Archive for February, 2009

Day 1381 to 1387. Monday 26th January to Sunday 1st February 2009

Monday was OT with Rachel with Natalie in attendance. Karen can’t remember what she did :-( Natalie did a half day, because of other commitments, so I took Karen to the gym in the afternoon. She wanted to beat her previous records, which she duly did.

The next day she was in pain :-(

Tuesday, and Natalie took kp to physio at Seaham. 1 hour of left-shoulder exercising, and an hour of learning new equipment, with Natalie being trained in how to supervise kp on the equipment.

Wednesday (day off), and kp was gagging to get her hair and nails done, and today was the day. It was really short when she came back, but much more manageable. In the afternoon, the girls took the dogs for a short walk. :-)

Thursday, we were due to ring Dr Parry if kp’s mood hadn’t lifted, but it is evident now, that the dip last week was just that. A very short dip. She has been back to “cooking on gas” since the weekend – Which is great ! :-)

Natalie and kp went shopping at Sainsburys and Karen hated it. I don’t think she had had much sleep that night, iirc, and she was knackered, and she forgot her fags, which didn’t help matters. Jane Burns came over on the night time, for a conference call/clinic with vdfromboro on the night time. It was a jam-packed night. I threw the towerl in at about 10pm, and the girls were up until 2.30am. Jane stopped the night.

Friday was a big day. Syd came and took us to the solicitors in Newcastle for a big meeting. It lasted all day, and was quite upsetting for Karen who had to leave the meeting for a couple of hours. I can’t go into any more detail at the moment, but suffice to say, it was an important one, but the case continues…. and will be continuing for quite some time.

Saturday was jam-packed. Ethan was coming for the night. We always find it exhausting. He talks incessantly, but we love him to bits ! Here he is at his dad’s, with the new dog that Chris (dad) and Laura have…..

Lots of fun…..

We took him to see Michelle and Freddy, and I played footy with him while they caught up. Once home, one-by-one, we all had baths and got into PJs and had a pizza tea with an Indiana Jones film. Woz a good night :-)

In the morning, Karen had been up all night, so Ethan and I took the dogs for a walk. Here he is showing how strong he is :-)

He’s a pleasure to have and is very caring towards Karen, helping her do absolutely everything ! Well done Ethan !

So, it’s quiet in the house again – YAY !

Karen is emailing Syd (she does a weekly email), and I am doing the blog, and then we will be having a relaxing afternoon.

Oh, forgot to mention, that we have booked a holiday at the end of the month. Egypt. 11 days in Na’ama Bay. I am going to do some diving, and HOLD THE PRESS, so will Karen (if all goes well). We have booked an appointment with a doctor specialist in diving who works at the Hyperbaric Chamber. He will assess her and see if she can go diving. The idea being that 1 or 2 instructors would be dedicated to Karen to ensure she is ok and she will do a bit of Open Sea diving. We are not getting our hopes too high, but it would make the holiday for both of us, if she can go ! It’s something she really wants to do, and I am “praying” that it comes off ‘cos it would be awesome !

Watch this space !

Day 1388 to 1394. Monday 2nd February to Sunday 8th February 2009

Karen remains in top form, really enjoying life, and for what feels like a solid few months now. She is doing so well. I am really proud of her, and chuffed to bits that she is in such a good place. :-)

Monday and the OT was due to come but the bad weather meant the OT felt it better to reschedule until later in the week. Natalie (Support Worker) still made it though, well done Nat. They made a loaf of bread today. The following day, Adele and I ate half of it. It was great and then we all had sandwiches out of it the next day. :-)

Karen’s challenge (Set by the OT last week), was to set herself one thing that she must do this week and to ensure she completes that task. Well, Karen, in true form, set herself about 7 things that she must do, and did all the ones the weather would allow. Well done kp.

Tuesday and Nat was going to the Headway meeting in Gateshead on the evening, and unbeknownst to me, she invited Karen to come along. Headway is a support group for people who have had brain injuries. I was in the study, when Karen came in at about 5pm and said she was going out and wouldn’t be back until about 8.30pm. Well, I was gobsmacked. My mouth visibly dropped in amazement. Unfortunately, my amazement, gave Karen second thoughts and after ruminating over it for a while she decided not to go. I was kicking myself. I should have kept my feelings to myself. In a way, the adult-adult relationship we had pre-accident has been replaced with a parent-child relationship with me being very protective over her, and I don’t think I was too keen her going out on her own, and it came across. I need to learn to let go a bit.

