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.

Wednesday, 7 June 2017

More improvements




Andy has been practising feeding himself with his staff supporting his hand and elbow, well the other day Andy did it himself with no support and managed to get some food in too, so the next thing is for us to find suitable cutlery that food will stay on better. 

Still improving despite being 3 yrs post injury.

Holidays!

With a hop, skip and a big jump I'm skipping through January, February and March and going to blog about the Easter holidays.

Its taken a bit of time to get me to this point to write about our main family holiday, mainly because it was a calamitous affair and made me somewhat stressed out and upset, but as things are happening in the near future I need to blog about too I thought i'd better get over myself and write about it.

Last year my Dad had suggested a family holiday with us, my parents and my two sisters and their families. He wanted to go to a one of the sites his timeshare has but would need me to say it was suitable for Andy as he would be sacrificing some of his weeks to do this holiday, so my Mum and I (and Nathan) did a reccy visit up to The Lakes staying in Penrith. The visit went well and the site and accommodation looked suitable so we said it would be fine and we should go for it.


Nathan having breakfast at our B & B on our reccy!

Ourselves and the care team went into planning mode, asking which staff would like to do a working holiday, working out the logistics of getting staff 5hrs north, and the need for them to also work a 12 hr shift, and where they would stay also (which happened to be on site with us) and his key worker wrote lists of things Andy would need, packed it all up in boxes ready to go in the van.
   
Meanwhile the van, which was not even a year old, was making a humming sound like the police sirens in the distance. I booked it into the garage for the week after we got back because they had nothing sooner and because it was still working fine, apart from this noise. WELL........... on the day of departure Andy went in the van with his staff and Lauren & I took my Dad's car and a trailer (we always have to have the trailer on holiday as we always have too much stuff just for a car)  (Nathan and Katie went with other relatives) and they followed behind me...... or at least I thought they were but the nearer I got to the motorway the more I couldn't see them so Lauren phoned them and they said "We've broken down and are in Morrisons car park!".
   
 We went to meet up with them and, to cut a long story short, it was agreed that Lauren, myself and the trailer with all his equipment would go on ahead and they would follow behind once Motability/RAC  had sorted the problem, except RAC couldn't solve the problem on the roadside and they were taking the van to the garage on EASTER SATURDAY!
Renault would then take a look at it on Tuesday, due to it being bank holidays etc. Meanwhile the rest of us were at least half way up the country and so we carried on going as there was no other solution.
     
We also had the slight problem the Andy's night staff were already there in The Lakes so they had to turn around and go home but rendez-vous with us at a motorway services to collect Andy's vital equipment.
     
The next 3 days were spent making various and numerous phone calls to try to get a replacement vehicle, as per the agreement with Motability, for Andy. Not as easy as it sounds and with each day that passed there was becoming less point in Andy making the trip at all BUT by late Tuesday, with interventions from a lady at Motability we had assurances of a vehicle being delivered to Andy on Wednesday.
   
Our care company, who were trying very hard to accommodate all the changes being placed on them too got everything sorted with the new van, Andy and the night staff and he was on the road by 3pm. At 6pm I got a phone call to say they were stuck in traffic on the motorway and had been for a bit so I googled for traffic updates and found out that an accident further up had shut the motorway in both directions and unfortunately for Andy he was positioned after the last open junction and the accident meaning he couldn't get off the motorway, and the suggested re-opening of the M6 was midnight!!
   
Andy arrived on Wednesday just before midnight and the day staff and night staff unpacked everything and then night staff had to set up all the equipment that had been brought up with Andy, so it was near on 1:30am before Andy and I could go to sleep. Andy was up relatively early the next day, and in good spirits, so we decided to make the most of the day and went to Lake Windermere on a boat trip, mooching round Bowness on Windermere, and then going back to Ambleside. overnight another piece of equipment broke, as well as the ventilator having played up, so it was decided that Andy would go home Friday morning. So our long-awaited family holiday over the Easter period lasted  for 1 1/2 days, in real terms!.