Saturday, 23 July 2011

Page 26 Re-learning how to get the bus and swim!

She then taught me how to get a bus, and to put notes on the front door to remember to take my keys and a purse and coat, to go out of the house.  She got me the bus timetable and I had to cross one road and a crossing to get to the bus stop.
This was all so I could go swimming, as I had been told by the hospital, it would help my recovery.  
For the first six months after the accident I couldn't do anything other than the excercises the hospital gave me to do.
Then when the hospital suggested I go swimming, I couldn't go at all on my own, so Alan took me once a week for the next six months.  He would help me into and out of the pool. 
I couldn’t swim at all, he spent months, trying to teach me to swim, I could only do ‘Doggy Paddle’, lol no laughing! Even then I could only do a few strokes at a time.  Alan would have to hold me, while I found the floor on the pool, and struggled to put my feet back down. 
The OT suggested I buy a trolley case as I couldn’t carry a gym bag at all, not even empty!  This worked, but the bus didn’t!
I found it too painful sitting on the bus, on my pelvic sits bone, and for my lumbar, thoracic and cervical spine.
There was another problem!  I had to walk back through the space where buskers and beggars were in Poole to get back to the bus station to come home.
I would just open my purse and give them all my money, without realising it was my bus fare. 
Many a time I ended up stranded in Poole with no phone, no money and no way to get home.

Because of my Brain Injury it would take hours before I could work out what to do to get home.  I would then realise I could make a reverse charge call to Alan, but then I would have to wait for him to come home.
So I wasn’t allowed to go Poole swimming after a while. Although I had learned to love swimming, it turned up several more problems, in itself.

When I got in the pool I noticed I couldn't feel the water was cold until it got almost up to my bust line, when it would take my breath away.  I couldn’t feel hot or cold properly, from my abdomen down. 
Wandering off for a moment. I spent years because of this going out with lacey dresses on unable to realise I was cold, because I couldn't feel it from the chest down.

I also had terrible trouble with the light reflections off the water, which was worse the more the water moved.  I just could not see, I had to shut my eyes. I think this was something to do with the epilepsy risk which is related to Brain Injury. There were a lot of shops I just couldn't go into because the lighting would make me ill.

I was unable to lower myself into the pool or pull myself up out of the pool on the steps to get out.  I’d have just hauled myself straight out on to the side before my accident!

It was six months before I was able to swim just a few strokes of breast stroke.  I couldn't coordinate my body to swim, I know it sounds crazy, but I just couldn’t do it.  I had perfect co-ordination before my accident, but now I couldn't co-ordinate my own arms and legs.

I was unable to swim more than a few strokes without having to stop and grab hold of the side of the pool.  I kept going though, and managed as much as I could, then I would go into the Jacuzzi to recover for a while and go back in the pool again.  I was that determined in the end to get better. 
I spent whole days doing this at the Dorset Racquets and Health Club which I joined in the end. That was just up the road from me and I could get there without crossing roads.  

We asked Karen Thompson of Lester Aldridge whether I could claim for this and she told me, I most definitely could not! It was completely unecessary as I had to go for the cheaper option of going by bus to Poole Public Swimming Baths. But we felt it was easier and safer for me and the lights on the water didn't blind me so much. So I went there and Alan paid the membership. 

I ended up with huge muscle bound legs, that wouldn't even lift me up stairs. After everything I tried for years to get better and build my strength up, I still had none. 
Everyone knew this, but nobody did anything. 

This was the very reason the opposition lawyers and Professor Trimble ordered the MRI of my spine, because I had this unexplainable weakness in my arms, legs and hands.  
We now know why, they suspected syrinx, and they were right, which is why no one ever told me I had the scans, let alone the results.

When I would swim, my hands and wrists would just bend backwards, and I had no strength in my legs either, so I just wouldn't get anywhere. I became very proud, when after years I got to swimming a whole width and then years later a whole length!

I tried to float on my back on several occasions, but I would immediately become unconscious and Alan would have to put his hand behind my neck and head and support it, then I would become conscious again.

I told everyone at the hospital about these problems, but no one ever told me why they happened or investigated them. 
I was to wait 15 years to find out they were due to my much more serious and undiagnosed injuries.

I was simply told not to float on my back ever again and to just keep going with my swimming, because it was good for me.

