Archive for December, 2008

Some more sleep talking

ok, neither of us are sure what she’s on about, but I’ll put our best guess about what she’s said….

Here’s the first one…..(click on the text to launch the audio)

I wanted the big rottweiler one, but I couldn’t find it…….You know the big tub of it….

And the second…..

Is it………erm………arm…thingy in the middle…erm….what’s it called… know…..unintelligible….we don’t like you……you know………..yawn…..

And the best ’till last…..

She goes take it……and she’ll be really trying to………do things right for you…….it’s like…….some good times with you……do you know what I mean………….big pause……you know……….they’ll need me before I need them I think…… one way……………Alexandra……….who’s that errrrrrrr ?………….hu hu………poor gingers……….gingers cat…….

Day 1323 to 1329. Monday 1st December to Sunday 7th December 2008

Well, generally things are better in the Pollard household.

kp’s pain is in control
Her meds are down
And her sleep is better, but we’re not there yet.

Sleepwise, she is now on amytrypteline and it is definitely helping her sleep. She takes it about 3-4 hours before bedtime, and she is nodding off when she should be. One of the more alarming things (for me), is that it blurs the line between awake and asleep. So, whereas, most people are either awake, or asleep, Karen experiences an hour or so before bedtime when she is in a waking sleep. Delirious is too strong a word, but she talks sh+te, moreso than usual ;-)

A good example is some of the audio recordings I put on the blog. But, she’ll do this while awake.

The worrying thing for me, is that if she gets up in the night, I am not confident that she will be safe. One morning this week, she described how she had gone for a fag and on the way back into the house, was bumping off the walls & pillars outside. I mentioned this to Dr Parry (psychiatrist) and he wasn’t at all surprised and commented that this was one of the side effects.

But, Karen would rather be getting the sleep she is getting and pay this small price. And she HAS been getting some good sleeps. At least 2 full night’s sleeps this week, and the other nights have been generally good, so a BIG plus here !

So, this week…..

Monday and Syd (Case Manager) came over. He had a chat with Laura and Karen about kp’s progress. He was very pleased.

Rachel came immediately Syd had left to do her OT stuff. We have an MDT (multi-disciplinary team) meeting in a week or so, that’s where all the specialists convene at the house with all the solicitors (both sides), so Rachel told Karen she would be doing another assessment with her next week so she can measure the improvement. I think she has to do a Fruit Salad and bake something and then Rachel gauges how well she does it, how safe etc.. etc….

Once Rachel had gone, Laura helped Karen go through all her exercises and her stretches, and that went very well.

Tuesday was Karen at her best !!! :-)

Here’s what Laura wrote about the day in her report, it perfectly sums up how well Karen did ………..

“Karen was in a very good mood today. When I arrived at 10am, she was already dressed and ready to get on with the day. We set off to do some shopping at Sainsburys. Karen took complete control and practically did all the shopping by herself. She was using her left arm a lot and mastered most things very well. We grabbed some lunch after the shopping. Something I noted from this trip was that Karen was a lot more interactive with staff and the general public. She had a full conversation with the checkout lady while packing the bags.

After lunch we went straight to physio and discussed what Karen had to do for her Himat assessment. When back at home, Karen decided that she wanted to make one of our recipes (homemade French Onion Soup). That took us upto teatime.”

Well done kp !!

The soup was to die for and poor kp got none of it ! :-) Adele and I ate the lot, the next day.

A great sleep followed tuesday night.

Wednesday is kp’s day off from rehab, but she was still cooking on gas.

She wanted to do some Xmas shopping around Durham. She’s not a big fan of shopping, but it needed to be done and it was good therapy. Laura noted that she lost her bearings a few times, and couldn’t work out which direction she had to go.

Thursday and the weather was really bad. Even, the dog walker (who lives local) couldn’t get to the house. She was due to go to physio, but we cancelled that as the roads were too bad. Here’s a couple of photos I took while dog walking…..

