Archive for April, 2009

Day 1445 to 1451. Monday 30th March to Sunday 5th April 2009

“To Hell and back” pretty much sums up this week.

Extreme sides of emotions, but ending on a positive (and we like them).

Well, first of all, a bit of good news which I omitted from last week’s blog. Last friday, kp reduced her Fentanyl patches from 375 to 350 ! So, since she started the reduction, she has reduced 250, nearly half the morphine levels. Well done Karen Pollard !! She seems to be doing really well on it too. Half the pain relief, but not double the pain, so it’s looking like we can keep going !

Monday and Karen “had a word with herself” and things looked like promising. She hasn’t done a weekly shop for ages, and this week she went off with Nat to do just that. An afternoon in the sun followed and life was good again.

Tuesday, Syd (Case Manager) was coming at 2pm, so the girls went to the gym in the morning, with kp committed to “keeping busy”. She felt very flat in the morning, and the day was going to be a hard one to get through without tears. Syd arrived and all seemed fine at first, but within an hour she “lost the plot” (my words). What do I mean by that, well, she kinda lost control of herself and was emotionally rock bottom and shouting in anguish. All I could do was cuddle her, it was so sad. _I_ was pleased Syd was there, so he could see how bad things were, but Karen was anything but. She’s a very private person and later told me, she hated the fact she “lost it in front of them”. Syd did his best to calm her down by distracting her with wiffle waffle, but it didn’t work, and when he nipped to the loo, I asked Nat to get a diazepam. Within 30 minutes she was calmer. The only answer for things like this apparently, is distraction, ie keep busy. We want this magic bullet, but there ain’t one :-(

Wednesday, things were much the same. The weather has been glorious this week, and kp and Nat went to walk the dogs. It needs a car trip now to do the walk Karen can do, so Nat’s car was a bit hairier on its return. Following the dog walk, we had lunch, and then kp and Nat went to South Shields to look at a potential dog walk site where the dogs can go in the sea. Syd had instructed Nat to keep her “out of the house” which is probably associated with all these negative feelings, but this had the adverse affect of making kp feel trapped, like she HAD to be out and COULDN’T come home, but she persevered and had a nice lunch by the sea.

Thursday saw her scheduled psychology session with Jane. But, the good news happened when she woke up. She felt “better”. Not better(fully recovered), but better(than the previous day). And I could tell, she was chatty, bordering on incessant chatter. But, it was great to have kp “back in the house” :-) She was positive and looking forward to the rest of the week. My heart certainly felt lifted. We were due to have dinner on Friday with the Gibbs, but earlier in the week, I had texted my mate Nigel to say “It’s looking very unlikely, but not impossible”.  On Thursday, she was saying, “Yes, let’s go”. I couldn’t believe it. So, we booked a meal at the Gibbs’es for friday night.

The psychology session was tear free and very positive. A trip to the gym followed and she did 1.1 miles on the treadmill

Friday, she did some gardening (maximising the weather), and was knackered after that. To bed for a snooze in the afternoon, to be ready for the meal with at the Gibbs’ house. When she woke up, she said to me that she didn’t want to go :-( Neither of us wanted to let the Gibbs’ down, but at the same time, we didn’t want Karen in a place that would make her worse. We both felt LOTS of guilt, but decided that it was best to “not go”. They were very understanding, but Karen’s guilt was tangible.

Saturday started good. Lovely dog walk, but towards the end of the afternoon, she felt a bit low. She remarked that anything could make her “cry”. We started watching more “fun” programmes and the Horne and Corden show on BBC3 had her in stitches, so that was a good tonic. Pizza Night with a film and Lost followed, which we both enjoyed.

And today has been “ok”. Neither good nor bad. The best way to describe life at the moment is…..

“Steady Away”

Give me another week of Karen like the last few days, and I will be a bit more certain, this dark period is behind us.

Here’s hoping !

Day 1452 to 1460. Monday 6th April to Tuesday 14th April 2009

What a difference a week makes ! Or more importantly, a weekend.


The week started off in pain, but kp was not in dire mood, bordering on “very ok”, not quite “good”. We had been doing some gardening, and she had done about 15-20 minutes of it (bending over), and monday afternoon she paid the price for it. 2 x 10mg morphine, plus hot bath was ordered and delivered.

The good thing about the day was that all the pain didn’t bring her down. Things were starting to look up.

Tuesday morning and she woke up perky :-)   Physio (with Nat) mid-morning and a few tears whilst she was out, so things weren’t as good as I had thought :-(

The psychiatrist said he would phone on tuesday and indeed he did. Karen explained her low mood and he has up’ped the Amytrypteline. This is both an anti-depressant and it definitely helps her sleep. Karen didn’t have that much faith that it would help, but she knows with anti-depressant medication, it’s very hard to get right and it takes 2 weeks for each change to take effect, so “waiting game” time.

