Archive for August, 2009

Day 1564 to 1570. Monday 27th to Sunday 2nd August 2009

Well, I was the Support Worker this week as Nat was away on hols and Adele couldn’t cover as she was sick – get well soon Adele. It’s mostly been a good week, a few tears, but also some good laughs too.

We had the week all mapped out. Karen had done the planning with Nat the week before. I was given my rota and was ready to rock’n'roll.

Monday and the first order of the day was to take kp to the gym and record her progress. 20 minutes of treadmill spread over 2 sections, some rowing machine and some cross-trainer which she finds very hard. Then it was back to the house for some house cleaning. Then a spot of lunch, before we did some auditory attention training. It’s this cd which Nikki gave us where kp has to listen to this bloke read out various numbers and, for example, kp may have to write a mark every time the bloke says the number 5 followed by the number 9. It’s not as easy as it sounds as his pace can be quite fast on later exercises.

Basically, kp has to get 10/10 before we can move on to the next exercise. We got on to an exercise where the bloke was reading out numbers and kp had to record a mark every time he said a sequence where the number was followed by a number that was one up from the previous number. Karen _really_ struggled with this. Initially, it was the concept of what she had to do ie He would say…..

10 9 5 6 and she would make the mark, great, success, but then he’d fox her with…..

4 6 8 3 2 3 4 – Karen would make the mark after the 3 (as 3 is after 2), but would not realise the 4 was also after the 3 and make a mark for this.

When I explained that she shouldn’t be just treating them as pairs of numbers and that every number counts, her scores improved, but she kept losing attention and missing ones out completely. We did this quite a few times during the week, but never got 10/10. I think we overdid it, she was so keen to crack it. Her frustration peaked on thursday, and we have left it until today (monday), when we’ll be giving it another bash.

Tuesday was a trip to Seaham for physio. Good session. Small dog walk in the afternoon.

Wednesday was a trip to Costco to stock up and then Whickham Villa for some swimming practice. She did very well. Lots of laughs when I showed kp how if she did a certain maneuvre she would sink. kp finds it funny when I choke/drown – that’s reassuring. More auditory attention training in the afternoon.

Thursday was another trip to the gym but for fat burn levels of exercise after a discussion with Steve (physio). We did some gardening too.

Friday and I’d arranged a flying lesson, and kp had plans to catch up on TV, but as I was waiting to be briefed by Steve (heli instructor), kp rang, upset that she couldn’t get Sky working. Sky boxes are unreliable and need regurlarly rebooting (or that is our experience). Normally I do it, but it involves pulling the power cord out of the back of the Sky box and then putting it back in. Well, kp needed talking through this. I was on the phone to her for 20 minutes and she still couldn’t do it. A combination of not being able to get on her knees, being unable to bend for a long time and her spatial awareness difficulties meant she unplugged all the wrong leads and couldn’t get them back in again. She was as mad as hell, bordering on upset that the one and only day she got some time to herself she couldn’t catch up on her tv. I felt like sh_t ‘cos I wasn’t there to help. It wasn’t a good situation.

When I got home, kp was in lots of pain because of the 20 minutes of bending down etc…..It was so bad, she was on the oral morphine fix PLUS diclofenac and codeine. Not good. The pain continued on Saturday and Sunday, but thankfully it’s been improving, but it’s monday when I’m doing this blog and she’s still not back to her usual pain levels.

Yesterday, kp got her chance to catch up on TV as I went diving with my buddy (another David) in Scotland. Here’s some snaps and video…….



Another thing kp wanted to do yesterday, was to read about one of the witnesses of the accident. We had heard that one of the original accident witnesses was keen to know how kp was, and therefore, Karen wanted to know how she was involved in the accident. I referred kp to the entry in the blog. It was an accident witness by a lady whose name I changed to Dougal. kp had read this while I was away diving, and later told me she had been in floods of tears. She referred to her crying as a realisation and some reliving the event. She is going to discuss with the neuropsyche Nikki tomorrow.

Natalie is back today, yay ! So I can crack on with my heli theory revision, ready for the next test.

Day 1571 to 1577. Monday 3rd to Sunday 9th August 2009

Up and down week, but generally a week in the right direction.

