My Uncle Martin, husband to my mother’s sister Mavis, died unexpectedly from a heart attack on the morning of April 15th. He was 68 years old.
Martin had been feeling a tightness in his chest for a few days but did not feel it was anything that needed a doctors attention, on the morning of Saturday the 15th May his wife noticed he was struggling to breath and tried to assist but he soon died in her arms.
I would not say I was particularly close to Uncle Martin but I was always fond of him, as an uncle he was a cheerful man and never short of interesting things to say. He was also considered to be quite healthy, Martin and Mavis had retired to Uppingham, Leicestershire, for the surrounding countryside and views and enjoyed their walks together. I managed to make a very rare excursion from Newcastle for the occasion and was pleased to have been able to make it. My Mum also flew over from Zambia and I got to catch up with my cousin Phillip Roper whom I had not seen for many years.
The Funeral service was held on Thursday 5th May at Kettering Crematorium. It was a beautiful hot sunny day. Many of the guests had met Martin and Mavis on holiday in Greece where they often went. In the service Martin was referred to as a private man that very few people knew very well, but that everyone who did know him liked what they knew.
The picture is of Martin in Newcastle on the day of our wedding.
On Tuesday 2nd May Ladan and I got into another fully equiped emergency ambulance to travel between the Newcastle General Hospital and The Minories on the other side of the city centre. The Minories is a much more homely environment but still benefits from fully trained nursing staff and from a medical cover persective possibly slightly better connections. The rehabilitation service at the Minories is more basic but should be adequate for Ladan’s current needs, as yet the new physiotherapists and occupational therapists have not met Ladan, The Minories uses staff from the local community disability services for their rehabilitation work and advise, but the care team take on some of the day to day activities that are recommended by these professionals.It is too early to have much to say about the Minories as yet, below are a selection of photographs of Ladan’s new room which you can click on to enlarge.
I generally cut my own hair with clippers, and see a pile of my own hair build up before me in the process. Usually this is brown hair but somewhere between February and April a large bulk of it turned grey.
I was inclined to think it was down to the intense stress that the early part of this year has given me but it seems scientists generally disagree with the idea that stress causes grey hair, its an aging thing and presumably a coincidence when an increased onset coincides with a period of heavy stress, but there are still some who ask questions over the possibility that the underlying chemical processes of aging may also be triggered by stress.
Re: Can stress really cause (contribute to) whitening of the hair?: “stress “can probably contribute” to hair whitening in some genetically predisposed individuals”
Ladan has been a patient at the Newcastle General Hospital again since Monday, the plan is that she will move to the Minories in Jesmond (Newcastle) on Tuesday 2nd May.
Ladan had an MRI scan which showed no sign of new bleeds or other deterioration. In an examination Ladan’s consultant observed that Ladan knew he was there and was aware he was doing things to her, though he found no evidence of Ladan trying to interact with him.
The hospital were ready to discharge Ladan on Thursday but they agreed to let Ladan stay a little longer as the care home that Ladan is moving to was not quite ready for her.
The staff at the General have been very friendly and welcoming, it has been a pleasure to be back there for a short while. Many of the staff are very impressed with how well Ladan has been looked after in the eight months she was away and how healthy she looks in an overall sense.
Yesterday (April 10th) was our second wedding anniversary, it had its difficult moments, but I figured that of all the reasons a man find himself depressed on his second wedding anniversary mine was relatively acceptable.
- In the evening I watched our wedding DVD from start to finish, I hadn’t done that before, I usually skip my speech, some of my Persian dancing and some more of the disco, I had decided before hand that I would watch this by Ladan’s side, unfortunately with Ladan’s recent sleepiness (see updates below) she was asleep through most of it, but I had been worried this would be a very tearful experience for me on our second anniversary. On the contrary it was a very joyful experience, reminding me exactly why I have willingly allowed my life to become so disrupted to be by Ladan’s side and why I hope to continue my endeavour to build a life around her current needs until such time, if it comes, as she might manage to regain a higher level of consciousness.
When I arrived at the rehab centre earlier in the day I sang Ladan one of her favourite songs, Truly Madly Deeply (with slightly altered lyrics), I was reminded of our seven month anniversary when the doctors came in on their round to see me standing over Ladan in Intensive Care with a huge smile on my face, they must have thought for a moment that she had recovered, in reality I was happy because the doctors initial prognosis was that she might not survive that long.
- I change the lyrics to songs like that quite often to be a bit more relevant, for example the line “I want to lay like this forever” does not feel very appropriate for Ladan right now, but one of my favourite changes is from “I want to stand with you on a mountain” to “I want to stand with you on Mount Carmel” because we have an invitation to go on 9 day pilgrimage on June 19th, it is highly unlikely we will be able to make it and Ladan would have to make a very good recovery very very soon for us to still be accepted on it but any cancellation will put us on the bottom of a 5 year list so I have explained our circumstances and have my spiritual fingers crossed all the time.
- Funnily enough I had a dream in late March or early April last year that Ladan and I were in the General Hospital in the 29th April, I was reading something on my PDA (electronic organiser) and she was asleep when suddenly she sat up dazed and weak. On the 29th April last year I was therefore a feeling a little excited anticipation but if course nothing happened, there have been many dreams that could have been interpreted to have meanings relating to Ladan recovering and so while this is the only one that had an actual date in it I know to take these things very casually. However, although Ladan left the General Hospital on 1st September she is going back for about a week as of April 24th, so she may well be there again on 29th April! I’ll probably sit reading things from my PDA just to encourage the similarities with the dream!
You wait ages for an update then three come along at once! Actually its one big long update split into three parts, probably full of typing and grammatical errors as I have hurried it a little.
I know that many of you who check this blog for updates think of Ladan and pray for her and for her family regularly, I truly appreciate this and am touched that so many of you continue to do this after such a long time, I remain convinced that your prayers do have a positive influence upon Ladan and whilst remaining much the same may not sound like progress stability is very important and instability quite common for patients in Ladan’s condition.
Let the updates begin…
There is an unwritten rule about keeping people up to date with how Ladan is doing, if I write from a largely positive perspective things will look less positive shortly after posting the update, and if I write from a less than positive perspective then things will look better following the update, so it is with this in mind that I try to avoid negative updates but sometimes regret writing more up-beat ones. Needless to say Ladan hasn’t been quite as responsive since I wrote the last update, particularly in the days immediately following it. That said, Ladan has been getting as little stronger again, physically moving her head and arms with a little more strength, so that’s something slightly encouraging, today however she was very cold, below 35 degrees, which has been happening quite often since moving to Peterlee.
One of the sadder things to happen recently, actually later the same morning that I posted my last update, was that a 24 year old girl in the rehabilitation centre passed away. It was apparently a very sudden but peaceful end. Rachael Foster was fully conscious, having conversations and generally seemed to be doing very well, she was visited every day by several members of her family and clearly had a lot of support from friends and relatives, her funeral was attended by so many hundreds of people that streets had to be closed in Darlington as reported here in the local press.