Tuesday, 18 December 2012

18th December 2012

Not a lot of changes with Steven. There are improvements so small but important. His biggest problem is the pain which is permanent, being caused mainly by false brain signals. He's tried many pills, but they either don't work or due to the amount taken, have side effects. So, following a team meeting with the main Doctors, Steven has been prescribed Sativex in a spray form. If you Google this you will see that it's the active ingredients of marijuana, and is only prescribed as a last resort. But there are many issues with this drug, and is still illegal in many places so it took time to actually get it authorised. He obtained this today so we await the results. Also the physio' team are suggesting that Steven reduce his time at the hospital. They say this is to remove the comfort blanket of hospital, and give him more confidence, and encourage him to exercise at home even more. On the face of it, this sounds a good idea, but owing to the slow process of bureaucracy here, Steven feels he is once again being abandoned and forgotten about, and this has upset him deeply. If only the banks, court, insurance, and social security just contact him to say what was happening, he would feel as if he was a person and not a number, but we're getting no information at all, and that's with the solicitor having the same problems. It really is a big thing when Steven gets upset, he doesn't eat nor sleep, and can get depressed and moody even with his close friends, thus slowing down a fragile recovery. Of course it doesn't help us either when he's in this state, it depresses us as well. Steven has continued with his dental treatment, he's had 3 teeth out, about 12 fillings and now has a brace on his lower teeth, total cost about £2,000, and more to come. We will try to claim this from the insurance because there's no doubt most of these problems were caused by being unable to clean his teeth for over 6 months. Today we learned that Steven is to have another operation on his left elbow. The calcification has returned making movement difficult, and more pain. This operation will be early in the New Year, with the pre-operation checks starting this Thursday. Steven is remaining positive. We have just had an amazing long weekend where his big brother Mark came over from UK, and with Paul, it’s the first time they were able to stand together for a very long time. They even went on the go-karts, but Steven had to stop early due to the vibration causing pain, however he did enjoy what he did, and was pleased that he was able to “drive”. This is yet another victory for him, showing that with continued progress, one day he may actually be able to drive a car on the open road. Nothing is stopping him achieve his goal of the return of normality, even if it does take a long time. Best regards Terry

Tuesday, 20 November 2012

20th November 2012

Over the last weekend was the first anniversary of Steven leaving hospital. It was Steven who unknowingly reminded us of this, after a friend had said to him that he looked completely different to when he last saw him a few months ago. In that year he's made remarkable progress, and it's only when people see him locally and make comment, that we realise the differences to his looks and demeanour. We see the very small differences that other people can’t see, but other people see the accumulated result of all these improvements. One day whilst walking with Steven, and approaching someone coming the other way, Steven did a shoulder shuffle without changing his pace. A very small but important change, he's learning to do more than one thing at once. He did this without thinking, and without falling. At physiotherapy one day, he fell on his backside, hard, on the floor, missing the protection mats. This jarred all his muscles on his left hand side, and put them into spasm, so he's been unable to go to Tai Chi for a while until it all settles down. Steven has learned that, though he can read, he cannot read out loud, because he can only see and say about two words ahead, but ordinary silent reading he's fine. Not a huge problem, but it does show how he can't do some things together with something else. This is how he is with his Spanish/English translation, he used to be very quick, but now much slower. Things that we take for granted, he's having to re-learn everything, and there's the frustration. I honestly don't know where he gets his patience from. Best regards Terry

Wednesday, 31 October 2012

31st October 2012

Tonight is the 731st day, or 2 years, since Steven’s life-changing accident. In that time he has made constant, but exceedingly slow and difficult progress to regain an acceptable level of fitness and good health. From those early days at death’s door, through arduous treatments, to today’s improved mobility, it’s been an incredible journey for all of us. He remains totally determined to return as near as he can to normality. Where he is managing remarkably well, I am still finding it almost impossible to accept that the injustice of it all. I am still burning with anger and distress, despite knowing that I cannot change what’s happened. It certainly makes sense of the old adage to live life as best you can because you don’t know what’s going to happen next. All we can do is support Steven in every way that we can. He spends more and more time in his own house, cooking, cleaning, etc, and mostly enjoying his own company after so long having people around him 24/7. This is giving him limited independence, and adds to his general build-up of confidence. But that doesn’t stop us worrying about him. At times we think he’s coping with the situation far better than we are. Steven still has minor issues with his mind, in that he can get stressed and upset easily, and is frustrated that his Spanish to English translation isn’t as swift as it used to be. His speech whether Spanish or English, is improving in loudness and vocalisation, again due to his increased general confidence. One big downside is that Steven’s pain may never totally disappear due to the disrupted or broken nerve connections in his brain. In other words any pain he is experiencing “may” be coming from his brain, and not any particular part of his body, this is also very frustrating. Hopefully increased activity may help him to “forget” the pain. The hospital staff at San Jaime who have really made a difference to his current health, are pleased with his progress, and admire Steven’s conviction that one day he will be able to live life again. His daily physio’ treatment is being complimented by regular Tai Chi classes, which are helping his stature, his co-ordination and balance, and ultimately his confidence. Plans are being made to teach him to run, and enquiries are being made about him learning to drive in an adapted vehicle. When we see Steven now, walking as if with a sprained ankle or strained back, it’s difficult to realise how this has been accomplished when remembering the early days of coma, wheelchair, hoists, breathing and eating via tubes, cleaning of terrible open wounds, unimaginable pain, and the horrors of the mind. We thank all of you who have followed this story, and thank you for your continued support. Best regards Terry

Friday, 19 October 2012

19th October 2011

Hiya, a small update on Steven's progress. Physiotherapy is still ongoing, and the Doctor's are really pleased with the amount of work Steven is putting into his recovery. He is spending more and more time on a treadmill, both freestanding and holding on. We can see the difference it makes to his walking. He's still a little stiff and unsure of himself, but we do see small improvements. Occasionally he does walk with "attitude", that is, swinging his arms and hips, but it's short-lived. He can now look around while he's walking, making it more natural, and it's better than staring at the floor all the time. He has also started lessons in Tai Chi, organised by the local council. He's only been to 2 lessons, and he finds it very rewarding and informative. Tai Chi is helping him immensely with his confidence and relaxation, and that's only after 2 lessons. Unfortunately it brings back memories of his past life as a kick-boxer. But that makes him more determined to improve. He and we have had a very busy couple of weeks, what with physiotherapy and Tai Chi, he's also had an acupuncture session, and several dental treatments. The dental treatments are needed for the amount of neglect after the accident. We were unable to clean his teeth for several months. As well as a wisdom tooth removed, he has had 3 fillings and a very painful thorough clean, needs 6 more fillings, and he's had a brace fitted to his lower teeth, which will need adjusting every month for a year. As if he hasn't had enough pain to contend with. We maintain that the damaged wisdom tooth and the subsequent dental treatment is a direct result of the accident, and have informed his solicitor accordingly. Best regards Terry

Monday, 1 October 2012

6th September 2012

Hiya, Steven continues to make excellent progress. I recently took him to England for the occasion of his Aunty Linda's and Uncle John's 40th wedding anniversary. He took a long time to decide to make this trip, after being given many opportunities to may his choice. To do the trip there were many hurdles to overcome, the trip to the airport, the trek from check-in to aeroplane, the flight, the trip from the 'plane to the car park, then the journey from the airport to Hinckley. He coped with all this admirably, with help from the airport authorities and different car drivers,(he is still nervous in a car). Only two cousins knew of the arrangement, to everyone else it was going to be totally unexpected and a complete surprise. At Hinckley he met with his elder brother, and his new 2yr old nephew (for the first time), plus cousins and friends. At a later party he met with more cousins and Aunties and Uncles and friends. Of course there were tears all round, but after a few minutes all was fine. He stayed with his cousin to give him a little independance. We did all the usual things on a short trip to UK, we went shopping, went for an Indian meal, had other family get-togethers, and visited Grandparent's graves. The journey home after only 3 days was similar with the obstacles, but again he coped. He's overcome so much in the last 22months and this trip was a huge learning curve, and a complete success. It's given him more confidence to travel and be with different people. At one point he was standing at his Aunty's house, and stood totally relaxed with his hands in his pockets, without even realising what he was doing. Again a seemingly insignifcant step, but before, he's always said that when he stand he feels wooden and can't relax, this was totally different and brilliant. At physiotherapy, the staff are re-training him to walk properly. Previously he has been told to walk in a particular way by "kicking" his left leg forward, (remember he has to tell his body what to do), now he is being taught to raise his left knee more, and to walk slightly slower. It does make a difference. He's also been instructed in a new way of helping him talk, and that's by way of tapping a leg (or similar) at a speed corresponding to syllables, an old trick used by my late cousin who had a speech defect, to great effect. Steven has gained enough confidence to meet up with friends for a small beach party, making light of the fact that if he fell over it wouldn't hurt so bad on sand. They were all surprised as to his improvement. Another day whilst Steven was in town speaking to an old friend, I saw someone who I thought I recognised. I went to him, and in my poor Spanish confirmed who he was. I immediately called Steven, and this man put his hand to his head and dropped his face in disbelief. He, Ricardo, was one of Steven's nurses who looked after him in those first days after the accident, when Steven in his coma, was connected to all manner of tubes etc. The man immediately had "goosebumps" and couldn't believe the condition of Steven. Steven had no idea who he was until I told him, but after a long chat, and laughs, they parted with big hugs and handshakes, brilliant. best regards Terry