Monday and it was Nat’s first day back after her hols. Unfortunately, as Nat arrived, I was consoling a kp in tears. So, I ran out to the car and asked Nat to give us 10 minutes or so. The reason for the tears was that we had learned that one of the first people at the scene of the accident had been looking to find out how Karen was. This itself wasn’t the problem, of course, more that Karen was interested in what this person had done at the time of the accident, and I had pointed Karen to the relevant bits of the blog which answered her question. In the blog, I had called the lady who was first at the scene Wendy Dougal. She was absolutely superb and was the one who helped kp until the emergency services arrived. It was this lady’s statement and looking back at the blog that gave Karen full realisation that it had happened to her and not someone else.

This had caused Karen to relive some of the accident as well. And whenever Karen looks backwards, she gets upset, or that is our experience anyway. So, we had a heart to heart, and managed to get the tears dried up, by restating what we know, ie that when kp looks back, we have upset, when she looks forward, she is at her best. Karen took this one stage further and asked me to get Nat in from the car to help get her refocussed, by talking about Nat’s holiday. It seemed to do the trick and a refocussed kp resulted (temporarily) :-) :-(

Nat and kp went off to the gym shortly after to do more “Fat Burn” levels of exercise. They were back in time for Rachel (OT). They did some more road crossing safety. That seems to be going very well. Our road is turning out to be a bit too quiet for kp now. At rush hour, it’s the opposite of course, but at the time Rachel came (2pm) it’s quiet :-( At the moment, Karen isn’t crossing the road herself per se, she is saying when she thinks it’s “safe to cross”. She has another 5 more road successful road crossings saying when it’s safe to cross, and then she moves on to the next stage.

Syd (Case Manager) phoned early on Tuesday to tell us that Natalie had handed her notice in :-( She will be leaving in October to move to London. But, Syd has got a replacement lined up, someone kp had already interviewed for the last job and who was the first choice, but couldn’t take the job at that time, so that’s worked out well :-)

In the afternoon, Karen went off for her swimming lesson at Whickham Villa with Nat. Gail met them there. Unfortunately, the pool had just been “dosed” and the water was not the usual “crystal clear” and the lesson had to be postponed, so the girls came back.

My best man, Paul Hannon, came around in the afternoon. We don’t think we’d seen him since the wedding !! So, we met him and his kids. We really enjoyed the catchup and had lots of laughs.

Nikki Brosnan was due at 5pm, but had to postpone because of the roadworks on the A1, which are causing lots of issues for the North East generally !! The A1 is like the artery of the North !

Wednesday was a gorgeous day and kp and Nat went to the gym and then gardened a good deal of the rest of the day, interspersing it with lots of breaks. I’ve been able to catch up with loads of heli revision this week – yay ! :-) But, I had done so much on wednesday, that I couldn’t take it in, so used a bit of gardening as a nice break from the studies, and it helped. I did all the heavy work for the girls, turning over the soil etc…..

Thursday was another beautiful day – more gardening for kp/Nat. I had a flying lesson in the afternoon and got some video to show kp what I was upto. Here it is, click here. I was back in time for Nikki’s rescheduled visit. Karen had been keen to chat with Nikki. She had been holding back tears generally because she wanted to know if she should deal with the accident itself. Karen and I have been watching House and Grey’s Anatomy, and invariably when there is a patient on these medical programs that is very serious, they have things wrong with them like “MOF/multiple organ failure, ARDS/acute resipatory distress syndrome etc….” and of course, I always have to shout to kp that “YOU HAD THAT !!”. Invariably, the patients on the programs die, and I have to say “You see how lucky you were”. Typing this, I feel stupid now, because I realise, that I’m not necessarily helping the matter by saying these things. ANYWAY, back to the story……so things like this and other stuff already mentioned have left kp thinking of the accident a lot, causing her tears and upset etc etc…….Karen knows I get upset if she gets upset, and so she has been doing the best she can to hide the upset from me.

