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