The roads…..

The House…..

Laura also couldn’t get to the house, things were that bad.

Friday and with the roads much improved, Karen went for one final shop in Durham. On her return, it was exercises and a trip to the gym, but she was flagging and her legs tired, but she still managed 1 mile in 15.5 minutes. Well done love.

Saturday and Sunday have been quiet, but we’ve enjoyed it. We went to walk the dogs on Saturday, and drove the car to the usual spot which has a nice flat walk, but it was sheer ice, so we had to just return to the house.

Sunday, and it was still treacherous and too icy for Karen, so I took the dogs on my lonesome.

All in all, a cracking week, and one kp should be proud of. Let’s hope, next week is the same. Lots of assessments, physio and OT and a trip to the psychologist.

Keep it up love.

Day 1330 – 1336. Monday 8th December to Sunday 14th December 2008

Well, a fantastic week with a bit of a sour taste of an ending, but nothing that kp can’t swallow and move on from.

Monday saw Karen have 2 assessments in readiness for the MDT meeting next week. The first one was with Rachel (OT). Karen had to cook some muffins and then make some fruit salad. She did very well, but had to call me in when she couldn’t work out how to open the tin of blueberries.

The other assessment was physio-based. Things like timed walks (forwards and backwards), hopping, skipping, bounding and running ! Karen did really well and I think we will see a big improvement (when the results come in) since her last assessment.

So, if that wasn’t enough, when kp and Laura got back from physio, she was still keen to do all her exercises.

Here is Laura bending Karen’s left arm back to try and get more movement…..

Well done kp and to top it all, she was mentally a 9 out of 10 !!! :-)

Tuesday was another great day with Karen on top form. She was keen to accomplish things and she certainly did that. She did the full weekly shop at Sainsburys, and was left on her own for a while and she REALLY enjoyed the independance !!! She also went to other shops at the Arnison Centre and then made me a Steak Pie on her return, which we ate later in the week. Here is the pie…..

Interesting how she thinks the air slots are in the middle. Left inattention showing itself.

Wednesday, Laura took her to the hairdressers and then Jane came round in the afternoon and it was great so see Karen in stitches at Jane’s usual antics. Cooking on Gas !

Thursday was physio with Joanne – a nice massage to try and loosen her left shoulder which she enjoyed then lunch in a local cafe (Seaham) with Laura. In the afternoon, Karen had an appointment with Dr Parry which I took her to or tried to. But, unfortunately, the roads were quite icy and by the time we got to Tow Law (up on the hills), kp was scared stiff, so I aborted and we returned home. We rang him instead and he was really pleased at Karen’s progress, both with sleep and mentally. Last time, we had spoke to him, she was thinking crazy thoughts, so it was SUCH a big improvement.

Friday was another great day, but this is what turned things for the worse. Karen went to the gym with Laura and was on such a high (physically and mentally) that she wanted to beat all her records, which she did. She smashed them !!!

Unfortunately, over the weekend she has paid the price for it. She missed out on dog walks last week because of the ice and was gagging to come with me this weekend, but Saturday and Sunday, she could hardly walk and with the physical struggle of getting around the house, her mood definitely took a turn for the worse. This morning, she was very quiet, and I was a bit concerned.

But, as the day has progressed, it has picked up a little. I _DO_ hope it gets back to the same as last week.

So, generally (if we pretend this weekend didn’t happen), we are really enjoying life again !!! Karen is on fire ! Sleep is MUCH better. Whereas 7 out of 7 nights would be bad, we are probably talking only TWO nights are bad now, which is music to our ears. Pain is in control (excepting the overdoing it that has affected the weekend). Mood – Top Banana !

Couple of little funnies to end on !

Karen and I were watching a film that Laura had lent us. LESS THAN 2 minutes into the film, Karen was snoring. Whenever I wake her up, she always makes out she is awake, so I paused the film ………. Nothing, snoring continued…..