So, kp was keen to know if she should deal with these issues, or keep distracting herself, looking forward, effectively ignoring these thoughts and tears. So, we sat down with Nikki and had about 30 minutes with Nat present before she left, then another 20 minutes with me, before SHOCK HORROR, kp asked me to leave the room ! Well, this is a first. I have never NOT been involved with kp’s care. That’s bad, double negative !!! I have ALWAYS been involved with kp’s care and for me to be asked to leave the room was a bit of a shocker to say the least, but kp reassured me, and I knew that it was nothing negative. I knew that she was doing it for my benefit ie to save me distress.

I was grateful in a way that I wasn’t part of the upset that followed. Karen and I are so close that we DO feel each other’s emotions. When she’s happy, I’m happy, when she’s upset, I’m upset. That’s good for the happy times…………..and bad for the down times ! I have felt so much pain over the last 4 years, that I don’t want any more. I’m quite a black/white kind of person and I can switch off from things quite easily most of the time, but that’s when I have control. I don’t have control over kp’s upset, so I always hate the times when she’s sad, as I am so helpless to fix it. So, I was pleased on an inner level to be given a break from the distress. Karen has not told me what happened at the meeting with Nikki as Nikki suggested to keep it to herself, and wait for the next meeting when Nikki will explain it to me. I’m happy with that. The good news is that although kp did get upset when I wasn’t there (she told me that much), she came out of the session very positive. Well done Nikki and kp of course :-)

Friday was another trip to the gym and the rescheduled Whickham Villa Swimming Lesson. Gym went fine but the swimming lesson involved more upset. Karen bumped into a young lad at Whickham Villa who’d had a brain injury. He was worse off than Karen in some areas, and kp realised again how lucky she was, but also how unlucky she was in other areas, another moment of realisation ! The swimming lesson was a bit awkward for kp as Gail’s swimming costume had gone AWOL, and she had accosted 2 physio lads to get in the pool with kp, so the lesson could continue. Well, kp felt very uncomfortable with having 2 lads help her in the water. But the swimming lesson went VERY well and kp did the best she’s ever done.

The weekend has been gardening and dog walking and weather-wise, it’s made for a good weekend.

I’ll end on a funny. Karen and I have been having a laugh over House (the american medical drama starring Hugh Laurie). We always try and predict what’s wrong (and of course we’re always incorrect), but we always predict what we think the problem is and what the treatment will be and we’re nearly always right. Only House viewers will find this amusing, but one of the possible problems is always Lupus and/or a tumour, and the remedies always involve LP (aka Lumbar Puncture), and/or MRI scans.

That’s it for this week’s blog……..

Here’s a photo my diving buddy sent me. Good piccy of me and a pipe snake fish……


Day 1578 to 1584. Monday 10th to Sunday 16th August 2009

Good week overall, but a real dip in it, but she bounced straight back from it, probably the most encouraging thing to take from it !!!

Monday, Nat took kp to the gym. On their return, Rachel (OT) arrived, and more road safety training. In the afternoon, the girls did more auditory attention training. kp had been struggling getting past a certain exercise. kp and I had done it about 15 times whilst Nat was on hols, and Nat and kp had done it more times the previous week, but this week, she cracked it !!! 30 out of 30 !!!

Well done kp. Now, it gets harder still, but the good news is that even if she doesn’t score 100%, she is training her brain, so it’s all good either way, even though it’s disheartening to consistently not get 100%.

No Nat on Tuesday (car problems) – but the weather was good, so kp could catch up on all the solo gardening she could do. I took Elsa to the vets because of an ear infection but that’s clearing up nicely now.

Wednesday and Karen had a neuropscyhe test for the case. It was mammoth, absolutely mammoth. Thankfully, it was within 2 miles of where we live at a place where they turn people into catholic priests. An idyllic and quiet location with beautiful grassy areas. I can tell I’m becoming a helicopter pilot, as I am thinking of everywhere as a potential landing area Would I get it in there ?

Anyway, back to kp. We went into the room with this neuropsychologist, and had about 45 minutes of “interview” (her words), and then I was asked to leave as she started the neuropsyche tests on Karen. After about 2 hours, a teary kp emerged, she was pig sick of “feeling stupid” (kp’s words). She had really struggled. The lady had said Karen could take a break when she got teary, but kp was adamant she wanted to get it over. She took a 20 minute break halfway through the day and then endured another 2 hour battery. Karen was very annoyed with the lady at one point. She was crying her eyes out because of the tests and the lady suggested, let’s take a break from the tests and continue “the interview”. Well, this made Karen on edge,

Karen :- “Why didn’t she just say ‘let’s take a break and have a chat ?’”