1st October 2012

Hiya, Today is the 700th day since Steven's accident. In the early days there was much to "write" here due to the treatments and ultimately the progress of Steven. We soon began to realise that this was going to be a long haul, and this has come true. Steven is improving but slowly. Physically he seems fine, it's just a matter of his brain teaching the left side of his body to copy the right side. His determination continues. Steven is being given different exercises to help him walk. He is spending more time on a treadmill, and is beginning to get some attitude to his walking, i.e. swinging his arms and hips, however he cannot do this for long, and can only get better. Further exercises will include walks outside the hospital on fairly rough and uneven ground. This is because Steven has made it his intention to attempt the pilgrimage walk of the Camino de Santiago. This is a long walk throughout Spain, and is in many separate stages, finishing at a Cathedral in Compostella de Santiago. Steven and his companions will attempt the final section, of about 7 daily stages, of about 20kms each. There is no target date, but the San Jaime hospital will do what they can to get him ready for this, and may in fact sponsor him to do this. Today Steven saw the "brain" doctor, for an assessment. He was happy with Steven's progress. The doctor confirmed that a lot of Steven's problems are caused by the damage between the main sections of his brain. Basically his emotional side is working faster than the movement side. This makes Steven seem quite abrupt in his speech and actions. This is very frustrating for him. Further, the same area of damage to his brain controls the amount of pain he's receiving. Although he is in constant pain down the whole of his left side, the pain is coming from the brain, not the body. This may not be corrected, however with increased mobility, the brain may 'forget' the pain. When the doctor asked why Steven doesn't show he's in pain, Steven replied that if he did he would just give in. best regards Terry

Monday, 13 August 2012

13th August 2012

Hiya Another mixed bag of good and bad news. Steven has been able to squat down from a standing position and return, without holding any support. Further, he was able to walk forward, do a 360deg' turn on his right foot and continue walking, without stopping and without support. Another day whilst waiting at a lift, a lot of people came out. Now normally Steven would stand still and let the people walk past him, but this day he immediately stepped sideways to his left. The move was automatic and not planned. These actions may seem small to some people, but to us and Steven it's massive. Amongst this we had another minor crisis when Steven felt really out of sorts, not eating, not sleeping, bad dreams, dry mouth, and irritable. It was Steven himself who suspected the cause was his current set of medication, and when I read the adverse reactions, they were nearly all there. So we/he stopped taking them and within two days he was back to a more natural state. The hospital however said that it was all in Steven's mind. This annoys Steven because he then thinks he's going crazy. Yet again we await a meeting to settle this. Whatever happens he is determined not to have any more pills and do his best to put up with any pain. One worrying feature that's reared it's head is that Steven is beginning to worry about his future, especially in relation to our health. We've had to convince Steven that this is normal within any family, because no-one knows what's going to happen tomorrow. This also came at a time when a friend of ours out here sadly passed away very unexpectedly. It's at these times when we can't make our mind up whether Steven is more intelligent, or as he says, he's aware of how precious life is and he is just more grown up. Best regards Terry

Monday, 30 July 2012

30th July 2012

Hiya Life for us is getting more manageable and easier. Whereas before we were busy, or had to be prepared to be busy, 24hrs a day, life is much simpler due to the fewer hospital appointments. Roughly our days start at 7.45am when I have to make sure Steven is awake. He has to be at the hospital for 9am, but we never know how long he'll be there, it can be anytime between 11am and 1pm, so there's little we can do in that time. Also whenever we see Steven we never know what mood he's going to be in. He has a few mental issues, in that he gets stressed and upset very easily, but he hasn't been really upset now for about a month or so. Also, we, nor he, knows what his pain level is going to be, and that depends on his sleep, his household chores, and what they do to him in physio'. Usually now, that's it, our afternoons and evenings are generally free, but we always have to be at close call for any problems. He's doing so well at looking after himself in his own house, cooking cleaning etc. But sometimes he may drop something, and we then have to convince him that we all drop things and it's not his brain damage. He's gradually growing up and becoming the young man he wants to be. It's been very strange watching him grow from babyhood again, difficult to believe but that's what it's been like. He's had crying sessions, tantrums, awkward teenager times. But now he's growing mentally, and the problem there is, that he knows how he used to be and it's upsetting him trying to be that young man again, and it may not happen, but my goodness you should see him try. His stay at the spa was a treat for himself. He took advantage of all the treatments available, full body showers, body and/or foot and/or head massage, a la carte food, and cost a bomb, but it was so much worth it. He will do it again but probably as a day treatment guest. We try to go out for meals with Steven to his favourite restaurants, this gets him used to going out and meeting/talking to different people. One particular night we went into town for a meal, as we did so he walked past many of his old haunts, and he "bumped" into over 20people who knew and worked with him. Their reactions to him were amazing, all knowing what had happened to him. It did give him a tremendous boost. But he does get stressed when there's too many people about, especially shopping. He has to be careful now that he doesn't use a walking stick, because when people see him they see a fit young man, walking slowly, with no obvious damage. He still has problems with change of direction and his balance. So we have to walk in a way that tries to protect him. The physio' team are really helping him with new exercises, especially for his left foot. He is now able to move his foot, slightly, in all directions, this making his walk much more natural. Still slow but improving. But this is beginning to make us wonder about the many opinions we've received from different doctors, whether to remove the foot, change tendons over, operate on the ankle to make it rigid. But with his determination and the physio' things are improving. He has had another session of acupuncture, this time 24 needles. He swears that it's making a difference to his pain level and mobility. He will have more sessions, and then hopefully he won't need many more. We are now in possession of all Steven's hospital records from immediately after the accident. Over 40pages of medical reports over a period of just a few days. The conclusion at that time was that his recovery was "improbable". Well he's proved them wrong. There are also over 2,500 x-rays and CAT scans showing incredible damage to his body. He and we have seen the breaks in his neck, ribs, hip joint, pelvis, and leg, the bleeding in his liver, and the bleeding in the brain. The damage is frightening to see, particularly the pelvis and brain. But what these records do show, is that, even though the outcome was doubtful, the hospital staff did everything in their power to "fix" him, and obviously we will be forever grateful. best regards Terry