Wednesday, the girls were due to go to the Metro Centre, but kp couldn’t think of anything she wanted, so they went to the gym instead and then followed that with physio exercises at home. kp was getting perkier :-)

Thursday, we went to see a psychiatrist who was doing a report for “the other side”. A nice chap who we met at a business centre by the River Tyne. These kind of things always concern me, as they have the potential to be a turning point for the worse ie when the accident is discussed etc. But, Karen was great, she narrowly avoided tears, although I could tell she was close at one point. Well done kp.

Thursday night, we watched a Jade remembrance programme, and that got kp teary. Anything at all will set her off.

Friday and we were both up about 6.15am and decided to take the dogs for a walk, as the dog walker was off. It was a lovely but cold walk, and by 7.30am we were enjoying breakfast back in the warmth of the house. We had planned to go to the Cash & Carry for mini-eggs for the Easter Egg hunt, but it wasn’t to be.

Instead, we caught up on lost sleep and TV that we were behind on.

And then came the weekend. We have had an absolute blast, and Karen is buzzing today ! Jabbering like a good’un. Saturday was none too eventful, consisting of dog walking and pottering around the house with the usual Saturday night pizza and “Britain’s got talent” entertainment.

Sunday, and my family came up from Lancashire. We were due to meet them at the Royal County (where they were staying) at 12pm and I knew that first visit would be key. The trickiest thing would be getting her there without tears or upset. I was sure if she made it, she’d be ok. True enough, we made it there and met them at the Leisure centre. So far, so good !!!  Next challenge was that she wouldn’t feel hemmed in or trapped by having company around her. But, it all seemed to be going fine on that front too. Then, something happened and I thought that would be the end of the weekend for kp. Jamie (my nephew (5)) ran into a car park barrier and made a big dent in his head. Jane rushed him back to the Leisure centre with blood dripping from his head. She took him in to get the Leisure Centre first aid kit. At this, Karen started crying. She was upset at seeing Jamie upset. Jamie was really good and there were hardly any tears, but kp was struggling to keep her upset in, but she did, and I think only Jane cottoned on that she had been tearful.

The next step was to take Jamie to A+E. It was decided that I’d take Jane ‘cos I knew where it was, and all the rest (including kp) would go to the restaurant for lunch. kp looked a bit worried that I was leaving her, but we went ahead with the plan. As luck would have it, we were in and out of the hospital within 30 minutes with Jamie’s head all glued up :-)

We rejoined the group for lunch and had a lovely chatty lunch. kp was gradually perking up. After lunch, the crew were going to Diggerland with the kids, while kp and I prepared the Easter Egg hunt. The weather was gorgeous and it was roasting in the back garden. The hour or two we had to ourselves was perfect for Karen to recharge ready for the next meet-up. When they arrived, we did a reintroduction to the dogs, which in hindsight wasn’t necessary, as they seemed to remember them from before. And then we all went into the garden for the egg hunt and chat/drinks. It was lovely, and kp really enjoyed it.

The kids very kindly has made us some Easter gifts…..Here they are…..


To top off the day, the kids wanted to stay the night at ours, and kp and I had already discussed that they may want to do that and had said it would be ok. So, a chatty and busy evening continued, but one we both really enjoyed. kp was in her element. At one point of the evening, kp was having a fag out the back, and Jamie left me and Sophie to go and find her. He looked all around the house and by himself went out the back.

Jamie (having found her) :- I’ve been looking for you

kp was laughing at this and I think was dead chuffed too :-)

Bedtime for the kids was interesting. I had promised a story and ended up being persuaded to do THREE !!! And each was an epic with full character voicing. Perhaps they were too good ;-) And then I had to pretend to go to sleep with them. Sophie was being an arse and kept kicking Jamie to keep him awake, but eventually they settled and kp and I could relax.

I was awake at 5am, wondering why there was no noise coming from their room. At 6am, I was more concerned. By 6.15am, I had to check up on them, they were fast asleep. I took in the camera to take a shot for the blog, but they woke up when I switched the camera on :-(

Just as well though, ‘cos we needed to have walked the dogs and be back to get kp ready for 9am. We all had breakfast together before the Pollard/Boxall clan arrived. It was then time to go to Beamish Museum. The weather remained lovely and we all had a great time at Beamish. Here are Sophie and Jamie being instructed by the Beamish Headmaster……


Jamie was very tired towards the end, and I was the lucky(unlucky) one who he wanted to cling to ALL THE WAY UP the Beamish hill towards the car !! I loved it :-)

Back to our house for more chat, and then to the Royal County for a meal. Normally, the Royal County does very poor food, their Sunday lunch is atrocious, but the bar meal we had was lovely and a perfect end to a fantastically brilliant weekend. By this time, kp was paying the price for the trip round Beamish and had popped some morphine tablets. She hadn’t eaten a thing all day, but we think the morphine tablets made her nauseous, and then shortly after the meal, promptly went to the loo to throw up, or to try to :-(

Whilst kp was with mum at the loo, I was dragged (by Jamie) up to the bedroom to say goodbyes. For some reason, he was really clingy, and parting was very hard as he was crying (for me) as I left. I felt honoured and a bit sad and made the mistake of telling kp, but she held up and there were no tears.