So, they had a chat, and with a teary Karen, they started chatting about the time in our lives when we couldn’t have kids and when her mum died. Of course, kp was still teary from the tests.

The Neuropsyche :- “I can see this still makes you upset !?”

Well, kp gave her “what for”.

kp:- “I am not upset about the kids and my mother. I’m crying ‘cos of your tests”


So, we arrived at 10.30am, and didn’t leave until 3.30pm and that was with 20 minutes break. Very hard going for kp.
I am pleased to say kp made a great recovery from the testing upset. Another good sign she is out of the depression. I still associate every bit of upset with the depressing times of a year ago, but continually, I am reassured by things like this, that the depression is in the past :-)

There was another test for this on Thursday. I can’t go into any detail, because kp has asked me not to include it in the blog. Before I go any further, this, in itself, is ANOTHER good sign that the old kp is back. kp was always a private person. When there’s been anything private, I’ve always asked kp if I can include it in the blog. Sometimes, I’ve been quite surprised that she’s said “yes”. The fact she is saying “No” is a sign that she’s back to her old self. Or, perhaps, I’m reading too much into it.

Anyway, something happened on Thursday, that I can’t go into detail about, but it was a bad night. Friday, after a nice visit to Angela’s, Nicky Brosnan (neuropsyche) came to see us. I’d already tipped her off, about the upset. She did an AMAZING job of turning both kp (AND me) around. Well done Nicky !!

Friday night we were once again positive again.

And the weekend has been a good one, dog walking and tv catching up.

No flying for me this week, partly due to weather, but mostly because I’ve been wanting to catch up on revision and it’s been busy with kp appointments.

Two lessons booked for next week. Karen has another busy week.

Day 1585 to 1591. Monday 17th to Sunday 23rd August 2009

Overall a good week, but with some big realisations for kp.

Monday started with Nat taking kp to the gym for an extra long session. She’s ramping things up a bit. On her return to maximise the weather, she took the dogs for a walk, which was too much and she later paid the price. Brain training concluded monday. The dog walking was meant to be Karen walking the dogs on her own, but she decided to do a trial run with Nat. Just as well, as kp got into difficulty getting the dogs back on the lead promptly when she needed to. This brought the first of the realisations and quite a few tears. Karen thought her only obstacle was building up her stamina to walk the dogs, but hadn’t thought of the intricacies of getting them back on the leads in a hurry when you’ve got to do it with just one hand. So, kp was quite down on the night. But, I can really see a change of attitude in kp. She is determined that this accident has took up enough of her life and she’s not about to let it have any more  !!!! Good for you love !! I think Karen understands how much her getting upset affects both of us, and is working really hard with Nicky Brosnan to get her mind thinking in the right way so that we can enjoy the good times together.

Tuesday, the girls went to Whickham Villa for a swimming lesson (for kp). She did brilliantly and did her first swimming since the accident WITHOUT any buoyancy aid !!! Both on her front and back too !!!! Well done kp. She was visibly thrilled when she returned !!! She knew how well she’d done without Gail (Swimming instructor/OT) having to tell her.

After a short break, she went shopping at Arnison for a bumper food shop !!! She’d agreed with Nat to do the shop herself, so Nat waited in the cafe. She ran into difficulties along the way and I got numerous phone calls about various issues. And in the end, she had to get Nat to help, as she had sooo much stuff !!!  Some road safety training concluded Tuesday.

Wednesday, the girls were due to go to Whitby, but Karen wanted to make the most of the sun and do some gardening. They also took the dogs for a short walk to get in some more road safety training. Jane was due to come but had difficulties so she had to postpone her visit. I went to do some exams at the flying school

Thursday, brain training and road safety and a trip to the hairdressers. Unfortunately, Karen never came back from the hairdressers. This other woman with blonde hair came back. Her name is “Blondie” !! ;-)

Friday, the girls went to the Metro. They had to be back in time for me to take kp to see a consultant at Durham hospital. They were back in time and when we arrived at the hospital, we found we had the wrong dates. DOH !!! We were out by a month !!! It’s in September ! Few tears on the night time following another moment of realisation, but then kp picked herself up and by the time Big Brother came on, she was able to laugh hysterically at Rodrigo’s “No, you shut up !”

