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