So, then I did my pretend laughing thing, where I pretend something funny has been on the film and it worked, she woke up……

dp:- That was funny, love, wasn’t it.
kp:- Yes, very good.


Then, another day, we were watching TV, and she had fallen asleep. But, I didn’t wake her this time, she woke herself up with her own talking……It won’t be funny, when I recall this, but we were laughing about it….

kp asleep and then…..

kp:- We’ll have to go down to Sainsburys…..(kp wakes up)….Eeeeee, was that me (talking) ?

Funny at the time….

Final funny…..

Here is a little Xmas-themed video featuring, Karen, Jane (Burns), Ronnie (VD), Loopy Lydia and Debs (ex work colleagues)

Good Tip – After clicking on “Karen and the girls” below, allow 30 seconds for it to load before you click on Play.

Karen and the girls

Day 1337 to 1343. Monday 15th December to Sunday 21st December 2008

Well, good week overall, with a big dip in the middle.

Monday was a full day of shopping (for Karen and Laura). First, Costco for some pig’s ears, then for the weekly Sainsburys shop. Karen was “done in” by the end of it, but still in high enough spirits to do exercises on her return.

Tuesday is where things started to go awry. Karen had a double physio session booked at Seaham. It needed to be a double, ‘cos the usual thursday physio couldn’t take place ‘cos of the Multi-Disciplinary Team (MDT) meeting. The idea was that she would have an hour with Steve doing normal physio, before having an hour with Joanne (doing left shoulder loosening and left arm stuff).

I think Steve’s bit went fine, and Joanne set out about doing the usual left-arm stuff, but for some reason, Karen was ultra-hyper-sensitive on her left side. She later told me she was close to tears, but managed to hide this by joking with Joanne….

kp:- “You’re a fraction away from getting a punch”

Whatever it was, and it wasn’t Joanne’s fault, it was too much for Karen’s left side and she couldn’t stand any touching of her left side at all afterwards. This weird sensation lasted until Saturday, and although it’s still not 100%, it’s much improved. But……….at the time, it _REALLY_ brought Karen down; she described it as taking her back in time to nearer the accident.

This bad sensation made her mood tumble and I recall a particularly frosty wednesday morning. Laura had come and together they were going to wrap all the Xmas presents. But, noone could say the right thing, and the atmosphere around the house was awful. Of course, later, Karen felt dead guilty for all of this and texted Laura & Adele to apologise for the atmosphere.

So, Wednesday’s was wrapping presents.

Thursday was the MDT. This was the 6-monthly legal MDT, where our solicitor (and her assistant), the other side’s solicitor (Nicola), and all the professionals involved in Karen’s rehab came to discuss how she was doing.

It went great and it was really positive, and this is all down to Karen and her rehab team. Karen has given her programme 110% and her team have done the same and this was evidenced by the reports they had done, all of which, showed improvement across all areas. Well done everyone and of course kp !!!!!!!!!!!

Normally, Karen bakes some biscuits for the crew, but a bad night (a less common occurrence now) meant that I was on biscuit duty. Karen had bought cakes at Costco, so she had done her part !

So, really positive MDT, and I think this helped set kp in the right direction mood-wise. Certainly it was better than the previous day !

Friday was another good day. Laura (kp’s current support worker) is leaving us shortly. We always knew we didn’t have her for long, but the end came a bit sooner than we thought and had hoped. Luckily, when Karen and Patti interviewed for the last support workers, there were quite a few who would have been good candidates. So, Friday, saw Karen and Patti interview Natalie and it went really well, and she starts in early Jan 09. Karen is very pleased that she is taking the job as she thinks they will get on well and continue the good work Laura has done.

So, that brings us to the weekend. Karen has been gagging to walk the dogs at the weekend. But, bad weather and bad pain have put a stop to this for the last couple of weekends. Not this weekend however, kp managed to come on both dog walks. Her only criticism was that because we were talking so much on the walk, she hadn’t taken in the dogs and her enjoying it.

