Andy's Story

Andy Blagden is a young man, married to Charlotte and has 3 children; Lauren, Katie and Nathan. (The children were 12, 9 & 2.5 years old at the time of diagnosis).
Andy was diagnosed with a tumour in his spinal cord in June 2013. The tumour was at spinal level Cervical 3 going down to Thoracic 2 (C3-T2). This is incredibly high up the neck and the only option was to operate. This in itself was not without risk but after a 15-16 hour operation the tumour had been removed. The outlook was good. Then Andy became ill....
Early September Andy contracted pneumonia and then sepsis, Andy's kidneys then failed and he was put on constant dialysis for a month and required a blood transfusion during this time.
Andy came through all this but he now lives with the consequences; paralysed from the shoulders down and unable to breathe without ventilatory support, this is his ongoing story of rehabilitation with the goal of getting back home to his family and his future.

Monday, 14 March 2016


 As I've just posted about a fundraiser I thought I'd give a little bit of info as to what the money is needed for.

I think I've posted previously about how we are getting the money to build our extension but in case I  haven't; basically we are selling some property we invested into that was supposed to be our pension plan. We didn't qualify for a disabled facilities grant because of having assets. The money raised from doing this though isn't enough to complete a build that has a 'quality-of-life' about it so we've had to fundraise as well. That isn't meant to sound like it's been an onerous task as people want to be generous and give anyway but sometimes when you're giving it's nice to be getting too and fundraising events such as the choir performance are excellent ways of doing this.


In no particular order:

New beds - this is a major one because Andy can only use specialised beds now which the ccg provide for him but not taking into account his marital status, therefore I would have my own single bed but it wouldn't allow me to see or speak to him once we were in bed. After 30 months of not doing this already I really want to put an end to that. It also has good clinical reasons as I can see him and know if he needs help, very important when he's on the ventilator and cannot speak.

New bedroom furniture - having just trashed our old lot we need new stuff anyway but it also now has to be more suited to Andy's abilities so that he can see what clothing is available and have the autonomy over what he wears. It also needs to be able to hold enough medical equipment to look after him for a two day period, ( the rest being stored elsewhere) as well as our personal effects and 'stuff' and be organised in such a way that our privacy isn't invaded as we will have staff in and out of our own private area.

Garden landscaping - this is more than prettying up our garden, this is about making it suitable for Andy to get into the garden from the back of the house and not just for pleasure but also because it's his main fire escape route. This is likely to be sloped decking but I don't know at the moment.

Driveway - needs to be able to take my car, Andy's van and 2 staff cars. And to be able to move these cars around without having to make every car move every time!! It also needs to be wheelchair friendly so Andy can mobilise safely.

Appliances - having a new kitchen designed with Andy's needs and abilities in mind means we need new kitchen appliances, such as an integrated fridge freezer,  built-in oven, separate hob and a tumble dryer.

All of this will mean Andy's return home will give him and us a future to look forward to, even if it's different to what we'd planned. It's always been about that and I will fight hard to ensure it remains about that.
At the beginning of the process, when I was talking to an OT and DFG lady I was made to feel that so long as Andy had a room stuck on the back of the house, with no regard to the knock-on effect of loosing family access to the garden (kids would've had to walk through his bedroom to get to the garden or out the front door and round the side) then that was a job well done. When I told her I planned to share that room with him she was gobsmacked. 

I was offended, massively offended. 

I was then determined to make sure that was never the case and having had to fight for Andy's space at the spinal cord injury centre she didn't stand a chance. Now, our desire to be reunited again is becoming a reality. Sadly, it's costing thousands and thousands but thanks to the generosity of everyone those above mentioned items are also looking to be a reality. 
Yes, I'm looking forward to having a new home, new kitchen, new family space, new bedroom but I'd MUCH MUCH MUCH rather have my husband whom I married, my husband whom I'd planned on doing things with as we got older, my husband with a fully working body. My Andy. 


Something I'm really excited about is a fundraiser that's happening locally to us on Saturday 19th March, for two reasons: 

One is that it's my birthday that day!
The other is that Andy can come to it too!
And the third one is people's generosity in giving up time to raise money for Andy.

Hopefully you can see all the details on the picture below but if you need me info then please comment  below and I'll respond.

Ongoing decorating chaos!

In the picture in part 1 you can see the cousins decorating Katie's room, well we got Nathan's room done and it looks lush except for the bit where he's tried to self-decorate with coffee stirrers and cotton buds stuck on the wallpaper with sellotape, so now I have to go get a sample of said wallpaper and repair it, because I have nothing else to do of course!

Anyway he is enjoying his room and so we made a good start on Katie's room and that is almost finished, thanks to the in-laws for doing probably the majority of the work! Carpet goes down shortly and then I will be flat-packing again, making a high sleeper bed for Katie and then the finishing touches.

I had a friend come over to help me move the wardrobes out and downstairs ready for a charity to collect but when we were getting them out the bedroom it was evident they weren't going to make it downstairs intact so we bashed them up a bit and then I spent a large chunk of time breaking it into component parts ready for recycling at the household recycling centre ( not the tip these days!) along with two chests of drawers and two bedside tables and our marital bed- this was our bedroom furniture when we moved into our house, kindly left by the seller to us (the bed was ours that we chose together). Sad times, but onwards and upwards!

When you start decorating you see so much that needs doing on top of what you'd planned to do but most of that is stuff that can be done at 'leisure' and now Lauren is in my old room the kids now have a room each and I have the lounge on a put-u-up bed. It's actually comfy but I share it with my mum as she uses it when she babysits overnight to allow me to get to work for 8am, so on a Monday and Tuesday night I shall be bunking in with my mum in the lounge for the foreseeable!! (Hopefully borrowing a bed for myself, lol)