Archive for July, 2009

Day 1536 to 1542. Monday 26th June to Sunday 5th July 2009

Life continues to be good. kp remains positive and looking to the future.

Monday saw Patti and Nat come to the house together to sort out the Support Issues left from the previous week. We were relieved to see these sorted out, and things have improved over the week.

In the afternoon, Rachel (OT) came and worked on Karen crossing roads. We live next to a road that can vary between deadly quiet, to car’s coming up it at 50-60mph (at its worst), and it’s a 40mph stretch. So, it can be a tricky one to cross even without a brain injury, and with karen’s left inattention and slower processing speed, it can be quite dangerous. So, Rachel and Karen worked on the basics of crossing the road and where to look etc… One of Karen’s main goals is to walk the dogs like she used to and this involves crossing this road, so it’s something she’s keen to conquer. A few more practices needed!

Whilst kp was doing that, I was having a heli lesson in the Hover Square at Newcastle Airport.

Tuesday, and no Nat, as kp and I were to attend a medico-legal appointment in Newcastle. It was the second half of an appointment that had to be concluded ‘cos we didn’t fit everything in. It went without tears, which is always a good sign. Afterwards, and it was kp’s idea, we decided to lunch by the river and the walkway bridge. Here’s a bit of kp and the bridge.

We lunched at the Pitcher and Piano and the timing was great, ‘cos we got to see the bridge tilt at 12.05pm :-)


Wimbledone once home – kp is a big fan !

Wednesday and it was gym in the morning (with Nat), and swimming lesson at Whickham Villa in the afternoon. kp came back very proud of what she had achieved in the swimming lesson, and it was lovely to see her so upbeat.

Heli lesson for me was cancelled, so I was revising “Air Navigation”.

Thursday was a gorgeous day to go to Gosforth for kp’s psychologist session. It went very well indeed, the focus was how kp felt in group situations, and her self esteem. There were a few tears, which kp didn’t see coming, but aside from that, it was worth the trip to Gosforth. Wimbledon on our return.

Friday, more rain up north. The girls went shopping and kp was in stitches on her return. Something to do with Nat trying on her new swimming nose clip.

Busy week overall, the weekend has been the usual dog walking, and the free time was spent watching the Williams sisters (Vanessa and Serena as I call them ;-) battle it out, and no doubt this afternoon, we’ll be watching Federer and Roddick. kp has a £5 bet on Roddick (placed earlier in the championship) at 22 to 1. So come on Roddick !!

Another busy week coming up.

Day 1543 to 1549. Monday 6th to Sunday 12th July 2009

Up and Down week. I can’t quite believe Karen has picked herself up from the down she had on Thursday, but that can only be a good sign !!


Well, of course Sunday was the Wimbledone Final and with £5 on Roddick to win (obtained when he was 22 to 1 to win), it made for exciting “shout at the TV” entertainment. He didn’t win, but what a great match. kp was in her element :-)

Monday was “back to work” for kp. Nat took her to physio in Seaham. Good physio session for kp. Amazing she is still seeing physical progress so long after the accident and with the pain relief coming down too !!

The weather was atrocious on monday, real bad thunderstorms, and the lightning strikes were within a mile of the house. Usual “power off for a second” moments a couple of times. Was concerned the girls wouldn’t make it back, but they were fine. Once back, no time for rest as Rachel (OT) arrived. They were due to do some more “Road Safety” stuff. And I was so tempted to go in and say “Don’t let the weather stop you !”, but I refrained. It was absolutely bouncing rain-wise. Instead they went through an activity sheet that Rachel had prepared that summarises all the steps involved in crossing the road.

It was really good and thorough, but Karen found it very verbose, so Natalie did an excellent job of making it very graphical (pictorially wise) later in the week.

I was due to fly but the weather well and truly stopped play.

Once Rachel left, the girls did some brain tests that Nikki Brosnan had left. It’s a CD full of auditory attention tests. They start off easy….A bloke reading out numbers and Karen has to write a mark every time she hears a “2″. But they progress to him doing it faster, and doing much more complex things, but we’re at the easier levels at the moment. Both Nat and I did them too – moral support. Embarassingly, there was one test where kp got 100% and I got 95%. But, I blame…………..erm………….damn, can’t think of anything to blame. One of the dogs distracted me, yes, it was the dogs !! Damn Dogs ! :-)

Once bored, I retreated to do Air Nav revision, and later on, I could hear the girls planning the rest of the week (and the next week too).

