived before Karen woke up, regarding Karen’s current state of mind. I reiterated what I had put in the blog, about it being so important that Karen set the pace and that she feels “in charge”. Laura was on board and I think that set the week in the right direction.

So, when Karen got up a little later, we were using phrases like….”What do YOU want to do today ?”. There was no pressure for Karen to do anything.

She responded well to this tack, CHOOSING to go food shopping at Sainsburys, choosing to have a coffee after the shop and then choosing an afternoon of physio exercises. Already her mood was on the “up” which was a big relief to me, ‘cos if Karen is down for any extended period of time, that brings me down, and I risk getting to the point where I can’t help her as much. So, lots of relief from me, as day by day as the week progressed she took control and her spirit lifted. Life was good again.

Monday night and Karen didn’t get to bed until 9am !!! So, she only had a couple of hours sleep before Laura took her to her physio session with Steve. Steve explained to Laura all the exercises Karen would benefit from doing at home. After the physio, the girls went for a coffee at a local cafe and then returned home, where they called it a day. Karen needed sleep.

Wednesday – Karen had planned to make the most of her “no rehab” day and go and see Marie in Middlesbrough. It was a bit of a weird start to the day, with me showing Laura how to do Karen’s hair. I wanted to put my effeminate voice on and do the “So, you doing anything at the weekend ?” spiel that I tend to go into (in hairdresser mode), to make Karen laugh, but a lack of sleep meant she just wanted her hair doing. With that done, Laura took her over to the ‘boro. Karen was gagging to see Strike (the lurcher) and Tye on their walk, so she went with Marie to a local field, where Karen took great delight in seeing Tye try and keep up with Strike’s greyhound pace. Apparently, he wasn’t even close to catching him, but Karen enjoyed watching the chase.

This gave me some time to do some consultancy work, which made a nice change.

Before Karen came home, I was waiting for her at the bedroom window, and when I looked back into the hall, this is the sight I was greeted by…..

The dogs know they are not allowed past the metal divide into the changing room (where I took the photo from). :-)

Thursday, and no Laura (Support Worker). She was on a day’s first aid training, so I took Karen to her physio session at Seaham. The focus of the Thursday’s session is for Joanne (the physio) to try and get Karen’s left shoulder much looser. She had retained 8 inches of movement in her left arm (going back) since the last session, but by the end of the session, she could get 12 again, which was a big improvement. The idea (hopefully) eventually is that Karen will be able to get her left arm to the position that is needed for her to do her own bra. So, we’re getting there.

After the physio, I was gagging for a bag of chips. Seaham is by the sea and the waves were crashing and it just felt like a day to sit in the warmth of the car, with the cold howling winds outside eating a bag of chips. I managed to find a chippy and parked up, and just as I was about to get out of the car, a woman driving a car turned right in front of our car and misjudged the gap, hitting our car. The side of her car hit our front bumper. First priority was Karen, of course and I calmed her down and there were no tears, which was great !!! Just some scratches on the bumper (on our car), which i wasn’t worried about, that’s what bumpers are for, not sure about the woman’s car, but as it was her fault, I let her go on her merry way. Kp was ok, that was the main thing.

We got our bags of chips and sat at the seafront (in the car) and it was great.

Jane Burns was due to come in the afternoon for a visit, but had to cancel at the last minute, which allowed Karen to relax and have some quiet time with me, which we enjoyed.

So, as each day of the week passed, Karen’s mood got higher and higher.

On Friday, Karen wanted to go to the local gym, so Laura took her. Because of lack of sleep, Karen found it hard to get a walking rhythm, but they managed to get some stretching exercises done back at the house. Laura had to go for “supervision” in the afternoon, that’s where she meets her boss and chats about how things are going I think. Karen had booked to get her nails done at Sacriston, so on the way to supervision, Laura dropped her off and then I picked her up an hour later with lovely nails to show.

So, all was going swimmingly with Karen’s moood on the up, and then came Saturday. Karen had planned to go see sister Michelle in Middlesbrough. All was going to plan, Laura arrived as Karen was having her hair done by me. She was all dressed and ready to go, when she started crying.