Saturday, 14 July 2012

14th July 2012

Hiya, Monday evening Steven had a revision of his problems and the treatment being given especially in relation to the amount of pain he is in. After this he had an acupuncture session, where 20 needles were put on his neck, back, wrists, elbow, forehead, shins and feet. He only painfully felt one pin in his back, and one near his toes, apart from those he never felt a thing. Almost immediately he began to feel different. He was able to move his head side to side for the first time for months, and other pains were reduced. His frowning stopped and he looked fresher in his face. Overall he was pleased after the 2 hour session, at the end of which the needles just began to fall out on their own, weird. He has another session in two weeks time. This morning he was fine, having had an excellent sleep. It was obviously worth trying, and we will continue to do what we can to investigate any means of treatment. Steven has had a good relatively pain free week, however this has allowed the physio' team to put him through extra exercises which creates their own pain, he can't win!!. His whole demeanour has changed this week, a combination of good food, the acupuncture, and the physio'. The physio' psychiatry team are also talking to him, and this has brought on new problems. When this hospital initially saw Steven's doctor's reports, they said that if they hadn't seen Steven and just relied on the reports they wouldn't have considered treating him. I think that this has brought more challenges to the hospital staff them having never been able to speak to someone who has had such catastrophic brain injuries and survived. Steven has been able to explain what he felt and experienced whilst in his coma and in PTA. This is confusing the staff and are taking literally everything that Steven says, or not understanding him at all. There's no doubt that Steven has become more intelligent, whether that's as a result of the injury, or being around intelligent people (I don't mean us I mean doctors etc in team meetings) I don't know. Steven speaks eloquently and beautifully about his experiences. This week he tried to explain that even now he still feels "wooden". It's as though his body doesn't belong to him. He knows what he has to do but has to tell his body what to do. The hospital just cannot understand this and it's causing confusion and stress for Steven. Steven explains it in this manner. If for example he needs to open a bottle he knows that the procedure is to hold the bottle with one hand, and the bottle top with the other, he then has to twist the bottle and top in different directions, using the correct amount of strength to do so. To everyone else this is simple and is as easy as going from A to B. However, Steven's brain has to tell the body to go to C then D then E then F then G before reaching B. Everything he does is the same, he knows what to do but everything is much slower due to the route that the brain takes to get the job done. This applies to speaking, walking, everything. This is particularly frustrating to Steven when it comes to speaking. Before the accident he could, for example, listen to Spanish music or speech and instantly translate that to English. Now, he can still translate, but it's not immediate. Also when speaking Spanish he no longer has the Spanish accent, he speaks Spanish as an English person. It's the same with the English language. In Spanish, every letter in each word is pronounced, you cannot do this with the English language because there are so many English words with unneccesary silent letters, and this is now confusing Steven. To us it's as though Steven is reliving a childhood, and is learning and growing in every respect, but whereas a child has never done these things before, he has, and that's the confusion. Steven has explained to the staff that whilst in his coma he saw "God". Steven is not religious in any way, but when in his coma, he saw a man with a long white beard and long white hair approach him and be very close to him. In not a religious way at all he could only think that he saw the popular image of God. What happened was, during the night of 6th January, one of the Three Kings in popular Spanish culture visited the patients at the hospital in way that Father Christmas visits English hospitals. One of these Three Kings is black, and Steven gave the staff that King's name by mistake, which the staff immediately thought that Steven's God was black. This created so much confusion to the point of upsetting Steven. He was able to explain it correctly, but we fear now that incorrect facts have been written about him in his hospital file, which I must address. It's frightening to think what people in comas could be experiencing. Steven was able to see, hear, and think, but was unable to do anything about what he was experiencing. Steven is living proof that family and friends, and even hospital staff must be aware that coma patients are indeed very much aware of their surroundings. This weekend Steven and us have confident enough to allow Steven to have 3 days at a local Hotel and Spa. Hopefully this will give him extra confidence. He will be in his own room with a different view, eating top quality food, and having all manner of treatments including jacuzzi, hot and cold baths, and massages, all in a tranquil atmosphere. He's only a few miles away and we can be there in 15 minutes if he needs us. best regards Terry

Thursday, 5 July 2012

5th July 2012

Hiya, the depression continues, although it seems to be reducing, or hidden away for a while. There's no doubt that it all stems from another birthday. This then brings back memories of how he celebrated his birthday with beach party and fireworks with friends. It's summertime and there are so many people out there enjoying themselves, but he can't join in, though he does enjoy looking at the scantily dressed young ladies. He's also receiving a lot of psychiatric help. He's being told to forget the past and concentrate on the future. He's been told that the past has gone, and he may never be like he was. In other words he has to accept what's happened and adapt. Of course this is so difficult, for him and for us, we've seen a young man in the prime of his life cut down to how he is now. Steven is happy to continue working hard to regain his strength, but all he is being told is that he will do this one day. If he could be given a specific day he would be happy, he just doesn't know when that day will be. Believe me he is working hard, we see his face every single day, and see the amount of effort he puts in. Wednesday he was told by the physio' team to put away his walking stick. He tried this before but it didn't work, maybe that was too early. So he's trying again. Without the stick he does walk a little faster, but this will then create muscle pain as he exercises more. As a reminder he still has to "tell" every part of his body what to do. It's not just a matter of walking, he has to "tell" his arms, shoulders, legs, feet, everything how to move. The idea is that once he does more, the body will re-learn what to do. Whilst walking he cannot look around or else he loses concentration, he has to look at the ground immediately in front of him. Without the stick it will be even more difficult, because people approaching him from any direction will have no idea of the problems he's facing. It's almost as if he'll need a poster round his neck due to the no obvious signs of injury. Pain killing medicines seem to have little effect, so next Monday he's commencing a course of acupuncture. Thank you for all your support. We have just received word of Ian Wykes' fund rasing activity climbing to Mount Everest Base Camp, and Steven was genuinely overwhelmed at the response especially from total strangers who were customers of Body Shop, thank you. best regards Terry

Monday, 25 June 2012

25th June 2012

180612 After all the successes of the last few weeks etc, I thought I'd tell you about one day this week. Firstly, after I had 'phoned Steven to wake him, he then lay-in, only to be woken by me knocking at his door. Having so harshly been woken up, he's half asleep, which makes him slower than normal. That's slower in his speech and walking, this then depresses him. I took him, late, to his physio', where he apologized and was rightly told "it happens". As I keep telling him, you don't need to have brain damage to forget something, or drop something, lose something, or lie-in, but despite all this he thinks it's his brain damage that causes this. I try to tell him it's normal, but it's difficult for him to see it like that. After picking him up an hour or so later, we go for his usual coffee with Baileys. By now his mood has brightened until he smiled and I saw some green in his teeth. He couldn't get it out, so I did and showed him. It was a huge piece of spinach from the previous night's pizza. This really upset him, knowing that people at the hospital would have seen this and not told him. He became depressed again, despite me saying that everyone makes silly mistakes. We then went shopping for odds and ends, and he saw a new ice-cream he wanted to try, so I said go for it, no problem treat yourself. In the middle of the large supermarket he just broke down in tears. I tried to make light of it but it's so hard. He really does try so hard and for the life of me I cannot see how he keeps going on, trying to be so positive against what seems to be insurmountable problems. 210612 I hope that this describes the amount of anger that I have towards the taxi insurance. Steven was very upset after he received a telephone call from the insurers asking to see him at Alicante the following day, i.e. without any adequate notice, so much so that the nurse at physiotherapy had to stop his treatment. I can understand insurers wanting to see Steven in the early days and a couple of weeks ago to check his progress, but why now so soon? Did the insurers honestly expect to see Steven come running up the stairs as if by some divine providence that he has been totally cured? The insurers have access to all of Steven's hospital and Doctor's reports. The insurers have seen Steven. The insurers can easily telephone San Jaime Hospital. Steven cannot hide his condition, we know any recovery will take a long time, so why the continual requests to see him, do they not trust the Doctor's reports and the evidence of their own eyes? We are all very angry and upset. 250612 The last week has been quite emotional. Steven has been told by the hospital staff that it is time for him to accept that he may never be the same as he was. Steven does actually know this because we've discussed it at length, but he doesn't like to face the truth. As he says, it hurts him to think how he was, and how he is now through no fault of his own. We've covered this so many times before, but it's hard for him to accept, and causes deep depression. On top of all that, this week he's had to contend with, what to him, has always been an important week in the past. This week in Spain is the festival of San Juan, and this involves lots of burning of incredibly made statues, bbq's on the beach, bonfires on the beach, jumping over the fires, lots of noise, dancing in a party atmosphere, and an amazing firework display. And all this happens on the Eve of his birthday. He cannot be in large crowds of people, he cannot walk or stand on the beach, he cannot stand for long periods, and despite an offer from friends to carry him to the beach he felt he could not demean himself to take the offer. It got to the point where he had a full-on breakdown. He's aware that everyone else has there own lives to live, but he feels very much alone. This is a constant worry for us as he spends more and more time on his own attempting to take care of himself, and we have to accept him when he says he has these outbreaks when on his own but not very often. We constantly reassure him that we're only a short distance from him at any time of day and night. Last year on his first release from hospital, to use his description, that wasn't him, and he didn't care about the festival, this year he has a lot of memory returning, and is gradually becoming "Steven", and so was deeply upsetting. As he says, he knows that getting better is going to take a long time, but he doesn't know how long, if he did, life would become much easier, because at the moment it's just going on and on with no real visible change. We too have to accept how Steven is, and it's equally bad and upsetting for us but we haven't got the accompanying pain that Steven has. His physiotherapy continues on all areas including speech therapy, psychiatry, and manipulation and massage. Best regards Terry

