Wednesday, 29 June 2011

29th June 2011

I returned to the hospital from home, Thursday, 23rd, to collect Steven to take him home for the first time, just happening to coincide with his birthday on 25th. WE had a good journey except for the last 5kms of a 200kms journey when he felt motion sickness, not surprising really, being so long without going for long journeys. It was emotional for him to see the house. He walked from the car to the house, and walked around the house in relative comfort, using as many handholds as he could. We had a very full weekend of activities. Briefly:- people jumping over fires on the local beaches; grand firework display accompanied by music; stroll around town; proper haircut for the first time for 8months; hugs and kisses from people coming out of shops when they saw him; meal at his favourite restaurant, and where he used to work, meeting many staff from that and other nearby restaurants, many of them moved to tears; meeting of friends, one who had seen him in his coma, at yet another restaurant; a full chill-out day for his birthday receiving messages from friends; barbecue at a friend’s house, who had also seen him in the early days; 10metre tracker firework; visit to Sacko’s bar for a mini-party, well wishers, music, 20metre tracker firework, cake in the shape of crash test dummies; visit at home from Eddie and Alex from FCTF fan club, bringing with them monies collected from many sources; visit to Los Frutales Sports bar for Steven to meet up with many of his friends, many who had seen him in the coma stage, another 10metre tracker firework; visit to the last bar he worked in, Legends, again to see colleagues who saw him in his coma; dip in the pool at home; visit by a friend who had a similar accident several years ago and who was told he’d never walk again, well he did, and he’s an inspiration to Steven; then the long drive back to the hospital which was interrupted by a traffic jam for an earlier accident.
The whole weekend was brilliant in all respects. Except for Steven feeling a little overwhelmed by the crowds at the fireworks on the beach, he coped admirably with everything. He only used his wheelchair for short periods, mainly doing his best to walk just holding hands. Thank you to all his friends for making him feel comfortable and welcome. At times it was very emotional for all concerned, after all, it was last November when I was ‘phoning family and friends to say we were going to lose Steven, and we didn’t expect to celebrate this birthday, but he’s proved that with a lot of care and determination, he’s going to recover fully.
Steven and us must give our thanks to everyone from this site and from the FCTF for the monies collected. I have told him every message, card, and gift, received of support for him from everyone. It makes us marvel that such wonderful people are out there caring for someone who in many respects is a total stranger. But these people are no longer strangers but friends. Steven and us can only offer our grateful thanks. Steven will use the monies to buy a television for his bedroom, and a good quality laptop case. Both will help in his recuperation. Once again THANK YOU.
From Monday, Steven was a little depressed, probably thinking of the weekend. He knows he’s in the best place, and hopefully the weeks will seem shorter now, because we are going to try to go home more often.
Best regards Terry

Thursday, 23 June 2011

23rd June 2011

Last weekend Pauline and I took Steven into Alzira for a change of scenery. After visiting a bar for an essential "Pepito de casa" of bacon and cheese, we went for a trip around the town. For a modern town we were disappointed at the state of awareness for wheelchair users. Very few ramps at road junctions, and deep kerbs. We of course managed with just a little discomfort for Steven. After another visit to bar for a coke we returned home, where Steven had some time with his dog. It's good to see them being re-aquainted. We have been given permission for Steven to return home for the following weekend (starts today Thursday 23rd). So Pauline and I made the decision to return home with the dog, and prepare the house. We had 3 days at home hopefully making it wheelchair friendly, and the pool cleaned. Steven in the meantime has worked really hard to walk properly. He's been instructed to walk a little faster, and to swing his arms as normal. He does this but is nervous in doing so. He finds it difficult to maintain his balance, but as we keep saying, he's determined to get better. He's been in the hospital pool again, floated a little better. The physio's are continuing to be pleased with his progress, especially one who has returned from a long leave of absence and seen his difference. Steven is looking forward to his weekend with excitement and apprehension. We have a few schemes in mind, but the main party will be when he returns home for good.
Best regards