Karen :- “I don’t think I want to go”

We couldn’t work out what was wrong. She just didn’t feel like going. I think, in my head, I have put it down to a tiring week, with something on every day, and she really wanted the weekend to chill and not go anywhere. I know Karen said that she didn’t want to be away from home, when she felt so teary.

I think the week had took its toll. Still, on the positive side, the previous week, she didn’t even get as far as the weekend before feeling down, so at least she made it through the week, and most people use their weekends to recoup, so well done kp.

So, Saturday was spent around the house with her homey (me). We enjoyed our usual Saturday night’s frivolities.

Today, we are planning a dog walk and some more chillin’ in da hood.

I seem to end lots of weekly blog posts with ….

So, hopefully next week, things will improve.

It seems this week is no different.

An audio treat

Last night, in the middle of her sleep, Karen sat upright on the side of the bed and this is what I heard…..

Click Here

She then went back to sleep.

Day 1316 to 1322. Monday 24th November to Sunday 30th November 2008

Another depressing week overall.

Sunday night and an awful night’s sleep for kp.

Monday saw Karen and I go to the Dentist for some fillings in the morning. Lots of fun !

Laura arrived shortly after we got back, in time for Rachel (the OT) attending. Rachel went through some activities with Karen & Laura, and then in the afternoon, the girls (kp/Laura) planned the rest of the week. Karen was already not feeling too positive.

Monday night was a great night’s sleep for Karen – yay. But, unfortunately, it didn’t leave Karen feeling positive. Quite the opposite, she was rock bottom. There were lots of tears before Laura arrived and things were so bad, I decided to make an emergency appointment with Jane, the psychologist.

Karen was adamant she wanted to push ahead with “keeping busy”, so with Laura, she did her exercises and tried to plan some things to do on Wednesday (Karen’s no rehab day). Karen’s mood was so low, it was hard to come up with anything Karen wanted to do, but everyone (kp included) felt it was best to have something planned. So, they planned a trip to have a meal in a restaurant and a trip to Whickham Villa.

That afternoon, distraction came in the form of a physio session with Steve (at Seaham). There were some tears at physio, but once kp got going with the exercises her spirits lifted a little. After the physio, the girls ate in a local cafe.

Wednesday, we were hoping to see Karen’s mood lift, but it remained low. The plan to go and “fine dine” was scrapped, and instead the girls went to Costco to return some Galaxy Caramel bars (that had no caramel in) and then visit Whickham Villa. kp was desperate for a massage as she had lots of aches. I think she enjoyed this. Karen also had planned to take the dogs out when they got back from Whickham Villa, and despite it being wet, cold and dark, they still walked the dogs. This was a step too far in indsight, and Karen’s body was a wreck on her return in the pitch black.

Thursday and another trip to the physio, where Steve concentrated on Karen’s left shoulder and arm. It needed loosening. Thursday afternoon, we fortunately had a pre-arranged appointment with the psychiatrist which was a godsend and although at first it felt like we weren’t getting anywhere, by the end of the session, we both felt that certain things had fallen mentally into place. The decision was made to keep the medication the same.

In a nutshell, the revelation was that there is a balance between physical rehab and mental rehab and if we get the balance wrong in either direction, it affects Karen’s mental state.

She has to get the balance just right.

I tried to do a diagram to show this to Karen. Here’s what I did, but she couldn’t understand it…..

I was trying to show that the more physical rehab, the lower the mental state, the more mental rehab, the lower the mental state.


Anyway, she understands there is a balance to be struck.

So, we went away from the psychiatrist session understanding the situation a bit more, and with kp feeling slightly more positive.

The following day, we attended the psychologist (Jane) and had a good session with her, again, it all left kp heading in the right direction mentally.

We were due to have Ethan stay over (11 year old great nephew), but she wasn’t quite up to that, so we had to cancel Ethan :-(

Some good news, Karen is now off Tamazepam – a MAJOR achievement that can NOT be underestimated as they are very addictive.

And she has further reduced her morphine patches (Fentanyl) by another 25, so she’s down to 450mg.

The weekend has been “ok”. kp’s mood is SO much better than earlier in the week. Sunday (today) has been better than yesterday, so it’s all heading in the right direction :-)

Fingers crossed, we have a better week than last week. When Karen’s down, it brings me down, so I am gagging for a better week.

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