Tuesday, the weather was still bad – thunderstorms continued. Karen prefers to drive around in our car than Nat’s, understandably ‘cos a Volvo is more like a tank than a Renault. But, Nat was a little concerned about driving our car as it’s very long in her eyes. So, kp and I had been discussing (at length) whether we should get another car for Nat to drive her around in. After lengthy discussion, we ended up concluding that any other car we get would still be a long one (for the dogs), so Nat might as well get used to driving our car. So, on tuesday morning, Nat and I went out together in the Volvo, to get her comfortable driving it. We were out about 30 minutes, and she seemed to do very well. So, we’ll do some more trips and then put her on the insurance. The girls went to Boundary Mill for a shopping expedition. My kind of shopping expedition. After 3 hours, they returned having spent £0.00. I have encouraged her to have more trips like that whenever she wants. ;-)

Wednesday, the girls went to the gym in the morning, and then Angela (fellow car crashee) came over. The girls had a huge catchup session. I had a heli lesson in th’afternoon.

Thursday was a busy day and a bit of a turning point, mood-wise. It started off ok with kp going for some swimming practice with Nat (at Whickham Villa). That went very well. Moments before they arrived back, Syd had arrived for a catchup, so kp went straight into that. And then whilst Syd was getting ready to leave, Nikki Brosnan (neuropsyche) arrived, so very busy day for kp. This is when the mood changed. Nikki is GREAT for kp. Karen is the first to say it. She likes “no nonsense”, “tell it how it is” people and that’s Nikki. And she did just that today. So far, with Nikki, kp has been doing loads of neuropsyche tests, but today they had to be put on hold, because kp is due to see a neuropsyche medico-legal expert from the “other side” in a week or so’s time, and the “other side”‘s neuropscyhe understandably didn’t want kp having done neuropscyhe tests recently, ‘cos they could skew her results. So, no more neuropsyche tests until we’ve seen this medico-legal person. So, instead, Nikki and kp discussed what kp would like to do in the future. And although they are nowhere near working out the final thing kp would like to do, one of the things that was discussed was a temporary “build-up” kind of solution to help kp adapt to a group working situation, and that was “working in a charity shop”. kp wasn’t too keen, but I think she would do it to achieve the final solution.

However, then Nikki asked Karen, how much information would she be happy for Nikki to share with the Charity shop people about Karen’s injuries. Well, in her head, Karen had thought she was nearly “back to her old self” and that no information would need to be shared. Nikki gave an example of Karen’s memory and how she may need her work colleagues to know that occasionally things will need to be repeated etc…..At this, Karen got very upset.

Before the accident, Karen was a very private person at work. Moreso than anyone I have ever worked with. She kept her cards very close to her chest, so for her “work” colleagues to know things like this, was very against the grain.

The upset continued for about an hour. I was thinking the worst, that kp would be back on a major downer and that she’d go back 6 months mentally etc…etc….

Nikki left once kp was “ok” again, and Karen remained very low.

Amazingly though, kp did something I couldn’t have predicted. Normally, after a big shock like this, it knocks kp back. But, rather than go backwards, kp was on the phone to Ronnie in London (who has some issues of her own), helping her with those issues. I was so proud of her. “Speaking to people” is normally the last thing kp can do when she’s been knocked back, but she was on the phone for 2 full hours helping Ronnie with her problems !! Well done kp – I’m very proud of you.

Now, although her mood didn’t bounce back, it does seem to be “under control”. I have been too scared to ask how she is, ‘cos I don’t want to hear the answer, but she seems “ok”, not brilliant, not drastic, hope that’s the case. And with the way things have been, I’m quietly hoping that she’ll bounce back !!

Friday, and kp and I were both very worried about Adele (kp’s niece). She’s been rough for about 2 weeks. We’re hoping everything’s ok. i went for another heli lesson in the afternoon.