Saturday, Karen was looking forward to some time by herself. She spent the whole day gardening, tv watching, gardening, tv watching etc … Even I wasn’t home as I had gone for some flying lessons.

Today has been writing emails and blogs.

So, kp has been going through the mill a bit with her realisations this week, but because of her strong attitude and determination, she’s been bouncing back !

Day 1592 to 1598. Monday 24th to Sunday 31st August 2009

Great week. Jam packed and great !

Monday and Patti came to the house and together, kp and Patti interviewed Sharon (the new support worker). She seems canny. I got involved when it came to the driving section and we went out for a drive with her. She drove fine.

After Patti and Sharon left, Nat arrived and the girls went shopping.

Tuesday and Adele came up with the kids (Abbie and Louisa). They stayed until Thursday and we all had a great time. They are really well behaved and a pleasure to have. On Tuesday afternoon, we all went to Beamish. Perfect weather for it.

Despite they’re being trams/buses between the various parts of Beamish, kp was still knackered by the end.

Here’s  the video of Beamish…..

On the night time we all watched Mamma Mia with pizza and then the girls went to sleep after dp read a Gruffalo story.

kp and I slept very well that night !!

The following day, we all went shopping. Tesco & Pound shop kind of shopping.  Not the most fun, but the girls enjoyed it.

Thursday and we all went to Hall Hill Farm. A few tears on this trip (from Louisa who was bitten by a rabbit). Here’s the video of Hall Hill Farm….

The kids returned on Thursday and despite them being excellent, we always enjoy the peace when they’ve gone.

Friday and Nicky Brosnan (neuropsyche) came at 11.30am. It was a very good session. No tears from kp, and a fruitful session.

Saturday and the next bout of kids – this time, my nephew/niece (Sophie(7)and James(5)). Being much similar ages and being very excited, there were many more squabbles. They’d squabble at squabbling. Good example……

dp :- Tomorrow, we’re going to get up early and walk the dogs
Jamie :- Can I take Elsa on the lead ?
Sophie :- No, I want to take Elsa on the lead !
dp :- Let’s toss a coin for it and then it’s fair
Sophie :- ok
Jamie :- ok
dp :- Now, are you both going to be happy with the result of the toin coss ?
Reluctant nods all round.

dp :- ok……Who wants to be tails ?
Jamie :- I do !
Sophie :- I do !

So, we ended up toin cossing for the toin coss, with me allocating Sophie “heads” because the Queen was female like Sophie. What else could I do !?

Crikey !!! Where is ACAS when you need it ?!

It was a challenging 24 hours, but we enjoyed it all the same. Sophie was a bit of a diva at times, and I ended up having a chat with her along the following lines……

dp :- Right Sophie, we need to have a chat. If something doesn’t go your way, you tend to get into a strop. Do you know what that means ?
Sophie did a wry smile.
dp:- The problem with that is it means you’re being a bit of a spoiled brat.
Sophie gave a puzzled look
dp :- Do you know “Bratz” the dolls ?
Sophie :- Yes
dp :- Well, like that.

At this, she looked like she was going to cry…..

dp :- You see what I mean.

I think I gave her a hug at this point and said that this is the kind of thing she needs to avoid so that we enjoy our time together.

She understood. Later strops we gave no attention to and let her cry them out. It seemed to do the trick. The last strop saw her cry herself to sleep. And she woke up absolutely fine in the morning.

Here’s some video of Sophie and James……

We handed Sophie and James back at lunchtime on the Sunday and then went straight to Marge’s to see Marge, Mark, Tracey, Megan and Tommy.

Marge cooked us a gorgeous shepherd’s pie !     And we played games all day long with the kids.

Last night, we were alone in a quiet house and it was great. It’s funny that at one point, we were really sad we couldn’t have kids, but now we really appreciate our time on our own.

Today (Bank Holiday Monday), we are chillin’ in da hood !

. Page Hits View Stats