Friday, 18 March 2011

Page 22 Dr Burns, Neuro Rehab, Poole NHS Trust Hospital

Throughout the summer I would type what I could, about what was happening to me.  I had a big folder and typed everything on sheets of foolscap paper from a big cheap pad.  Luckily, I still had my electronic typewriter, so It didn’t matter that I had no strength, collapsing fingers and wrists! I figured it would help with my hand and memory problems.

I carried on doing this for the next five years, up until the time of the settlement.  I still keep a diary to this day. 

It was difficult though, I noticed I couldn’t focus my eyes, they would continually dart rapidly, to the right and upwards, so it was terrible trying to read.  I don’t think my eyes would actually move, I couldn’t tell you that, just that I couldn’t keep them still to focus.  With this happening, on top of my memory problems, well you can imagine I didn’t get very far with my reading!  Nothing would “go in” either.

Another thing I noticed with my eyes, apart from the double vision and floaters, was that when I went into the bathroom, and looked into the mirror,  my right pupil would nearly always be enlarged compared to my left one, as if it was in a darker room to my left eye! I don’t mean a little bit either, it was markedly different!

Alan was now back at work, and would get me up, wash and dress me and leave me sandwiches and a large flask of tea for the day.  I was attending the hospital three times a week for physiotherapy for my knee, hands, wrist and elbow.  Still no one was bothering with my brain injury, back, neck or feet problems.

It was August, nearly 5 months later, before I got to see anyone related to Neurology at Poole NHS Trust Hospital.

I saw Dr Burns, Neuro Rehab, who was asking me questions when he asked whether I had been able to move after the accident.  I specifically remember answering this and told him, I couldn’t move at all for the first four or five days.   There was a long drawn out silence, which I filled in by waffling on about how I didn’t think anyone was bothered about the fact I couldn’t move as I don’t think they wanted me to because I had both hands shattered and had neck and spine injuries, and I thought I may have had a broken neck.  I told him I couldn't lift my head and they kept x-raying my brain and neck.  So I think everyone was quite happy I couldn’t move!  I continued waffling and told Dr Burns he could check with the nurses as they would remember me, as they were the ones who said I shouldn’t leave the hospital without seeing a Neurologist, they were trying to get me seen by one, and Dr Vinod K Panchbhavi wouldn’t let them. 

Eventually Dr Burns spoke again and asked more questions! I told him about the convulsions when I came round from the 1st operation and that I couldn’t move from the chest down for days.  I told him about the time I was unable to move, speak or breathe when my head rolled off the pillow at home when Al was dressing me one morning.  How it had sounded like two housebricks rubbing together inside my head as this happened. I told him how I choked when eating and drinking and had terrible pain in the right side of my head neck and shoulder.  I also told him about the banging and ringing noises in my right ear and sometimes my left ear.  He asked many questions and I answered them all. 
I told him how my eyes wouldn’t keep still, and about my floaters and double vision.  I told him how I would answer questions the wrong way round, and did exactly that, when he asked me If I could see double with one eye closed!  I said no, instead of yes!  I remember this as it troubled me for months until I saw him again and told him I had answered the wrong way round.  I told him about how I had pains in my chest, back and feet and they had given me Heparin as they thought it might be bloodclots as I had been so fit before my accident.  I told him about the shooting pains into my hands when I swallowed or coughed and how I felt like I had fluid at the base of my skull and terrible 3 day headaches and loss of feeling in my arms and hands.  I said that my legs would give way,  I would totally lose control of my body from the waist down, as If my spinal cord was cut.  I told him how I couldn't remember anything of the accident and that I had these tiny little flashes of memory, seemingly unrelated that Alan had told me and reason suggested were the accident, but how I couldn't remember anything for a fortnight before the accident.  How I couldn't remember my cats, my wedding and how my house seemed strange and I couldn't remember how to use my stereo etc.
He finished up by telling me I had a Severe Spinal Cord Trauma and a Severe Closed Brain Injury.  
Dr Burns told me he'd be sending me to see his colleague a Neurologist.  He said I had probably seen him whilst I was on the ward.  I said I remembered someone seeing the girl in the bed opposite every day, and had thought it was a different man every day.  She turned out to have epilepsy. He said 'yes that's him'. 
Dr Burns also told me he would be sending me to see a Psychologist and referring me to his Neuro OT and Neuro Physio. He finished by saying he would also be issuing me with a soft collar to wear all the time, except when I was in bed when I was to use a rolled up towel under my neck.

I left the room and spent the next hour wandering the hospital asking where I would get my collar from.  I was eventually taken to the Physiotherapy Department, where someone phoned Dr Burns and asked about me.  I was told that Dr Burns had not meant for me to go and get a collar today, I would normally have been sent an appointment to have one fitted at a later date!  However, on this occasion they would fit me with a collar now.

When I got home, Alan asked me as usual, what the Dr had said, what had happened at the hospital. As usual, I couldn't remember anything.  He had stopped coming to the hospital with me a few months after my accident when he had gone back to work, as he'd run out of holidays, then having had a month off work to look after me, he'd become frightened of losing his job.  Flight Refuelling weren't the best of employers, they're part of the Cobham Group and more interested in their share price than an employee's welfare. 

Alan said he was now coming to all my hospital Dr appointments with me.  I felt like a naughty schoolgirl.

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