Things are going so well at the moment, I slipped into an email to my friend Nigel, that I am starting to think I can go back to work now, things are THAT good. For that to happen, I need to be sure Karen can keep this mood up consistently, as I don’t want to be a burden to a future employer by taking ad hoc time off to pick kp up, or if I work for myself, to my customers. It’s a tricky one, but I am sure I’ll know when the time’s right. In the email to Nigel I’d asked how his mam is, ‘cos she isn’t well at the moment, and I was reading out the reply to Karen who is always asking after her. But Nige happened to say something like ….

Nige :- “Great that you’re starting to look towards work again…”

I think Karen was quite surprised when she realised that I could be returning to work, so we have both shocked each other this week.

Karen’s week has been a real busy one, with her doing all her home exercises and physio, so when Wednesday came (her day off), she was gagging for it. The plan for Wednesday was to do a bit of shopping, and then she was going to see Angela (fellow car crashee) at her house (Nat dropping her off and returning her). She enjoyed the visit to Angelas. On her return it was patch change after a hot bath, and she has gone down another 25ug, so she’s now on 400′s worth of patches and we change them on a 3-day cycle (Day 1, 200, Day 2, 200, Day 3, no patch changes).

Thursday morning was Physio (double session), and the afternoon was OT. Friday saw the girls do more shopping. In the afternoon Syd came when the girls were out. We weren’t expecting him until Monday at 3pm. Karen frequently will put things in her diary on the wrong date. It will be the right day of the week perhaps but the wrong week or month, so I assumed she had cocked up. It turns out, that Karen was spot on, and Syd had come to the wrong house, and was due in a different town ! Nice one Karen, sorry for doubting you ! :-)

So, a very busy week. Karen was more than ready for the weekend and we have had a cracker. Saturday, we were up at a half-decent time walking the dogs in the freezing cold. It took some convincing to get this photo approved, but I got there in the end…..

kp had a leisurely afternoon doing what she’d looked forward to all week, a leisurely tv afternoon catching up.

Today has been much the same.

So, things remain great.

Pain – In control, only hurts if she physically exerts herself too much, but she seems to get the balance right
Sleep – Remains generally good. Mostly good night’s sleeps, but the occasional “up for 2 hours in the night”
Mood – Top Dollar !

All good in da hood !

Day 1395 to 1401. Monday 9th February to Sunday 15th February 2009

Monday saw a change in mood, with kp as flat as a pancake when she woke up. When Nat arrived, there were a few tears. I found it heartbreaking after such a good long run of an upbeat kp. I was very fed up and went to bed for the afternoon.

We think it stemmed from the fact she was overdoing the rehab. Everything was too much for her. If she’s not doing “Hand Gym”, she’s doing shoulder loosening exercises etc etc…..We discussed it as a threesome, and it was agreed to lighten up the week somewhat for this and the next week. This helped a bit, and Syd’s visit (Case Manager) in the afternoon, cemented the lift in her mood and by the night time, things were much better.

Tuesday was double physio, a lunch out, and the rest of the afternoon was spent planning the rest of the week.

Wednesday’s are a day off and she went to see “Slumdog Millionaire” with Nat. She really enjoyed it, and it’s the first film she HASN’T fallen asleep since the accident ! I went over to Bolton Abbey to meet up with mum, dad and Joanna (grandpa’s lady friend) who was a big part of my life when I was a little’un. Unfortunately, forgot to take a photo, but it was a gorgeous meal, and great to see Joanna. The plates were that clean when we had finished our meals that they wouldn’t have had to wash them, just reuse ! The restaurant was the “Devonshire Arms” in Bolton Abbey if anyone fancies a great meal !

Wednesday night, Karen had a GREAT sleep. Deep and Long, but when she woke up, she was really flat again ! :-( Thankfully, she had a psychologist session planned, but the weather was so bad, we had to turn back at Stanley and never made it. So, another flat day :-(

That night, she had an awful night’s sleep. She maybe only banked about 45 minutes sleep, so virtually NO SLEEP, yet she woke up as perky as a perky thing that is very perky indeed. Weird !!!  So, good sleep = flat, bad sleep = perky ?! Where’s the logic in that ?