So, good week overall.

Pain – Generally little, but spiked mid-week with her left-side.
Sleep – Some good sleeps, with bad sleeps being the rarity at the moment :-)
Meds – The same, but coming down shortly :-)

Xmas – next week. We are going to the Middlesboro family on Xmas Eve, but fog is predicted and we are hoping that this won’t be the case when it comes to the day, as kp hates driving in fog. And Xmas Day, to my parents for lunch. :-)

Looking forward to Xmas.

I’ll end with some funnies. These were all recorded while Karen was asleep…..

Well, this first clip isn’t funny, but interesting…..

This is Karen asleep, but in pain.


This next one is great to end on…..It always make me laugh when I hear it…..


Day 1344 to 1350. Monday 22nd to Sunday 28th December 2008

Karen is up in the 8′s and 9′s mood-wise, which means life is good in the Pollard household.

Monday saw Karen and I travel to the RVI at Newcastle to see Professor Bates, a neurology specialist for the other side. He was canny and did various tests on Karen and asked her loads of questions, some of which she referred to me for the detail needed. He asked Karen what her symptoms were, and no sooner had he got one symptom than he moved on to other questions, bit weird, but hey ho.

On the way back, we decided to call at the Chippy and it’s just as well, because the last mile, it was clear there was a power-cut affecting our village and the adjacent one. Quite a romantic chippy meal under the candle-light. Power resumed a few hours later.

The following day was Laura’s last day as Karen’s support worker. Laura took Karen to her physio session at Seaham and dropped me off in Durham for the MTC Xmas Doo, which I was invited to. We went to a Japanese Restaurant and it was a lovely experience and the food delicious. Here’s a piccy…..

Lovely time had by all, and of course, I came home a bit worse for wear, but still able to do full sentences as long as the words didn’t have more than 3 syllables.

It was lovely to see the ‘ole MTC crew.

Wednesday (Xmas Eve), kp and I went over to Karen’s family for the annual present exchange and catch up with the family.

It was great to see them all.

Thursday (Xmas Day), we went to my parents for Xmas Lunch. We nearly didn’t make it. It was really foggy going over the hills and Karen was very anxious. We did have a conversation about turning back.

kp:- You said, if I ever was scared that we’d turn back.
dp:- I know, but I think it’s just a small patch and we’ll be through it in a few minutes.

It lasted about 10 minutes thankfully and then it was completely clear.

Phew ! All i could think about was the usual feast Mum puts on and the roast potatoes calling me………..It was worth the trip, the meal was heaven sent, and we both enjoyed a lovely afternoon, before returning with kp asleep most of the way.

Couple of photos courtesy of Susa, Thanks Susa !!

Jamie and Sophie after Present Opening.

Guy, dp, Sophie and kp

Boxing Day and no sooner had Karen woken up that she asked if I would take her shopping to the Metro Centre. I was really pleased, because it was evidence of how positive she is at the moment, but at the same time, I Detest shopping with a capital D.

dp:- Yes, no problems at all love.

She was keen to hit M&S for their Boxing Day Sale.

Unfortunately, and Karen was really annoyed about this, M&S’s sale didn’t start until the Saturday. So, it was pretty much the only shop SHUT at the Metro Centre. Very strange !

So, it was a bit of a wasted trip really and not pleasurable at all. She did manage to get some new pyjamas. She changes her pyjamas about twice a night, so she gets through loads !!!  Night sweats because of some tablets she takes.

Yesterday (Saturday), we chilled around the home, watching a film and snoozing and today, we have been jobbing on, getting loads done.

So, all good this week. Let’s hope it stays like that.

We need to get some holidays booked, because kp needs something to aim for, and it would be nice to get a bit of Winter Sun somewhere, so we’ll do that over the next week, plus we have a trip to Southampton to get planned to see Tracey & co.

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