Here’s the sky in Esh Winning on Friday night……


The weekend has been quieter thankfully. Dog walking & gardening on Saturday.

Today, kp has been catching up on TV, whilst I went to Eyemouth (in Scotland) in the hope of a couple of dives, but it was too rough. Did see a seal in the harbour though. Here’s a piccy…..


And some video of said seal……

And some more….

Day 1550 – 1556. Monday 13th to Sunday 19th July 2009

Not the best week, but thankfully, things improved as the week progressed.

Monday and the plan was Gym in the morning and Royal Quays (Shopping) in the afternoon. But, things went awry early. kp and I started the day with a discussion on how she was feeling, it soon became a teary discussion, but a discussion that needed to happen.

Karen was feeling very daunted by the next step of her “getting back into society”. She was putting a lot of pressure on herself, perhaps too much. We started having a chat about 9am. When Nat arrived at 9.30am, we were very deep into the chat. Nat only stayed for 5 minutes of tears, before I suggested she go into Durham for a bit, so that this chat could play itself out.

I tried to think the whole thing through very logically and explain how well Karen was doing and that she was putting too much pressure on herself and there was no rush to get to the next stage. She had to want it enough to overcome her fears, and perhaps, she wasn’t quite at the point of wanting it that much at the moment. Perhaps now was the time to have a rest phase before moving on. Anyway, it seemed to hit all the right buttons with me and Karen and although she was exhausted after it, she felt more positive. We discussed the rest of the day, and it was felt some more sleep would be beneficial, so I cancelled Nat for the day and kp went for a snooze. When she woke up later, she felt marvellous. I was really pleased !

The following day, I was surprised that when kp woke up, she was feeling very flat. After such a positive night, she was flat, it kinda didn’t make sense to either of us. We put it down to “not enough sleep”, or “being woken up whilst still in a deep sleep”. That seemed to pan out, because after a return for some more sleep, as the day progressed, she felt better and better. The girls went for a swimming lesson with Gail at Whickham Villa. Gail was great. Uncannily, she could tell Karen was stressed and instead of pushing on, she had Karen just relax in the water all lesson. Good move Gail !! I had a heli lesson in the afternoon.

Wednesday and Nat was having a “training day”, so I was the support worker. First thing on Karen’s sheet was the gym. We went to the gym and kp did great. She did about a mile on the treadmill, 3 minutes of cross-trainer, and about 300m of the rowing machine at resistance level 3. Well done kp. Then back to the house for a shower. Then it was Sainsburys. Rachel (OT) arrived at 2pm and we went through the Road Safety scoring sheets. The aim is for Karen to be able to safely cross the road, so she can take the dogs out for a walk if she wants. We live next to a road that can be very quiet, or very busy, depending on the time of day. It’s a 40mph road, but occasionally, “knobheads” go 60mph along it.

So, we have the sheets that list all the steps in crossing the road (about 15-20 steps), and we have to score kp on how well she does.

Things like …..

  • “Wear bright noticeable colours”
  • “Take the walking stick”
  • “Pick a self place to cross the road”

And then we have to score kp with a coded system…..

  • “R – Refused to do the step”
  • “I – Independently and safely completed this task”
  • “VP – Needed a verbal prompt to remember and/or complete the task safely”
  • “G – Needed a gesture to remind her”

We were discussing some of the scoring I had given her, and I suggested an additional code to add to the system.

  • “KO – Got Knocked Over”

Well, I thought it was funny and I think Rachel did too, but kp thought it a “bit sick”, but she managed a laugh as well. Rachel and kp did a few practice road crossings. I think there was one 60mph knobhead, but she did well, but still nowhere near there yet.

I even managed to get some Air Nav revision in at some point in the afternoon. Jane Burns came to stay for the night later in the day. Lots of laughs but lots of serious chat too. It was a good night.