We were exhausted when we got back and I was in bed by 10pm. kp came a little later.

The great news is that when Karen woke this morning (tuesday morning), she felt like she was feeling great. Obvsiouly, it’s early days, but generally speaking her mood has been much more on the up, than on the down, and coincidentally, Easter Sunday is 4 weeks to the day after she gave up the Gabapentin, so it should definitely be all out of her system by now.

Here’s praying it all continues !! Thanks for coming up mum, dad, jane, guy, sophie and jamie. I’m not sure how much the “coming up” has helped, but funnily enough, there are a few recent occasions when Karen was due to go and see Michelle or Yvonne, or other friends and hasn’t been able to pull it off, but someone coming to see her, seems to have made all the difference. Thanks very much !


Forgot to mention a little funny that had us all (especially kp) in stitches….

It was an “Ann Pollard”ism…..

It involves Jamie (5 years old) and my mum trying to protect his head when he was getting a bit out of control….

So, Jamie is moving erratically, and mum is concerned he will hit his head…….

Mum :- Jamie, be careful, mind your knob !

Well, we were all in stitches :-)

Day 1461 to 1465. Wednesday 15th to Sunday 19th April 2009

All good in da hood :-)

Wow, it’s been a while since I could type that. Probably only 4 weeks (or so), but it feels like a lifetime :-)

kp is back on track :-)

Tuesday was the calm after the storm. It was a great storm and we LOVED it, but tuesday felt like a recoup day. kp had walked too much at Beamish and was paying the price, using a walking stick around the house. I could really feel her pain, but it DIDN’T get her down. It would have a week ago !!! A good sign !

I have been rough this week. Come down with some chest infection, bad glands, sore throat, headcold, so not been the best for me, and I think kp may be getting it just now, but we’ll see.

The morning was catching up on Nat and kp’s weekends and in the afternoon, the girls gave the dogs a good brushing down in the garden.

Wednesday and the pain from the previous day had all but gone. Natalie came and both kp and I needed a snooze, so Nat read some of the blog.

Thursday and Karen was already planning to meet up with family at the weekend and in preparation, Nat took Karen to get her hair/nails done. I thought they’d be gone a couple of hours, but 5 hours later, no sign ! :-)   They had gone into Durham for a shop :-)

Friday, and very early on after kp woke, kp said….

kp:- I didn’t want to say anything until now, but I think I am over the depression (or words to that effect)

Music to my ears. I had been dreading asking how she was, for fear of a negative answer, so to get it spontaneously from Karen was a real good sign, as she wouldn’t have told me until she was sure !

Nat took kp to the gym in the morning and she did a bit of the cross-trainer (first time for 5 mins) plus other stuff. She didn’t suffer TOO much the following day. In the afternoon, I took Karen to the psychologist who was pleased kp’s mood had lifted. We discussed various things….Here are a couple of them…

Paracetamol – kp has been on 6-8 paracetamol a day for 4 years. Apparently, this dosage for so long, can CAUSE headaches, which is the main reason she takes them at the moment, so she is now keeping a log of when she takes them and why, so we can work out if she can come off them, which would be great.

What to tackle next – one of the other things discussed was what does she want to tackle next. kp was unsure, but I was ! The future. I think kp needs a long term aim, a pastime that she enjoys and that gives her meaning. So, the psychologist suggested a 4-week test period, so we can be sure the mood is up, and then we can tackle the future. We were both really pleased at this way forward. It gives kp a bit of rest time from psychologist-type homework and then we’ll be discussing which will help her :-)

Yesterday, we walked the dogs, although not the full walk (because of cross-trainer induced pain) and then had a lovely breakfast with Katie and Peter (the programme, not the people). After that, it was bathtime to try and reduce the pain from the cross-trainer work.  We were due to go and see Michelle, but it wasn’t called off because of Karen, but because of Michelle, which makes a nice change.  Pizza with Britain’s Got Talent.

Today, much the same. Dogwalk, breakfast, hot bath and blog writing for me, email to the Case Manager for Karen.

So, very pleased and proud to report kp is back on track and life is good again.

We are going to Spain at the end of May, but nothing booked after that, so we need to start thinking of another trip to keep kp focussed :-)

To end on a little funny……

Here’s what I have been staring at most of this week…..


Now, it’s an Easter card from the kids (from last weekend). All I can see is a blonde-haired woman lying on her back with her legs wide apart……Do I need therapy ?