Friday, 15 June 2012

15th June 2012

Hiya, an excellent week all round. The physiotherapy is working wonders. What Steven does like is the amount of information he is receiving from the staff. Most of it is frightening and worrying, but the fact that he has, and continues to, beat all expectations is very satisfying. Apparently his brain injury was really extensive. We were never told the full circumstances, unless we were told, and we received the information in a daze as to the realisation of what had happened to him. The whole of his brain was shook violently in every direction, creating lesions in all parts, numerous nerves severed, and there was blood everywhere in the skull and brain. It was only the swift reactions of the Police attending the scene which allowed blood with it's life giving oxygen to flow, that prevented the damage and result being much worse. Fortunately Steven has spoken to the first Police Officer and expressed his sincere thanks, as have we. Steven has been told that most if not all of his problems are the result of all that time of relative inactivity, his muscles have forgotten what to do. With the the help of the physiotherapy team, he has to exercise and retrain his brain and body. Today, for the first time, he actually moved his toes on his left foot. This may not sound a big deal, but this shows that "messages" from the brain are reaching the toes, and he can make them move. This shows that either the nerves were not cut, or they have healed or have been re-routed. Either way it shows that he has feeling from head to toe, thus giving him and us a tremendous boost. He is beginning to feel pain in all his body, but this isn't from the accident, but from the amount of exercise he is doing, as would anyone who hasn't exercised for a while. He's walking with more confidence, but still slow, and he's still wary of surface changes or other people. His hand/eye reactions are getting better, and due to stomach exercises and "tapping" techniques, his talking is improving. On the down side, we are still incredibly upset that this should have happened. We know he's improving slowly and we're thankful for that, but it still hurts to see a fit, strong young man, who had a job and girlfriend, reduced to this. Every time he walks, moves, talks, or even sits, we have to stop ourselves crying. His life has been turned upside down from doing the right thing of hiring a taxi when too drunk to ride his motorbike. It hurts us to see that he hasn't got the comfort of a girlfriend, or doing the things that a man of his age should be doing, drinking, dancing, and enjoying life. We just have to hide this and hope he gets his life back soon. Best regards Terry

Thursday, 7 June 2012

7th June 2012

Hiya, Steven attended hospital for his EMG but the test was so painful that it had to be cancelled. We had researched the procedure on the internet beforehand, and he anticipated mild discomfort, but this test was far too painful even for him. Steven has endured an incredible amount of pain, and there's a feeling that the machine was set up wrong, but we'll obviously never know. Steven had a multitude of tests at the private rehabilitation unit, and it seems likely that he will continue his treatment there. He was told that if the staff had only read the hospital reports, and not actually seen Steven, they would not have offered any treatment at all. They also said that Steven had done all the hard work, and they were there to hopefully finish the job. As a result of these meetings Steven and us, felt really positive about the future outcome. The treatment will include physiotherapy (both muscular and mental), speech therapy, occupational therapy, and if necessary operation(s). It is further believed that a lot of Steven’s pain and problems are as a result of lack of correct use of all of his muscles, and maybe intense physiotherapy will avoid the need for further operations. The new regime will be extensive. Instead of turning up at NHS for 2 hours every day and only being seen for 15 to 30mins, this is going to be full-on one to one, twice a week for 3 hours, and three times a week for 2 hours. The new team have a deep respect for what Steven has achieved, and have told him for the first time, (though we knew) that his brain injury was extensive, and he should not have survived, and certainly should not be talking. Basically he has re-written the medical books. Steven is handling all this in his stride, but the thing that annoys him, and us, the most, is the total lack of understanding and compassion from the likes of insurance and social security where it seems he is just a number. On Wednesday 30th May, with Steven, we attended the offices of Mapfre (the taxi’s insurance) at Alicante. As before, there was no compassion, or obvious understanding of Steven’s condition. When Steven told the doctor that he was worried about his future, explaining that he wanted to play games with any future children, he was told that he was thinking too much about the situation. We wonder how the doctor would have felt if she was in a similar position and unable to hold or play with any of her children or grandchildren. This deeply upset Steven. Why is it, that no one can see how this horrific accident has affected Steven? Steven has not only suffered many physical injuries, but has many psychological issues also, and this may take a long time, if ever, to disappear. This seems to be the norm, one moment Steven is full of positivity, the next he’s knocked down. We’ve had to fight hard for everything for Steven, even now the Social Security and insurance are so slow in their assessments of him. It’s as though no-one believes the reports of other department’s doctors. For goodness sake, he died several times, he was in a coma for months, he had a leg almost severed, he’s had a hip replacement, he’s had an operation on his elbow, he has proven brain damage, and all manner of scans can show what happened to his body. What information do these people actually want? Do they think he’s going to act perfectly normal tomorrow? His first week at the new physiotherapy unit (USP San Jaime Hospital) has worked wonders. There is no down-time for Steven, he goes from one treatment to the next. He has regular speech therapy, he has massage on his stomach, leg, and back, even having hot mud packs applied to his back. It’s tiring for him, but we can see very small differences in attitude and in his posture. The stomach massage is relieving the muscles around his diaphragm and this will help him breathe and speak. Basically the centre two muscles of his “six pack” are not being used, this massage will help. The staff are explaining in simple terms what has happened to his body, an incredibly professional and caring attitude being shown by them. Best regards Terry

Saturday, 26 May 2012

26th May 2012

Hiya, an interesting few days. We have decided to go to the private hospital for his physiotherapy. After an initial meeting with the physiotherapist, we saw another member of staff, this was after the whole staff had had a team meeting about Steven. The first thing she told us, was how remarkable it was to see someone who had survived such horrific injuries. She also said that the team's prognosis was very good because they could see how far Steven had come along the road to recovery and they could see his determination. We were shown around the brand new facilities and met other members of the team. He had another physical examination where a lot of compassionate interest was shown towards Steven. The examination wasn't just a cursory look, but a full-on prodding, probing, and pushing, in an attempt to see where Steven's problems lay. Straight away they considered that an operation may be unnecessary on Steven's foot, and maybe intense physiotherapy may work. They stated that his body had forgotten how to perform correctly mainly due to the long initial period of inactivity, and then complicated by necessary surgery. Both sides of the body should be a mirror image of the other, but due to Steven's brain injury, his left hand side needs more coaching to work as it should. The brain has basically forgotten how to move the body and needs to be re-trained. The best way he could show the team was by clapping his hands, he just couldn't do it properly, looking very awkward and uncomfortable. When pins were put into his skin on the left side, he was asked to shut his eyes and point with his right hand where the pins had been put. In most cases he either couldn't feel anything, or pointed to a spot nowhere near where the pins had been put. He was given hand-eye co-ordination, by returning different coloured balls to different locations on a table, or by catching and throwing a ball with each hand, this was very successful. He was told that when he walks he bends his left elbow, which we had noticed and thought it was due to the long time he had an injured elbow, but the team told him that this was the brain sending incorrect messages, because Steven concentrates so much on the walking action he forgets other actions. It seems that he just may have to be re-trained so that he then teaches the brain what to do, then hopefully it will become natural. Massages showed where he was in pain in his neck and shoulder areas. These examinations were held over 5 hours over two days. Next Monday he has to go for electrical tests, EMG, then the full process may start Tuesday morning. We all feel more positive. Love Terry