She went to the Gym with Nat and did 1.5 miles on the treadmill, but paid the price big time the next day. I don’t think she’ll be doing that again in a hurry.

The rest of the day was spent planning a more laid back week for next week. And quite right too. This is a marathon and not a sprint.

The weekend has been an eye opener.

We had a great Saturday. Lovely walk with the dogs, if not a bit too cold and icy for our liking. Karen got a call from another patient of Dr Yellowlees who wanted to discuss Fentanyl patches. I think Karen enjoyed discussing how she finds them etc etc….and helping the lady who phoned. Pizza night with a film about the Jacksons, which got kp quite upset, although she didn’t tell me at the time.

And Sunday has been a flat day. A crappy walk with the dogs, because of all the ice and mud that is left from the recent bad weather, and a few revelations that aren’t sitting well with me.


I learned today, that kp’s mood hasn’t been as high as she has made out over the last few weeks. Now, it’s been a good few months, and I think that generally, that is accurate, but the last few weeks, although I have spotted the odd flat day, there have been a few more days where she has tried to protect me, by not really sharing her true feelings. It turns out she has not been as good as she made out. She knows how much I am enjoying life at the moment, because I thought she was enjoying life and I think she has been trying to protect me and keep my spirits high. Well, now I know that that is not the case, it’s left me feeling a bit disillusioned. We have had a long chat about it, and she understands that faking happiness does me no favours in the long run. Anyhoo, we are going to discuss it with the psychologist on Tuesday. So, things could be better at the moment, but it’s not all doom and gloom, things are generally better, but I think I am still a bit shocked that they aren’t as good as I thought they were.

Some more things we are now going to discuss with the psychologist include….

Her sleep – It’s getting worse as time progresses. It’s still 10x better than it was 6 months ago, but she is getting an increasing number of nights where she is up for 3 hours in the middle. And the occasional “up all night” is being thrown in too. So, we need to discuss this….and why if she has a good sleep, she feels flat, and vice-versa.


Mood – It appears things aren’t as good as I thought they were


Appetite – her appetite has been awful for about 4-6 months. She rarely eats a proper meal. She had pizza last night, but most nights she just eats Bran Flakes. This can’t be good, so we’re going to ask Jane’s thoughs on this (psychologist). She can’t “face it”, is the way she describes it. It may be as simple as one of the tablets causing the loss of appetite, but it needs, at the very least, some discussion.

So, that’s our week. Bit of a crappier week, but things aren’t dire, far from it, they’re just not as good as we (or I) thought.

Day 1402 to 1408. Monday 16th to Sunday 22nd February 2009

Well, bad start to the week, but good week overall, with a bit of a physical downer at the end.

Monday and we were both a bit glum in the morning – a bad start to the day. Karen was due to go to South Shields for a drive out and some lunch, but in the end kp didn’t fancy it and went to the gym instead (with Nat). Turned into a good day by the end. She’s keeping a food diary to illustrate her poor appetite. I won’t put it in every week, but will for this week as an example of what she’s eating

(10am Bran Flakes, 1.30pm Tea/3 biscuits, Banana, 6pm Small portion of Pasta with Tomato Sauce)

Monday night was a great night’s sleep, SO GOOD, that Karen had a bad back the following day.

Tuesday and the order of the day was a trip to the Psychologist (with me). It was quite a teary session. Discussed was Karen’s low self-esteem, and how she tends to feel that she’s unattractive. Jane does a good job of trying to pick kp up out of the negative thinking so associated with depression. By the end of the session, she had tried to get Karen to accept that her thoughts and feelings tended to be both wrongly negative because of the clinical depression. She may feel that she’s unattractive, but if she asked people around her, they’d tell her she IS NO less attractive than before the accident. So, her thoughts and feelings weren’t in sync, typical of depression.

So, psychologist’s orders….She has to say to herself…..

kp:- I may feel less attractive (part of the depression, negative feelings), but everyone is telling me I am no less attractive, so I must think I am no less attractive than before the accident. My feelings and thoughts are out of sync because of the depression. It is my feelings that are wrong. My thoughts are right

I had a devil of a time trying to explain this to Karen after the session, ‘cos it hadn’t properly sunk in. But hopefully, now I have regurgitated it in the blog, when she reads it, it will make sense to her.