It is, of course, something Easter-related, which is a bit more obvious if you look up close….


Silly me !

Day 1466 to 1472. Monday 20th to Sunday 26th April 2009

A great week. Life is good again !

Natalie was off on Monday/Tuesday, so dp was the support worker. Karen had contacted Laura (the last support worker) to see how she was doing, and she said she’d come round for all the goss. Which she duly did, arriving bang on time on her motorbike, making the most of the glorious weather.

It was great to see Karen in such good form, hearing all Laura’s latest information and sharing her latest news with her. Laura stayed for a few hours. We spent most of it with the dogs in the back garden.

In the afternoon, instead of going to the gym as we had planned, we took the dogs on a short walk which they thoroughly enjoyed as did we ! :-)

We also popped around our neighbours (Tommy and Eileen). Karen hasn’t seen them since 2008 so she enjoyed the catch up and we were both pleased she was strong enough to speak to them and enjoy their company.

Tuesday was a busy day. I took kp to see Steve (physio) in Seaham. Karen did some balance board. Steve noticed that Karen’s left hip was not locked in when standing. She always does this. Steve had done some exercises with Karen a few months back to try and help this, but it caused Karen so much pain, they had avoided it, but Steve asked if she would give it another go but with more moderation. So, she did just a couple of the relevant exercises and it was fine the next day, so hopefully if she can lock her hip in, it will improve her walking. That’s the aim.

After physio, we had to go to the psychiatrist in Hexham. We had an hour to kill, so stopped off at Costco to stock up on Pig’s Ears and Dried Dog Food – as you do :-)

The psychiatrist was well pleased that Karen was feeling better and put it down to the Gabapentin being fully out of her system. At the end of the session, we discussed a future appointment, and we all agreed, that there was no need to book a further appointment, because there would be no point. So, we are to contact him, only if things take a turn for the worse. Karen was pleased that she had moved past the need for a psychiatrist. Fingers crossed, her mood continues…. :-)

Wednesday, Nat was back and the girls made the most of the glorious April we are having and did gardening. Karen REALLY enjoyed it. Karen was hoeing, and Nat was doing the bending down, picking the weeds out that Karen had hoe’ed :-) I wanted to be involved to maximise the lovely day, so sanded some window sills down and repainted them.

Thursday wasn’t quite as nice, so the girls made some Parmesan and Tomato bread – lovely it was too ! And then they went to the gym, where kp as usual, tried to beat her last distance or time, at the cost of pain the following day !!!!!

Friday, they went to the Metro Centre to get birthday presents for me and Dad. We both have birthdays in May. It wasn’t a successful shop as Karen was in too much pain from the gym the day before. So it was cut short.

Saturday, Karen had a ball. It was Sister’s Day. It’s a monthly (kp mood allowing) get-together of all the sisters. Nat took kp over and handed kp over to the Sisters and then brought her back. Karen really enjoyed all the catching up and I think the sisters were pleased to see kp well again :-) There was a slight dip in the day at the beginning, when kp didn’t feel 100%, but she went for a power nap and felt great, so Sister’s Day was able to go ahead ! I went off with my mate Dave Kingdon to look for a dry suit in Whitley Bay.

And last night, we watched “The Usual Suspects”. Cracking film, but far too complicated !! We must have stopped it every 5 minutes to explain the intricacies of the plot to kp ! But, she still enjoyed it, especially the twist at the end ! :-)

Today, we have walked the dogs and I’m doing the blog, while kp is writing an email to Syd. We are then going to book a night in Edinburgh for Karen to see John Edwards. He is a psychic from America. kp is a big fan, and I think she is going to ask Marie if she’ll go in the support worker role. Fingers crossed she will, ‘cos Psychics aren’t my cup of tea.

So, great week, couldn’t really be better.

Time for a general update…………..

Pain – Generally, in control. We are continuing to reduce the Fentanyl patches. They were at 600, and are now down to 325 ! They were supposed to go down to 325 (from 350) early in the week, but kp didn’t feel she was ready. But we went down to 325 last night :-) . I get the impression, it is going to get harder to go down in the future, but we’ll see.

Sleep – Generally, much improved. 5 out of 7 GOOD sleeps this week. Not all the way through, but not far off !!

Mood – Cooking on Gas Mark 9 !

Appetite – not brilliant, but not drastic either.

So, all good from the Pollard household.

Things are so good, I am starting to think what I am going to do with myself. I fancy a career change, and am torn between Diving Instructor or Helicopter Pilot. It’s a tricky one. But, the good thing is there is no rush, so I think I am going to do my private pilot licence in helicopters and see if I like it, which I am pretty sure I will. I already have a PPL in single-engine light aircraft, so am hoping that will make things a bit easier. That’s my thoughts at the moment, but our lives have never been straightforward since the accident, so everything’s suck it and see.

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