Tuesday, 22 May 2012

22nd May 2012

Dear All, not a lot of good news. Steven has maintained and increased his physiotherapy and exercise regimes, this is showing an increase in muscle on his arms particularly. The exercise also encourages a better appetite. However a visit to his doctor at the private hospital wasn't as uplifting. Steven had previously had x-rays and a CAT scan. These revealed no break in any foot or ankle bone, which is different to what he has been told by the NHS doctor, yet more differing opinions. Steven now has a decision to make, because it's possible that whatever is done in an attempt to improve the foot function, or remove the pain, is actually irreversible. Steven continues to be in a lot of pain now, and an operation may not remove that pain, because it's not fully known where the pain sensation is coming from. Remember Steven suffered serious brain injury, which has affected the motor sensors of his left hand side. Next Monday Steven is having electric tests done around the left leg and foot, to see which muscles are working. If all the muscles are okay, it may be that nothing can be done, except continuing physiotherapy. If the tests show that (say) one muscle isn't working correctly, he can have an operation to change the use of muscles to make his foot function correctly. However this operation is a one-off, if it doesn't work, it stays as it is, and there's no guarantee the pain will be gone. It's possible that the pain may be caused by 18mths of inactivity, that's why the operation may not work. Yet again Steven is feeling depressed, mainly because he gets hardly any good news. Yes he's alive and has a lot of individual skills that we're all grateful for, but he's being treated as a number by both Social Security and the car insurance, both showing no compassion at all, and seemingly trying to find excuses that Steven is, or will, function perfectly, therefore avoiding any significant payments. Because Steven is feeling a little stronger it is hoped that soon he'll start a new regime of physiotherapy at the private hospital. Steven has lost a lot of faith at the NHS physiotherpay unit after the staff, who have been giving him various exercises, have only just realised that one of his injuries was a broken neck, despite having a full doctor's report. Knowing Steven we're sure that he will continue with his determination to get better, once this initial shock and depression has left him. Best regards Terry

Saturday, 12 May 2012

12th May 2012

Hiya another uneventful few days. Steven saw his surgeon, but until Steven has a scan in 2 weeks time, the doctor cannot give any opinions, but it's a new start. Whilst there, due to Steven suffering pain in his left elbow, the doctor gave him a very painful injection directly into the elbow joint. The pain subsided almost immediately, but Steven can only have 3 of these injections, so hopefully only this one will be needed. With less pain there's more mobility, and the more mobility there will be less pain. We have to go this private route because the NHS is so over-whelmed. It's not the fault of the staff, it's the fault of the NHS being too successful in prolonging people's lives, so queues are inevitably longer. Steven was called urgently into Court on Wednesday, however it was only to see the Court's forensic doctor. Steven went in with a friend and solicitor, with all his doctor's notes. The doctor just looked at him briefly and said come back in a months time with the notes that Steven had in his hand!!. This upset Steven because there was no compassion shown by the doctor, and Steven felt that he was just a number. This is the feeling that's coming across more and more as things roll slowly along. Why is more time needed, the reports are there, the operation notes are there, the scars are there, what do people really want as proof that Steven has had an awful accident and is suffering incredible injuries, and may have health problems for a number of years!!! We have also decided that the time has come for Steven to start private one-to-one physiotherapy, so appointments have been made to start that process. In the meantime Steven continues is daily physiotherapy. Best regards Terry

Saturday, 5 May 2012

5th May 2012

Hiya, yet again not a lot to tell you. Briefly Steven has been given a 68% incapacity to work entitling him to a pension and all manner of benefits. However, unbeknown to us, we cannot claim these benefits we now have to get a solicitor to do all the ground work to do it for us!!!! However many hoops they give us to jump through we'll do it, Steven must have what he's entitled to. The Government though are doing their utmost to cut down the number of people on benefits, so it could be an uphill struggle, no different to England I suppose. We saw the solicitor Thursday 3rd May, and he has agreed to make the necessary enquiries. Apparently one Social Security department issues their opinion, then we have to visit another department for them to agree or disagree with the first assessment. Steven continues his physiotherapy at the clinic and at home. His appetite has increased, and we can already see the difference in skin tone and general well being. He actually looks forward to eating, preparing it all for himself, unfortunately the food he's doing is so good, we will probably start putting on weight as well. Ref' his physio', at home Monday 30th April, he was outside on his step machine working quite well, when I started chasing the dog around, Steven looked at us (we weren't near him) and due to the halt in his concentration he fell off the step machine, landing on his hip operation area, and his back hitting a flower pot. The floor and flower pot are fine ;-). Steven's only problem was us looking down at him, he's literally had enough of people watching over and caring for him if that makes sense. We are going out for a Chinese Monday night with friends and Steven is going to go to physio' and then afterwards he's going to cross a main road for a coffee to wait for us to finish and fetch him. We've told him our concerns but he insists he wants to do these things, but it's very difficult for us to let go. He's had his second session for his new tattoo, and though I don't like them, it does look good. This is something he wants to do, to inflict pain on himself instead of from the accident, and in any case it takes his mind off the pain for a short time. Next week we start a new round of doctor's appointments about Steven's left foot and ankle. Look up "dropped foot syndrome" if you're interested. In the accident, his leg was almost severed completely between knee and ankle, the scar is huge but clean. As well as bone and extensive muscle damage, nerves were cut which control the action of the ankle and foot. When he puts pressure on his foot, he has a lot of pain from the broken bone deep within the ankle. The biggest problem is that he cannot raise his foot or toes, the front of his foot hangs down permanently. Remember he has to tell each part of his body what to do and that's an added problem because it may be that the problem with his foot could be caused by the motor function of the brain which was damaged. The ankle bone damage is in a dodgy position and may not be able to be operated on. The foot problem may be alleviated by swapping over tendons from one side to the other because it's more important for the foot to be able to lifted than to be pointed downwards, that can come with gravity. Or he can have one of my tendons which he has refused, but if I have to I'll insist. Or he wears a rather large and uncomfortable boot. Or we can try to have an experimental implant in his hip and knee, controlled by a gadget on his belt, which then recognises when the foot is down, and the implant makes the foot come back up. We hope to find out more next Tuesday. Steven’s cousin Ian Wykes successfully made the 12 day trek to Mount Everest Base Camp, although some members of the group didn’t make it and had to hospitalized due to altitude sickness. Well done and thank you Ian. Best regards Terry

Tuesday, 17 April 2012

17th April 2012

as you know, for several weeks we've been concerned about Steven's depression, and level of pain. Steven was getting very concerned about what's happened to him, and all the questions we continually ask ourselves as to "Why". He's also concerned about the future, especially as we're not getting any younger, who's going to care for him. He's also concerned about how vulnerable he is, in public or even in his own home because he has no defence at all, considering that he is an ex-kick boxer with little or no fear. Then two weeks ago we took him to Alicante for an assessment by the Social Services, in the hope of him getting some sort of pension. This assessment was in our mind a joke, and this also affected him badly. Basically they told him that because he could speak in two languages, and could move his fingers, he could get a job with computers, and that I would have to take him to work and look after him. Steven was so overwhelmed that he failed to tell us all this (the interview was in Spanish and normally Steven has coped), waiting until we were home. He was incredibly upset and angry. This added to his depression, which manifested itself into not shaving, showering, eating, not being able to sleep, and generally not bothering with looking after himself, because as he kept saying what's the point. As much as we told him that he was lucky to be alive, and beginning to function better, he would reply that the Steven he is now isn't the one he wants. Then a few days ago Paul came down to see us for a couple of weeks. Paul approached the problem slightly differently and encouraged Steven to at least eat, which he did. We've always had a lot of humour in the house, and Paul added to it. We then began to realise that Steven was not feeling as depressed as he was. He was eating more, even very soon after breakfast. Then Steven admitted that he hadn't been taking his pills for about 3 or 4 days. So now we began to think, why was Steven looking, acting and feeling different. We looked at the pills and found that two of them for pain relief, the side effects were lack of appetite, caused a nervous state, muscle cramps (he had complaining of a lot of pain), and alteration to sleep patterns. Steven has been taking so many pills that we hadn't looked at the side effects, and it was only when he and we noticed the small change in his demeanour that things fell into place. We have obviously stopped the pills and will continue to monitor Steven but things are looking good. Especially when today we received the news that Steven has officially been classified as disabled and may be entitled to a pension. Surprisingly this pleased Steven because at last it's been acknowledged officially that he needs help, something we knew, but this is better to see in writing. So, more bureaucratic paperwork but we'll get by. As you read this, Steven's cousin Ian Wykes is in Kathmandu preparing to climb to Mount Everest Base Camp, a trip that Ian has dedicated to Steven. This is a wonderful gesture, and we hope that Ian enjoys his adventure.