Thursday, 21 July 2011

Page 25 Neurological Occupational Therapist ~ Re-learning cooking and washing!

I tried very hard to get better, doing all the exercises I was given, and worked really hard, but I didn’t seem to be getting better.

I was referred to Neuro Occupational Therapy, and a young lady came round to my house to help me with techniques to cope with my Brain Injury.

I only got a few visits, but she helped immensely.

I found out from my medical records that she recorded my learning difficulties as 'Profound'.

But that's all there is, despite the law saying my medical records should be kept for life, due to Brain Injury, Poole NHS Trust has destroyed these records.  
And there's not a lawyer in the land will help me, well, not without taking my home from me, and that's with no promises attached. You see Karen Thompson, immediately after defrauding me in my Personal Injury Claim, got a promotion to Partner at Lester Aldridge, within days. Then she got herself to a position where she advises the Law Society, and she sits on the Solicitors Advisory Panel, the disciplinary Panel to be precise.  So you see there really is nowhere to go for justice in the UK with that level of corruption. 

She taught me to put little notes all round the house.
I had notes by the bed, telling me to get up, then on the wardrobe to tell me to get dressed.
I had notes telling me to brush my teeth, wash, and to brush my hair, dotted on the walls and mirror in the bathroom.
She taught me to put notes on the washing machine, to put whites only, and no colours! Then another note to tell me to put woollens on a gentle wash. LOL

I had some beautiful handmade jumpers with pictures on that I had knitted by hand before the accident, as well as hand knitted aran cable jumpers and mohair sweaters.  The picture jumpers had Classic Art works knitted into them, like the Poppy Fields and Michael Angelo’s David. 
I had ruined several of these recently when trying to do the washing, as well as spoiling many clothes by mixing my ‘coloureds’.  These are all things you don’t think of, but you have to learn and re-learn them all again.

She even came up with an idea how to get the washing down the stairs.  I was still unable to lift anything, least of all a pile of washing. 
So it was I used to take bits of washing to the top of the stairs and just drop them, hopefully they would land on the bottom stairs, then I would pick them off the bottom stairs and take them to the washing machine, one or two pieces at a time.
I’m not moaning, it meant I could do the washing!

She then tried to teach me cook a meal, which wasn’t as successful. 

I had been unable to even lift my copper saucepans or frying pan, since the accident. 
I was unable to cook at this time anyway, but later on, we had to buy new lighter saucepans and frying pans to enable me to even be able to lift them with food in.  I couldn’t lift a normal pan of potatoes even then! 
I was constantly burning myself on the oven, and cutting myself accidentally with knives. Oh, and there was the time I stabbed myself in the arm! To this day, I still do, I'll even put my hand into boiling water in a pan on the stove. 

I was unable to lift my cups or plates either, my hands, fingers and thumbs would just collapse. Those plastic drinks bottles for Cola n stuff? Just slipped through my hands.  

I never knew why, and no one told me.  They must have known though, that all my problems were symptoms of much more serious injuries and Syrinx. 

We had to buy lighter china, smaller cups, etc. 
Then there was the problem that I just kept dropping the new china all the time, I can’t think how many plates and cups we must have got through!
I was throwing knives forks and spoons away as well. 

But first, I had to re-learn how to cook!
I was told to think about the things I would need and then to make a list, I then had to get Alan to take me to the shops to buy these things.  Well that in itself was not a success, as I couldn’t think what ingredients I needed!  
I was unable to lift anything and a Supermarket on my own, getting there and back safely on my own, remembering to take money, keys and purse was completely out of the question!

I then had to practise cooking a meal that I’d bought the products for, on her next visit.  I don’t remember why, but it didn’t work.  She watched me trying to cut carrots and potatoes, and stopped me, I’m still dangerous when trying to do this as I cannot hold things properly, so I should imagine that’s why she stopped me.

I think she was right about how dangerous I was in the kitchen!  Later on, I would set fire to the oven, the grill, and even things on top of the cooker. 

So Alan has to supervise me when cooking, we kind of do it together. He makes sure by prompting me, that all the ingredients go in, and in the right order, that things are turned on and off when required, as I just forget.  He gets everything in and out of the oven, partly because of my inability to do so because of my back problems and also so I don’t burn myself. He strains heavy saucepans, so I don't pour boiling water on myself! Then he remembers to time it all, or I would be regularly burning the house down.