Thursday, 16 June 2011

16th June 2011

another good few days. Steven has a new ankle support which is a system of elasticated straps and velcro, and this helps the front of the foot to lift, hopefully to prevent flat footed walking. It's difficult for him to get used to, but he's a trier. The walking is improving in stages. At the moment he's walking a little flat-footed, almost a shuffle, and with his left leg taking a longer stride than his right leg. This is because he's had a heavy plastic orthopaedic boot on his left leg for such a long time. This action causes him to move towards the right, and not in a straight line requiring much adjustment. He's also walking slow, because he's having to "tell" all his body bits to move. He's been told to try to walk faster so that he hasn't got time to think and "tell" the legs to move. He's tried this for short periods and it does work. Sometimes he just glides, and it's brilliant. He's also climbing steps, that's enabled him to visit us at our rented house. We continue to let him have time out of the hospital, shops, cafes, etc, but he doesn't like people staring at him. Wednesday afternoon when Paul went to collect Steven from physio', he was called to the physio' dept' by all the other carers, to see Steven walking with a tripod walker. This is the first time Paul had seen Steven walking independantly. Earlier Steven said he'd been walking with no aids, just leaning with one hand on the wall. The walking is improving faster than anticipated, but there's a possibility he'll need new orthopaedic items to help him, and/or an operation on his left foot. That evening he came down to the house with Paul, he sat in an armchair, and played on Paul's Playstation 3. He was able to use the hand controls with some ease. His talking is improving, sounding more like the old Steven. After a pizza and garlic bread, he returned to the hospital room. Today Thursday he was in the hospital swimming pool, and again tried to swim, the crawl stroke, but his legs sink. But a little better than last week. There is still a sense of depression mainly due to sheer frustration. He knows he's slowly getting better but it's not fast enough for him, and he wants to be out of here, now. So we're having to rein him in and slow him down a little. He still hasn't been taught to shave, shower, or climb steps, but he's doing all these things with great care and under constant observation by us.
best regards

Thursday, 9 June 2011

9th June 2011

Hiya,an excellent week. Several improvements. Last Friday evening, Steven walked 200metres with the aid of a walking frame, followed by an 80 metre walk just holding my hand. He seems to walk better when he goes at a faster pace, because he then hasn't got time to think about what he's doing. When he walks slow he's thinking about his toes, his ankle, his knees and his legs, "telling" each part to do it's bit. He has a tendency to have a longer pace with his left foot, probably due to the heavy boot he has to wear normally, but not when he’s using the frame. After this mini-marathon he had a shower, by himself, this giving him yet more, but small, independance. However the following day, he'd been bubbled by the shower police, and was admonished for having a shower without proper training. This is what is beginning to annoy us about this place. Despite all their wonderful work, they insist on slowing him down at every opportunity instead of giving him constructive criticism. He was then told off for shaving himself, despite the fact he's been doing this for over a month. Every new thing Steven does, is closely monitored by us, until we allow him to do things for himself. He takes great pride in doing everything he can, to get better, not wishing to be a burden on anyone, he just wants to get out of here for the right reasons, he has a life to live. After the shower, I took Steven in the car to our rented house, where he climbed 5 steps to the patio, to sit in a patio chair, and enjoy a coffee with us. He hasn't been taught to climb steps yet, we await the warning!! On our return to the hospital I was told off for not signing Steven out from the hospital, apparently a hanging offence if the 2 tellings off are to be believed. Saturday morning, after signing Steven out, we made a trip to Alzira for a walk around a superstore, before having a burger and coke at McDonalds, which we all thoroughly enjoyed. Sunday morning we all went to Corbera for a car boot sale. A relaxing walk round although at times it did get a little too crowded for the wheelchair. These trips out are so important, it gets Steven away from those 4 walls, gives him fresh air, and up to a point gives him some control on where he goes, and what he does. He's getting more confident with his speaking, the melodious tone is returning, but he still has a little difficulty moving his neck and jaw. Monday, Pauline and I had another 3 day break, leaving Steven in the very capable hands of Paul. They also went to McDonalds, as well as small trips around the hospital grounds. Steven continued to shower and shave despite what the hospital staff say. Wednesday evening Steven and Paul came down to join us at the rented house, and again Steven climbed the steps, this time with some ease. Thursday morning, today, Steven was in the swimming pool for the first time. He tried swimming but found it difficult to float, which is slightly important. Although Steven’s brain has been re-booted and re-formatted, he is unlikely to be able to breathe like a fish. He found it difficult to walk in the pool due to the action of the water forcing him to slightly lose his balance.
So, a good week. Lots of small trips, and life is getting a little easier for all of us. Steven continues to work with determination, and we will continue to encourage him to do so.
Best regards Terry