Wednesday, 28 March 2012

28th March 2012

Steven is getting more and more depressed, to the extent that over a misunderstanding of a Monday afternoon trip for a drink, he had a mini-breakdown, which resulted in him crying and screaming, and then putting his fist through a wooden cupboard door. No injury caused but we need a carpenter!!! A very upsetting episode for all of us. He eventually calmed down sufficiently to go to physiotherapy. He has enough to contend with without having extra stress. So we have to be so careful in what we say and do.
Today, Wednesday, we had a very successful day with his solicitor. Steven wanted this appointment because in all the discussions, he hasn't actually put his point of view, mainly because he was unable to do so. This is where Steven is growing in himself, but then the frustration comes to the front, like the breakdown. Remember Steven is growing up as would a child, he is becoming more intelligent, and this makes him think and worry. Steven told the solicitor everything that he felt. His concerns for the future, the unknown damage to his body and brain, the pain he is suffering, and the general inconvenience of life. He made an excellent showing of his character, and it was obvious that the solicitor treated him with a lot of respect considering what he's gone through. The meeting was good because it finally showed the solicitor that he was dealing with a real person. Don't get me wrong, the solicitor is a good man, and he has seen Steven many times, but this is the first time that Steven felt confident enough to speak directly to the solicitor, and to show real emotion. It was an upsetting interview but essential. Steven was clearly upset but kept control.
Best regards Terry

Friday, 23 March 2012

23rd March 2012

Hiya, what started as a good week ended with a sting in the tail. On Wednesday, 14th March, his 500th day, whilst at physiotherapy, Steven was advised to have a go at walking without any support, (except his foot strap). So he put away his walking stick. This was to give him more confidence, and to stop relying on his stick. Apart from that it's one less thing to worry about, moving the stick or where it's got to go. He was very successful with this, and even got a bit of attitude to his walking, i.e. a bit of a swagger and a little faster, though still not normal speed. For 4 days wherever we went he didn't use his stick and he had a really positive attitude. This though provides further problems, in that people now don't realise there's anything wrong with him, and fail to move out of his way, so we have to walk slightly in front of him as "guards". Further, the extra walking action produced extra pain. And that came to a head Sunday morning 18th March, when he woke in utter agony around his neck and shoulders. Unfortunately we were at a car-boot sale at the time, and couldn't get home to help as quick as we'd like. The pain then caused a mini-breakdown, and all his anger and depression came to a head. All we could do was offer the usual platitudes, and painkillers. There was a slight improvement over the next 4 hours or so, but he had to call off an evening out with friends, and a trip to see Paul on Monday. As I've said before we don't know if these are post-accident pains, or the result of increased exercise, or even lying "funny" whilst asleep.
A visit to the solicitor revealed mixed fortunes. We were told that the man who did this was indeed behind bars and would remain there until after the Court hearing, custodial sentence, and his deportation to Serbia, where he is also wanted by the Police. The man had no official documents whatsoever including passport, I.D., and had never held a driving licence anywhere. On top of that there has been a clerical error in one of the Court hearings, in that it was declared that Steven was NOT claiming compensation. However this error was swiftly picked up by our solicitor and also the insurance solicitor, and a complaint has been made by both which will be upheld because the error was actually illegal as Steven has not yet been examined by a “Court” Doctor.
The last few days he's been in a lot of pain, and it shows. He had an injection Tuesday 20th March for his shoulder and neck pain, but all it's given him is a sore arse;-) The doctor reckons the pain and discomfort is caused by new exercise affecting what was a broken neck, and now lack of muscle. Like everything else he's been told it will take time, and though he knows it’s true, he's fed up of hearing that phrase. He became a little more positive but he's disappointed and upset that he couldn't properly celebrate UK Mother's Day followed by Spanish Father's Day, and also we couldn't travel up to see Paul. But as we keep telling him, not to worry about things like that, all will be made up later, we'll have Xmas, Mother's Day, Father's Day, birthdays, all on the same day, no problem.
By Wednesday 21st March the walking stick was back, but at least he tried. Hopefully it's a temporary measure, and he'll offload again it when his neck and shoulder muscles behave themselves. His surgeon will see him again late April re' his hip and elbow op's, and we'll then discuss his foot, to see if he's got a different solution or opinion.
Best regards Terry

Tuesday, 13 March 2012

14th March 2012

On the 500th day of Steven’s accident, this is a prĂ©cis of what has happened to now. The accident resulted in horrific injuries to Steven, so much so, that it seems that repair operations weren’t carried out due to the expectation that he wouldn’t survive. This lack of action resulted in the body repairing itself, but in some cases slightly incorrect. A hip joint replacement operation enabled Steven to improve his walking posture, which then resulted in new pain to his knee, and ankle. However the left pelvis was severely damaged and twisted and cannot be repaired. This also affected his stance. Because he is able to stand more erect, his stomach muscles tensed making it difficult for him to breathe, and strangely the stomach started making “gurgling” noises when he breathed. The elbow operation also caused a new pain in his shoulder. What is unknown is what these relatively new pains are. Are they the result of the muscles being moved in the accident, bone damage, or just the result of normal exercise pain. As time goes on there will have to be further examinations of these problems unless they disappear. Steven still has very little natural control over his body movements, almost everything he does has to be planned, there is very little he can do on instinct. Before he can speak he has to make sure he has enough breath to be able to speak. When he walks he has to tell each part of his legs to move in the correct order. A baby matures naturally, and doesn’t actually learn to do anything. Because Steven’s brain was damaged, he knows what he used to do naturally, but now has to tell the body what to do, he is learning all over again. He didn’t breathe properly for several months due to the tracheotomy, so has had to learn to breathe and cough. He didn’t eat for several months due to the gastroscopy, so had to learn to do that again. Throughout the process of healing he and we have had to cope with the varying opinions of doctors. We’ve actually been told by one doctor not to listen to different opinions, but when we have to see so many types of doctors, they all seem to have different opinions of what needs doing, how can we ignore them. Remember Steven was once told that his left foot should be amputated. He was also once told that he had no hip injury, and that it was his brain telling him he was in pain due to the damage to the nerves. He was told that the elbow pain was caused by a growth of calcium which could only be removed by manipulation. Due to the inevitable delays of an overworked national health system because of better health care and longevity, we have gone the private route for his hip and elbow operations. We are not complaining about the Spanish health system, they have been very helpful in many ways, but we couldn’t risk further damage by delaying treatment. We’ve also had to deal with social problems. There is the insensitivity of people, whether failing to move out of Steven’s way despite having a walking stick, or lack of patience when talking or listening to him. Strangely it seems that there is a competition as to who has the worst injuries when talking to certain people. We have always said that there are people worse off than Steven, and we don’t expect any special favours, all we have ever asked for, is understanding of Steven’s problems. Friends who were in constant touch before the accident now don’t make contact, yet total strangers have given us amazing support. Steven has received much support from his friends such as Pablo and Yoli, and Dominic. We have received support from Steven’s brother Paul, his Aunty Linda, and friends Chris’ and Gordon. We all have received incredible unwavering support in so many ways from our long term friend Javi. There are many others to name but these are the most important. What has amazed us is that Steven has retained or even improved his intelligence, he has retained his Spanish and English language skills, and he has retained his motor skills when operating computers and games consoles. Steven’s social and emotional awareness continues to improve as he “matures”. We have started to make light of many issues, and our humour is returning. We can see the amazing progress that’s been made and will continue to make. Despite the occasional “dark” day when depression takes hold, Steven’s overall patience and determination at getting better is wonderful and our positivity remains. We are so proud of him, and for what he has achieved. He has many operations or treatments to look forward to, including examination of left ankle, left knee, left shoulder, his stomach, and possibly cosmetic surgery to a badly healed tracheotomy scar. The day when our lives get back to normal is on the horizon. We all thank you for your continued support, we wouldn’t have got this far without it.
Love Terry

