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