So, good session despite the tears and upset. Snooze was the order of the day when we returned. They are always very tiring – lots of thinking.

I did a full Roast Chicken with all the trimmings, but kp felt nauseous and had no appetite. The dogs were happy though.

(11.30am Bran Flakes, 6pm Tea/3 biscuits, offered Roast Chick (all trimmings), felt nauseous, no appetite)

Wednesday (day off) and Karen had arranged to get her hair and nails done in time for the holiday next week. She was having a colour put in, and this hard stuff took off her nails. It’s all very complicated to a man, but it’s something she wanted done, and of course, they looked great.

In the afternoon, the highlight of my week, she made a loaf of Parmesan and Sun-dried Tomatoes bread (with Nat). It was absolutely gorgeous. Best load of bread I have ever had. We all loved it. Karen and Nat had a bit (to try it), and Adele and I pretty much scoffed the whole loaf the following day. Mmmmmmmmmm !

(10am Bran Flakes, 1 apple, 1 banana, Chip Butty and 3 pieces of Fillet Steak for tea)

Thursday and it was double physio and this is where the “Physical Downer” comes in. Karen had asked Steve to get some aims set up, and one of the ones she wanted to achieve was to improve her walking, so she doesn’t appear to walk with a hemiparetic gait. To do this, Steve had her on the floor, lifting her legs in the air, and her bum in the air. Little did any of us know, that this is not a move that suits kp. She was in LOTS of pain later that day, and was taking morphine and codeine for the pain to get her through the night. Of course, with those tablets, comes the increased anxiety over constipation, so she has to up the anti-constipation tablets to counter them (codeine being a worse offender than morphine). Thankfully, this didn’t become a problem, but the pain persisted until today (Sunday) :-(   She won’t be trying to correct her hemiparetic gait again !

After physio and a lunch out with Nat, they went shopping for some small containers of cosmetics. We are going to Egypt for (just short of) 2 weeks next week and need to keep the weight down so I can take all my diving stuff. So, kp come up with the idea of mini-deodorants, mini hand-creams etc etc….Success on the shopping trip.

Pain Meds were reduced today also. Gabapentin down from 200mg (3x a day), to 100mg (3x a day). Nice one.

Thursday night was a bit weird. She drank some orange juice and within 2 minutes, was projectile vomiting in the bathroom. Karen is not phased at being sick at all. I would need to be held down and have psychological counselling for a week after throwing up, but she takes it in a stride. Unfortunately, one of the downsides of Karen vomiting and not being able to kneel in front of the loo, is that her aim wasn’t assured. Needless to say, there was a “BIT” of cleaning upto do, but I’d much rather clean it up, than “BE” vomiting !

(7.15am Bran Flakes, 2 bits of Caramel Bar, Cheesecake)

Friday and kp was still in lots of pain after the physio. Her mood dipped with the pain. Nat and kp had planned to go to the Metro Centre to get some last minute holiday shopping, but there’s no way she could have made it round there. The wheelchair was suggested by Natalie, but kp hates it, and only puts up with it at the airport because she has to. So, Natalie was sent home and we did the bath routine to ease the pain. She sat the rest of the day out, watching tv etc….It was the right thing to do.

(Bran Flakes and Roast Ham/Chips for tea)

Saturday and the pain was still there, enough that I walked the dogs alone and it was a chilled out Saturday night with Pizza, but it did the trick with Sunday Karen feeling much better (pain-wise)

(Bran Flakes and Pizza on the night (8inch Chicken Kiev))

Sunday – good day today. We walked the dogs in the morning. And it was the first sign of Spring. Lovely sunshine, but cold with it in the breezy Westerly winds. And a snooze followed with Dancing on Ice tonight. :-)

So, good week overall, with some sad moments. We are both looking forward to some sun in Egypt and we are both crossing our fingers (so much) that Karen may be able to come on a short dive. Blogging from Egypt may be tricky, but with a bit of luck, I may be able to do daily or (at least) weekly updates. It passes the time, when kp is fagging it.


