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