Thursday, I took kp to see Jane the psychologist at Gosforth. We didn’t know when we entered, but it was our last session with Jane. Jane and Nikki had been talking and they felt that it was unwise to see 2 specialists of the same ilk, it felt right. In our heads, Nikki had been moving kp to her new place in her life, whereas Jane was sorting kp’s mood out. Nikki is capable of doing the mood thing too, so it will be all Nikki from now on. We think it would be beneficial to have longer sessions with Nikki though, as there never seems to be enough time when we see Jane about kp’s mood. The hour goes so quickly ! :-(

On the way back from Gosforth, we went to see the Anti-smoking nurse. She was pleased with kp’s continued abstinence and gave her a prescription for the next level of patches. Well done kp. Think it’s nearing 8 weeks now. :-)

Nat was at our house as we arrived back and the girls did Road Safety for the rest of the afternoon. She didn’t do quite as well on this session as she did with Rachel. It was closer to rush hour traffic, and there was one crossing where it would have been “KO” on my scale if Nat hadn’t intervened. Nat said she would have made it across, but kp may not :-(

Friday and the girls had planned a trip to York on the train. The weather could NOT have been worse for it. TORRENTIAL DOWNPOURS all day in Esh Winning. It was Heavy Rain ALL DAY. It was so bad, the bridges we normally use to cross a beck on the dog walk were under 3 feet of water. When I went on my bike ride, I couldn’t have crossed them without getting swept away. That bad. Fortunately, York wasn’t as bad. The girls went to the York Dungeons and had a laff there, and then went to Betty’s tea rooms for some lunch. They were back in the house at 4pm !!

And that’s the week. Saturday (yesterday) was dog walking, snoozing, and catching up with TV. We were both at a loose end yesterday and perhaps should have fit more in. Today has been much the same.

So, bad start, better end to the week. I got Karen a card from to summarise the results of our big chat at the beginning of the week. The envelope said “Only to be opened by the best woman in the world”. It was great seeing her puzzled as to who sent it. Here’s the front of the card…..


Here’s the inside….


Day 1557 to 1563. Monday 20th to Sunday 26th July 2009

Good week overall and a busy one.

Monday started with a trip to the gym with Nat.

Rachel (OT) came later in the morning and along with Nat, kp did some road safety training. That went very well. No “KO” today :-) Once that was done, Karen wanted to go to a local sports centre and see an Aquafit session to see if it was suitable. She found the session a bit fast and she didn’t think she’d be able to keep up with the group. Karen is a very self-conscious person, she detested the “walk up the aisle” on our wedding day, so for her to fall behind in a group aquafit session would be awful, so I think Aquafit isn’t for her (not in a group session anyway).

On their return, they did some brain training and as it was a nice day, they took the dogs for a walk. I came back from a heli lesson to find kp in great form !!! :-)

Tuesday, Nat and kp did some more road safety training before she went for her swimming lesson at Whickham Villa. There wasn’t much swimming practice, as Gail (Swimming Instructor/OT) wanted kp to crack getting from standing to on her back and vice versa. She did manage it a few times, so all good !! On their return, the girls did some brain training. Karen is starting to struggle as the exercises get a little harder, but it’s meant to get more challenging, so her brain improves.

Wednesday and the girls had planned a day trip to a Health Spa (Matfen Hall). Karen had come up with the idea of leaving early and stopping off at Brockbushes Farm to see if it was worth a seperate visit for strawberry picking. They had a bit there before having “Hot Stones” treatment and a massage, followed by a lovely sandwich and scone afternoon tea.

Thursday, more road safety training, and the girls went food shopping, staying out for lunch. They walked the dogs on their return and then Nat left for a week’s well-deserved holiday.

Syd and the solicitor came later in the afternoon for a meeting which lasted about 2 hours. It was all very positive. Things are starting to come to a conclusion slowly with Karen’s legal case.

Friday with me taking a break from helicopter studies, I took on Support Worker role and we did some brain training, and planned the upcoming week.

Saturday and Karen did some gardening maximising the beautifully sunny day.  Michelle and Freddie visited in the afternoon. I had a heli lesson which involved me flying over the house but I was pleased they were still there when I got back. Pizza and TV on the night time.

And today has been mostly dog walking, snooze, and more tv catching up.

I’m the support worker next week, so helicopter lessons and studying will be taking much more of a back seat. We have a busy week lined up, but kp has insisted I still try and get a heli lesson in at some point, which is great.

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