Thursday, 9 May 2013

A Humbling Experience

I just had to share this one with you today. Just after Easter a very dear older person that I have known for more years than I care to remember had a stroke. He already suffered with vascular dementia which was still manageable. He was in hospital and I was due to see him but he went down with a sickness bug which had infected the hospital and it was put on lock down.

When I finally got to see Keith it was four weeks ago, they had moved him to the local hospital and I said to his lovely wife Sue that I would do the Thursday PM shift so that she didn't have to go visiting twice that day.

The stroke had not caused Keith to loose his speech but his left leg and arm were very weak with almost no movement.

The first time I visited Keith I did not recognise the man that I knew and was so fond of, he was rambling and to be honest not much of it made sense. I took him in a few treats and he particularly enjoyed the bun I had taken in. It was heart breaking.

The following week I visited again - poor Keith was not well at all, he was flushed and really not making any sense at all. I insisted that he had a temperature, they took it in his ear and said it was fine, half an hour later and much pestering they took it under his tongue. Sure enough he was not well, he had a urine infection which was causing him to be totally confused. It was very awful to see and I came out in despair.

Having got antibiotics into him it took nearly a week before he really started to be more like the Keith that we know and love. It was a beautiful day and I asked if I could wheel him down to the garden in a wheelchair - after much eye rolling and dressing down by the nurses they said I could as long as I didn't leave him alone. We spent a very happy hour and a half together, I gave him a pedicure first and then we spent the rest of the time in the sunshine, talking about the flowers and things. Sue had rang me the night before and said to me that he was much much better and they had him on an alarm he had got out of bed by himself and walked ! I was flabbergasted and over joyed clearly.

On our way back the Head Physio took me to one side and said to me that Keith was not making any progress and he was not helping them at all and gave me the impression that she had given up on him. I pointed out to her he wanted to walk but his dementia was not allowing him to process the instructions. She said to me that she did not believe he would walk again, I said to her how do you explain they have him alarmed as he got up and walked in the night. She said to me that his brain would not allow him to follow their instructions but sub consciously he could do it. She still said that he would never walk. They were refusing to offer Sue a care package to have him home and said she should think about putting him in a home.

I am very lucky to be able to have updates both from Sue and also from her daughter in law who phoned me to let me know that on Sunday he had not only been up and walking on a zimmer, but had been walked to the shower and had walked again in the afternoon ! ! ! ! Amazing !

You can imagine my anticipation for my visit today. I took Keith in a lovely bun and we talked for a bit, then he said to me that he wanted to go to wee - he could feel that he needed to go - he has been hooked up to a catheter but they took it out to try and stop him getting another infection. I told the nurse who got him up on his zimmer and right there in front of me he walked. I cried my eyes out and hugged him and said how very proud I was of him, he cried too and we shared the joy. The nurses cried with us - it may not seem like a huge thing but this journey has been a very long and difficult one and to see him stood on this feet and walking really very well and being able to use a bathroom himself was just so moving. My heart was bursting with love and joy for Keith.

The Doctor came round funnily enough with the physio and Sister, Keith was still on his feet and i said look at him, this time last week there was no hope, The physio said to me he proved me wrong.

They said today that they are having a meeting with Sue on Monday with a view to sending him home with care - AMAZING AND WONDERFUL NEWS.

The very first thing I did when I got out of hospital was phone Sue and I shared my visit experience with her.

A truly amazing story don't you think.........He has a long way to go and the road will be rocky and things will get worse with the dementia but now he has a chance to do what he wants to do most in the world.... go home....

K x


  1. Oh this is wonderful news Karen - I do hope they get the care and support they need when he gets home. It is so much nicer if they can be in their own home - you truly are an amazing friend who shows great empathy for those in need - I'm so proud to know you. x

  2. This is wonderful to read, Karen. You truly are a great friend.

    My best friend's son, age 27, had a stroke last August and he is still in the hospital now. She would be so happy if he was well enough to be cared for at home.

  3. Oh Karen, this is such a blessing to hear and it has brought tears of joy to my eyes. You, my friend, are truly amazing and I know that Keith and Sue are so blessed to have you there for them. I am very glad he was able to prove the physio wrong and know with all the love he is receiving he will recover nicely. Please keep us updated on his progress. I will be keeping Keith, Sue, his family and you as well in my thoughts and prayers. Love you my friend.