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.

Saturday, 12 August 2017

Feeling normal.

When your spouse requires 24 HR care with 2 people every 12 hours it places certain restrictions on your life. One of them being the requirement to have them with Andy/us all of the time,  As time has passed Andy's staff have gotten used to him and him to them which has meant that when Andy is home he doesn't always have a staff member within sight but within shouting/sound distance.
Since getting the Possum system (see the post in December 2016) Andy has a call buzzer and this means that his staff can be further away because he can bleep them, it also means that when we go to church Andy can be left alone or talking with others and I can be getting my cup of tea ( a very important part of Sunday meetings!) or the children because we know he can call for help.

When we go out as a family we still have our staff with us but because we have a good working relationship and trust between us we are, more and more, being left to be ourselves as a family unit, with the staff within a safe, appropriate distance.
This may sound a bit weird right; Andy is a grown man and doesn't need to tell people (other than his wife😂) where he is, right? Wrong. Because we choose to have a care company to look after him they have a duty of care towards him which means, technically, they should be with him ALL the time but as that isn't something any of us want we have had to come up with a system that gives us all what we want; Care company working legally
         Andy having some autonomy/freedoms/choices etc.
         Wife and children having a relationship with him and vice-versa and as normal a life as possible.

I think we do have that, I choose when and where I want to care for Andy, the staff are good at knowing when to take a step back and when to step in to situations and they are able to support Andy in a timely manner and we live a normal life, as possible anyways. 

One such example was when we went bowling yesterday, it was Andy, Nathan and me and we got our lane and got Andy in a good place to join in the bowling and then his staff sat on another lane's seats. They could see us, we could see them but we had the privacy of anyone else bowling. Both Nathan and I helped Andy to get the bowling ramp in just the right place and supported his hand until he was ready to push the ball off and then we did our turns. After the bowling, which Andy WON, Nathan 2nd and I placed 3rd - or last as it might otherwise be known, we played a few arcade games with me winning air hockey! 

All in all a good night out.