13th March 2012

a bad few days for us. Steven has been depressed for a few days now, and this wasn't improved by todays news. Steven visited the hospital today to see a foot specialist. The consultation wasn't a good one. Basically Steven's left foot is well and truly damaged, but deep inside the ankle. To make any sort of repair would cause more damage, and any operation may not even work. There's also the possibility that when his leg was broken almost in half, nerves affecting the foot were damaged and haven't regrown. On top of that, due to the lack of proper use, the foot is becoming useless as well as being very painful. The doctor said he wouldn't touch the foot for at least two years to give it chance to regenerate itself. This has knocked Steven back a lot. He went to bed afterwards due to pain, tiredness, and obviously depression. Hopefully his mood will improve next week when we see the bone surgeon at the private hospital. We will again consider going the private route to see if their skills are different.
Best regards Terry

Saturday, 10 March 2012

10th March 2012

again another week goes by with little change. Except for one evening when Steven having gone to bed, returned to the living room asking for a cuddle. It seems that things are getting to him, he's had enough. He feels he's not getting the right encouragement from many people. We had to explain that people are people, and can only do and say what they think is best, there is only so much that people can say. He understood this, but we think it's just getting too much for him, and it's dragging along too long. We had to get him to concentrate on the positives as much as he can, he does this, but even this is often surpassed by the negatives.
Tuesday evening Steven had an extra appointment to see a cosmetic surgeon regarding his tracheotomy scar. The surgeon told him that it's 3 to 6 months too soon to deal with the scar. The examination was uncomfortable for Steven, but the doctor said that the scar tissue was not affecting the trachea, and is healing well and provided he keeps the sun off it, it's possible no operation will be needed.His elbow has healed very well, and he's able to bend and straighten his arm almost fully. He has very little pain, so that will go soon. He's not having any pain at all from the hip joint. However other pains are appearing, especially the knee and shoulder. It's not known whether these have always been there and masked by bigger pains, or they're the result of slightly increased mobility and exercise. But overall he feels much better. He's had a session with a psychiatrist at last, and she's helping him a lot especially in relation to the sights and sounds of the accident, and his future. Steven still has some minor issues of understanding. He is getting a little fed up of people saying the healing process will take time, he knows this. But as I've said to him, what else can people say. At least people mean well, and are not ignoring him. His humour is returning, he's helping around the house with cooking and cleaning. Then today we go to a shop inland for furniture,(Brico Depot, Crevillente) and a checkout girl laughed at him because she couldn't understand him speaking. This upset him greatly, and spoilt what should have been a good dinner and day out. I've tried to explain, that her laughing was more a reflection of her character, not his, and he must remember that earlier he'd spoken to another assistant and he was fine. So Steven isn't the problem. We are constantly amazed at Steven's resolve and determination to get better, and these sort of days are just a blip, upsetting as they are, he soon forgets, remaining positive thinking of the good days.

Thursday, 1 March 2012

1st March 2012

not a lot to say really. Yesterday, Wednesday, Steven washed his face for the first time in 16 months. Up until now he's been washing his face with one hand, that is, with no handful of water just a wet right hand. Try it, one hand behind your back, and wash your face. But yesterday due to better mobility he was actually able to rub his face with both hands, and fill his hands with fresh water, can you imagine how that must have felt. Today he visited the hospital for the staples to be removed, however the nurse only removed 5 of the 15 staples, so another visit next Tuesday. He hasn't been to physiotherapy for nearly two weeks due to the general discomfort, but he'll make an effort to go next Monday.
best regards

Friday, 24 February 2012

24th February 2012

after a bit of a cock-up on the part of the hospital re' admission times (Awake at 7.00am and we intended to go at 8.00am but records had been mislaid), we took Steven to the hospital at 10.15am for his operation which started at about 11.45am. Returned to room at 2.15pm in fine order, laughing and joking. He wasn't aware that he'd been in the operating theatre for so long, so assumes he went to sleep. He was given injections all around his upper chest and arm, and was aware of the operation, but didn't look. He can remember the surgeons talking, and heard and felt hammer and chisel on his arm. He felt discomfort but no obvious pain. His arm was in a sling but he soon removed that for more comfort. Almost immediately he could move his little and ring finger, and we had a laugh as he tried to give me the "finger". He was also able to move his arm slightly. He was in a lot of pain after about 5.00pm, and was given painkilling drip. The pain returned at about 8.00pm with a vengeance. He's put up with so much we just want it to end, he doesn't deserve all this. He had visits from friends Dominic and Jessica, and Pablo and Cesar, and they livened him up with jokes and daft stories. He hasn't got any appetite, but we'll start fattening him as soon as we can. Due to the excess of pain, it was decided to keep him in hospital for another day.
Steven was released from hospital mid-afternoon Wednesday. He's still in pain, obviously from the op'. He has a large bandage on his left arm to prevent swelling of his hand. It's the bandage which is restricting the full arm movement, but even with the bandage on his arm movement seems better. As I said he has full hand movement. He returns to the hospital Friday for checking over. In the meantime we're back on the roundabout of other hospital appointments, grrrrrrrrrrrrr. We also have to cancel the NHS appointments for his arm. We're 4,000euro lighter, but there's no way we could wait another 2 months just for more scans, not even a consultation nor an operation, so as far as we're concerned it's money well spent.
Today Friday, Steven's arm movement has continued to improve, and believed to be just the bandage and operation swelling restricting movement. The bandage was removed. The scar is about 5inches long, and the area around the wound is incredibly bruised, more so than his hip operation. The elbow has been re-bandaged with a smaller dressing much to Steven's delight. The surgeon is pleased with result. Strangely I haven't got to touch the dressing until next Thursday when the stitches will be removed. With the hip operation I was changing the dressing on a daily basis. Steven has felt rough today, and we tend to forget that surely he is entitled to "off" days, and for the first time he missed his speech therapy. He can catch up later. Yesterday we spent 2 hours at hospital for a CAT scan on his foot, that didn't help his mood, nor ours. That's our first complaint since treatment started, the hospitals are so overwhelmed presumably the same as UK. We will consider soon whether to go the private route for his ankle problem. What has really amazed us about Steven is his incredible patience. He has no worries at missing "life", concentrating on getting better in order to enjoy his life in the hopefully near future.
Best regards

Tuesday, 14 February 2012

14th February 2012

took Steven to the private hospital today to get their opinion regarding Steven's left elbow. Examination of the x-ray revealed that Steven did break the point of his elbow in the accident. As with his hip, there was no operation earlier because the hospital didn't think he would survive. As a result, the elbow hasn't repaired properly, hence the extra bone or calcification at the elbow point, putting pressure on the Ulna nerve, causing the pins and needles in his fingers, and preventing the arm from bending and straightening. The surgeon (he did the hip operation) is confident that a small operation to remove the offending bone will cure the problem. The operation will be next Monday 20th February. Steven has been told that the whole left arm will be "frozen", he will lie on his back, and if he wishes, he can view the operation via mirrors!!! Steven is unsure about this, I'll update you on that!!.
We have decided to take this route, since appointments within the NHS system go into April, and still no date for an operation, preferring to see if the calcification will disappear by manipulation. But the pain and this timeline, and the varying opinions have forced the decision onto Steven and us, making up Steven's mind to go ahead now.
Steven wasn't impressed when he heard me make a spoof 'phone call to the doctor, suggesting the operation be done without anaesthetic to save money. It's this type of humour which keeps us all grounded.
best regards

Sunday, 12 February 2012

12th February 2012

firstly, a slight correction to the last message. I said that Steven was to see the "head doctor". Silly me, especially knowing Steven's brain injury, what I should have said was "Steven's head of department doctor" i.e. the one who is co-ordinating all the various treatments, sorry.
We are now not sure whether Steven has a hernia, it may just be inflammation from the operation to his hip, especially as nothing was found in the Echogram. Steven is taking more medicines and we'll review it as soon as possible. After a few days it looks promising that this indeed is the problem.
The elbow injury is causing some concern, Steven is now experiencing pins and needles in his little and ring finger of left hand. Steven has an appointment at yet another hospital in Elche, specialists in Nuclear medicine, in late March. This will be to examine the bone density of his left elbow. Apparently if he has an operation too soon, any calcification will regrow. We were told this before. We will continue to see both private and NHS doctors and depending on the amount of pain, and the information received, we'll decide which route to take. The private route will be quicker but is it better?? The pain and the possibility of damage to the Ulna nerve will decide for us.
best regards