Day One – travel to Egypt

Stayed at mum and dad’s the night before the flight. Lovely steak pie with the kids and jane and guy.

Flight was ok. Little bumpy with my left hand feeling the full force of Karens fear grip.

Both tired and after a quick meal out we retired early. Hyperbaric doctor tomorrow.

Day Two – trip to Hyperbaric doctor

Not the best day but we haven’t let it get us down.

We had breakfast and then waited to go to see the Hyperbaric Doctor. Picture of Karen waiting attached.

The doctor was lovely. He heard a mini synopsis of Karens story and heard what drugs she is on. The bad news is that she can’t dive at the moment but not ‘cos of her disabilities, but because of the meds she is on.

Once she is off gabapentin, venlafaxine and codeine she us good to go as long as she attends a special disabled-skilled diving school, ironically the hotel we are at at the moment.

We were both a bit upset and fighting tears at the moment but we’re past it now and it’s given Karen something to aim for.

Quiet day apart from that….. Getting our bearings, eating etc…..

Tomorrow is a diving course for me and Karen is coming too on the boat. She is looking forward to it.

We both feel that the holiday starts tomorrow ……

Day 3 – The Hard Slog

No blog done last night ‘cos it was a very long day that was absolutely jam-packed!

The day started with me having to do some homework for my nitrox course. Once done, we headed to reception to prepare for the day’s diving and for Karen, a planned snorkel with an instructor.

It was a good half mile’s walk to the boat and the group we were with left us behind. Thankfully the instructor spotted our pace and held back.

Karen was nervous about being on a boat but she was fine with the swaying action and was not at all sick. :-)

What she wasn’t ok with was the cold. Now, it wasn’t cold and we both got a nice suntan but the winds were howling which made it feel cool. Karen really felt it. She had to wrap a towel round her at times to stop the wind winning.

We stopped at a dive site called “The Gardens”. Beautiful spot. About 2 miles up wind was a sand dune and when the wind was calm, it looked great. But it gave us a cracking bit of notice that stormy winds were on the way because it would turn from a beautiful sand dune perching out of the crystal blue sea into a sandstorm heading our way – and then you couldn’t see the dune at all, just a wall of sand that hit us moments later. As soon as it started, it would subside. Apparently February is known for this weather. They say it is the cold (24′C) of Winter blowing itself out.

The boat was very busy. And the downside of this is that Karen felt too self-conscious to go snorkelling with her instructor :-(

I had 2 great dives but found it hard to concentrate on the diving always thinking about how Karen would struggle up and down the step ladder between decks. She was ok and should pat herself on the back for doing so well on the boat!

I took my underwater camera on the second dive so hopefully will have some good photos to share on our return.

One funny moment which Karen was in stitches about on my return from the first dive. She had gone to the loo and couldn’t work out how to get out! (interesting how a year ago, she wouldn’t have been laughing about it, but crying). So , she’s stuck in the loo and can’t get out. She tried shouting but noone could hear her. The loo had a porthole at about 6ft up. All she could do was stick her hand out of the porthole and wave. Her wave for help worked and someone opened it from the other side. I was pleased she saw the funny side.

With the dives over, we returned to the hotel and I went to do an exam and watch a nitrox video. Once done, I had to do some homework for the Deep Dive course the following day. Quick Shower and we then went to a presentation by the We both found it fascinating. Sharks are NOT as aggressive as we are led to believe. More people die per year from bee stings than shark attack !!!

I was dead on my feet after this and we finished the night off at Pizza Hut!

Today I am doing 2 dives and Karen is staying on her own. Yikes!

We have done a few dummy runs for her so she should be able to find the beach. Here’s hoping! I will worry for sure, but she is so adamant that she us happy to have some time to herself.

Ok, got to go….

Picture attached of Karen on the boat

Day Four – Separation

Well kp didn’t fancy the boat today so she has sunned it by the pool, read her book, and got an ice cream.

She tried to get to the beach but got a bit lost and came back. But, she didn’t let it get her down!

I started my 2 day Deep Dive course today and really enjoyed it. Bit burnt from the sun, and at the same time was cold all day (apart from when I was in the sea)-the reason is the wind. It’s strong and really cool.

We’re off out for a meal shortly.

Not much else to report!

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