I have to stick to simple cooking, for instance, I've never been able to make cakes, bread or biscuits since. We also have regular takeaways, and to make things easier, we have ‘same pot meals’, you know, where you put it all in the pot together. Then the poor soul has the same meal for two days.  No life has never been normal since 1st April 1995.

There's also the cooking of two meals at the same time! I'd start a meal, get Alan to put it in the oven, then forget  I’d done so, and start cooking a new meal on the stove and in the grill! But I'd miss out half the ingredients, and wonder why it didn't taste right! LOL The dog ate well!

Wednesday, 20 July 2011

Page 24 Despite having a Severe Brain Injury, I never saw the Neurologist

Whilst Alan was bathing me and washing my hair he noticed a very large lump on the right front side of my skull, he was a bit shocked by the size of it and the fact that it was still there. 
I had several nurses comment when washing my hair, or when I’d complained about the pain and feeling of rocks in my head, that I ‘had a few nasty bumps’.  
They did several X-Rays of my skull while I was in hospital, worried about the fluid on my brain, or so Dr Vinod K Panchbhavi said! 
I just expected these ‘bumps’ would eventually go down. 
The one on my right temple, never did, in fact it was to cause severe pain, swell up and cause massive headaches for years and still does.  Strangely it’s in the same place as the Brain Damage is. 
No one has ever explained why I still had this, or what it is. It became much harder, and more pointed, as time passed. 
I explained it seemed to get bigger when I got pressure in my head, and I had shooting pains up to it through my brain from the base of my skull/top of my spine. 
I told Dr Burns, Dr Nick Moffat, and the Neuro Physio, I had fluid build up at the base of my skull and fizzing and bubbling noises.  They just gave me very strange looks!  I’ve recently started to wonder whether I had a fractured skull? Could this be another reason why they kept giving me Head X’Rays and not telling us why?

We got into a routine of writing my problems down and reporting them to whomever I was seeing at the hospital.  So anything strange and new we noticed, was reported to Dr Burns, Neuro Rehab, and Dr Nick Moffat, Clinical Psychologist, amongst others. We were told to do this, and did so religiously, thinking foolishly, if they knew all my symptoms and problems they could help me to get better.  I didn't notice most of my problems were ignored, no one did a thing.

I still had the breathing problems I’d had since the accident.  I was unable to breathe properly on my left side, or breathe deeply. 
I was getting pain in my cheekbones, head colds, and infections, along with sinus infections.  I’ve only ever been able to ‘shallow breathe’ since, and no one has ever investigated or explained why I have these problems.  I frequently joke I only ever get a cold in one side!  I’ve never been able to blow my nose and clear my sinus ever since. 
I repeatedly told the Dr’s, I had to control my breathing, I had to concentrate on breathing properly.  I always remember Dr Moffat saying I shouldn’t have to concentrate on breathing or swallowing, but again they never did anything to investigate why. I’ve recently started to wonder whether I had a fracture to the left side of my face/cheekbone/nose? It would help explain the repeated Head X’Rays and my problems since.

One good thing to come out of this was I no longer had HayFever! Whether this is because the left side of my airways are partially closed, I don’t know.
We noticed and reported I had balance problems, and would lose my balance and almost fall over every time I looked up or around when walking, and even when standing still. 
No one has ever explained properly why this happens either, other than to say it’s due to Head Injury.  I’ve had fluid in my right ear ever since the accident, and sometimes wonder whether this causes my balance problems. 
Alan has learnt to grab me and watch out for this.  Mind you, saying that, he frequently forgets and points something out to me, and good as gold, I look, lose my balance and he grabs me!

Another problem we started noticing was that I would bump into doorways and chairs, tables etc., always on my right side. 
We were told this was due to my Brain Injury.  

I still hadn’t seen the Psychologist, the one who had been visiting the girl on the ward in the opposite bed.   

It was, sometime later, before I was told I would be seeing the new Clinical Psychologist Dr Nick Moffat.
It was months and months after my 1st visit to Dr Burns and around 9 months since my accident before I saw him. 
I didn’t understand he was a Clinical Psychologist and went through the following five years of seeing him thinking he was the Neurologist. 
But I never actually got to see the Neurologist.  I didn’t realize Dr Moffat was not a Neurologist until after I settled my case.