Tuesday, 7 February 2012

7th February 2012

busy and wasteful day today!!!!!
First we went to the main hospital to see a foot specialist about Steven's left ankle. According to the doctor, the main bones of Steven's ankle are intact, however right in the middle of all the ankle bones there is a small crack. It's this crack which is causing a lot of problems. This has affected the nerves in his foot causing pins and needles, and preventing Steven from moving his foot upwards. The specialist doesn't know yet how to handle this, and will decide after yet another CAT scan in two weeks time. We asked here for a full doctor's report on Steven's problems in order that we can show this to the Social Security in the hope of getting Steven a pension, but was told that we have to do this from his ordinary doctor, so more appointments!!!
From there we went to the private hospital to see Steven's hip surgeon about his elbow problems. But first, the doctor decided to check on his work, and discovered that Steven "may" have a hernia in the upper groin area of the left leg. So from here we were sent to another doctor for another examination who agreed with the hip doctor. This doctor sent Steven for an Echogram. This didn't solve anything so Steven, apart from being covered with cold gel, has to have another CAT scan later. From there we returned to the hip doctor who wanted Steven to have his hernia sorted first, but Steven was insistant on his elbow being repaired due to the pain. Steven was sent for another x-ray which will be done whenever we feel like it but probably next Tuesday. At this rate Steven will be glowing with all the scans. All that took just a few minutes to write but actually took over 4 hours and nothing solved, and causing him to miss his physiotherapy session, and they 'phoned to find out where he was!!
Best regards Terry

Monday, 6 February 2012

6th February 2012

Not a lot to tell you. Steven continues to improve slowly. We wish he would eat more, but he just doesn't feel like eating despite being hungry. Although at his ideal body weight according to BMI, we think he ought to be a bit heavier. He has no pains in his leg except muscle pain as he continues to teach the muscles to work. He is though experiencing more pain in his elbow, so we've decided to bring forward any operation on his elbow. We see his surgeon tomorrow Tuesday, to start the process if he agrees to it. The surgeon did say to wait 2 months, and by the time any op' commences it will be 2 months. We have bought him a small cycle machine to exercise his legs whilst watching tele'. He has been given a breathing tube to practice breathing. He continues his speaking exercises, and his sit-ups to strengthen his diaphragm. He continues to have all manner of physiotherapy every afternoon, from massage to electric shocks.
Bets regards Terry

Thursday, 26 January 2012

26th January 2012

Steven continues to recover from his hip replacement. The hip pain from the accident has gone, he now only has muscle pain from the operation, and the beginnings of his exercises. He has lost a lot of muscle size from his left leg, requiring food and exercise to return it to normal. His walking, with a walking stick, is still a slow shuffling motion, with no real visible improvement, only time will do that. The Doctor is pleased with his recovery, the wound having healed perfectly. Steven is aware that all this is taking time, and we're amazed at his patience, and his acceptance of that fact. X-rays (on the Facebook site) after the operation reveal the extent of the damge to the pelvis area, being totally knocked out of shape, it is now understandable why he was in so much pain all the time. He now awaits for a vast improvement in his pain level, and walking ability before we then concentrate on his left elbow. The elbow gives him pain when he tries to bend or straighten it, thus affecting his balance. This will be looked at as soon as possible. In the meantime he continues with his physiotherapy of manipulation, exercises, electric shocks, and Tens machine. He also has speech therapy which is concentrating on his breathing and his pronunciation of vowels. Steven has "forgotten" how to breathe correctly after the damage caused to his diaphragm, and having a tracheotomy for so long. So when he speaks he has to make sure he has sufficient breath in order to do so. Normally eople don't have to think like this, it comes naturally, but not for Steven. We have been told that the offending driver has been arrested, whilst walking in Torrevieja. It's unbelievable to think that owing to the amount of time we go to town, we may have been in the same cafe as him, or even allowed him to cross the road. Initially this information was overwhelming to Steven but he's now happy that the driver is in custody. We have no further information, other than, if convicted, he will receive no more than 9yrs in prison for offences connected with the accident, including the false documents and the running away. Steven has had a medical examination with the car's insurance company. This will be repeated in a couple of months.
Best regards Terry

Friday, 13 January 2012

13th January 2012

Another typical week where it's two steps forward and one step back. Since his operation Steven has recovered well, slowly but surely. On Tuesday 10th January the last of the staples were removed. The wound has healed very well. Immediately Steven felt more comfortable, and even had a little more mobility. He was also able to sleep on his left side for the first time since the accident. He had two full nights sleep, and then had to see yet another doctor. This visit was about his left elbow and left ankle. Yet again we were given another opinion as to his problems. Where do these doctors go to get their degrees, and why isn't the information identical. It's very worrying and upsetting, because it throws us the problem of what to do next. Steven has now been told that his elbow movement is restricted due to calcification of the joint. This can only be removed by painful manipulation. Another doctor has said that it can be removed by surgery, this doctor said that if we do this, the surgery will damage the muscles and tendons, and the calcification will re-grow. Whatever happened to key-hole surgery we asked. No that won't work the doctor says. Then he spoke about the ankle. Steven has now been told that he has a broken bone in his ankle, and this is difficult to repair. He's been given the choice of either put up with an acceptable pain level (which it isn't!!) for the rest of his life; have the ankle fixed into postion by plates, forcing the body to use his knee and toes differently to compensate for the lack of ankle movement; or, have an experimental ankle replacement. We have to see another doctor next week, we wonder what he'll suggest!! There's the suspicion that the NHS won't carry out the work due to lack of funds, but we could counter that by saying the private sector only want our money!! We honestly do not know which way to turn. Nothing will happen until Steven's hip has fully healed and he has much better mobility, so we have time to think, and get more opinions. This really upset Steven, and has knocked him back a long way, putting him into a quiet reflective mood. We will get his motivation back over the weekend, and the recovery will continue.
best regards Terry

Friday, 6 January 2012

6th January2012

New Years Eve Steven had a crisis, which unfortunately was witnessed by friends who were with us for a cuppa. This was a bad one, and I ended up jumping on him to hold him down on the bed, and our friends could hear his screams and banging of fists. It´s so difficult to pin down the actual problem, but I feel it´s Steven´s inability to communicate properly, and, using his words, he feels like a “deaf retard”. As much as we try to convince him he´s doing fine he still won´t accept his problems. He has a lot of understandable bitterness for the person that did this to him. I´ve tried to impress on people that although his physical problems are improving dramatically, the brain injury could take a long time. We can only hope that with his continuing recovery, his mind gets more focussed to getting his head straight. At the moment he´s fine, and I can honestly see him walking properly within days now. His wound is healing well, and he loves me giving him a good scratch when I change his dressing.
Tuesday 3rd Jan’ Steven continues to recover from the operation. After just over two weeks the pain of the operation has gone, only muscle pain remains. His walking is still laboured, but this can only improve as the pain disappears. I’ve described how Steven is sometimes when he gets frustrated by talking, and by general understanding, this is an almost childish attitude, as if he is growing up from being a child. That evening he was in his bedroom alone, and unknown to us he was looking at his many photo’s of him taken before and after the accident. He’s done this many times, as we’ve explained what has happened to him, particularly when he was in his coma. He’s took these explanations in his stride, showing a maturity far beyond his years, yet this evening he came from his room in a state of distress, apologizing for putting us all through the trauma of his recovery. Obviously apologies are totally unnecessary, and we reminded him of how we felt towards him, how it’s been a privilege to care for him, and the fact that we’ve been amazed at the way he has coped with the many unpleasant inconveniences placed upon him. So, on a regular basis we see Steven the child and then the man he undoubtably is.
On Thursday 5th Jan’, Steven attended hospital for the removal of staples from his operation wound, but only 23 of the 32 staples were removed, more healing required, otherwise all fine. The doctor was pleased with progress so far.
Today, Steven became upset talking to his friend about how he felt after recognising he’d been in a serious accident, how he couldn’t communicate his feelings, especially the pain he felt. He tried to explain how not talking for such a long time is affecting the way he talks now. It’s the same with his mobility, because he hasn’t walked for a long time, he knows he has to learn to walk properly. It’s noticeable now that his leg muscles are of a different size, due to lack of correct use. There’s no doubt that when he’s able, he will get back to his usual fitness regime, and he, and no doubt me, will be much fitter.
Best regards Terry