Our Alfie moto, Don't. cry because its over, smile because it happened.

Our Alfie moto, Don't cry because its over, smile because it happened.Dr Seuss

Thursday, 31 May 2012

151-52 singing nigh nigh songs

We went to visit dad tonight with the kids in their jammies ready for bed with their bedtime books. It was pretty mental (as usual) however eventually we got 5 mins peace where we all read together The tiger who came to tea and sang the kids 'nighnigh' songs. Dad sang a few odd words of ally bally bee and geordie munro....but best of all he said Archie Doodle, of course I cried!

The kids got lots of cuddles and lots of tugging his lugs (their night time/sleepy comfort).
A lovely end to an otherwise difficult cabin fever rainy day - by 9am we had made models from tin foil of cars to smash with our monster trucks, painted not only on paper but their bodies, poured cheerios all over the kitchen floor, made a road for cars from a roll of brown paper, I can say this level of creativity and productivity is what comes from getting up at 5am!!! by 11am we had washed all paint off, made stove top popcorn (they love that popping) and were cuddled up watching Happy feet, come on it was our afternoon, No?

I managed to sneak in some sewing prep today for my next frock, I am doing another Cynthia rowley 1801, with some alterations - higher neckline shorter narrower sleeves and less bulk in the gathers of the skirt. fingers crossed.

Of course, I got a lovely smile kiss and cuddle from my lovely dad xxx

Tuesday, 29 May 2012

149-50 turning a corner...one of many I hope

I saw dad tonight and he seemed so much more like himself - He is engaging in conversation, I mean we don't know what he is saying but at least he is trying. He made a number of small words from scrabble tiles - corresponding with pictures and he got them correct. So small steps, but really the main thing is it seems that 'dad' is returning. He was so sweet tonight saying by to mum smiling and giving her a kiss, generally being goofy.

So great, it has been a tough week or so as progress has been very slow - On sunday I called my dads iphone as mum is using it, it went to answer machine and I heard his voice say 'alan'.....such a shock and such mixed emotions, my mum never said if she heard it or not. I really hope one day I will hear him say it again. I do know now however, that if i never hear him again is irrelevant, so long as he knows and understands us and us him it'll all be OK........

I have an interview in work on Friday to discuss my absence and what they can do to improve it, I know it is procedure and policy, but how can a meeting solve it? Surely it simply adds to the stress of an already almighty stressful situation.....I will remain open minded however and take it on the chin, nothing can compare to the shock and pain of watching my family crumble (melodrama is my middle name)

beautiful peony rose, I took one for Kirsty and Ants and one for dad - one of my faves.

Sunday, 27 May 2012

148 - icecream sundays

Dad was in good form tonight - his friends drove me along to see him and we stopped off at the chippy to get some ice cream (made by them) - so tasty. It was lovely all of us sitting in dads wee room eating ice cream. He seemed to enjoy it, I spoke with the nurses to see about him moving on food wise, he is still on 'mixed mashed'. He is going to be reassessed this week, hoping he will get a slice of toast and marmalade in the mornings.
For the last 3 mornings he has packed up his room, taken down all the photos from the wall and the cards and photos from the windowsill. My mum is upset about it thinking he is distressed, however I pointed out tonight that every morning in life for years he has got up and tidied up. My mum goes to bed and leaves her mug etc for dad to organise in the morning. He is simply doing his normal routine, this cracked us up - I think mum was relieved when we realised and remembered he is a creature of habit.

the dress made from this pattern i shortened sleeves and omitted the zip(too difficult).

Saturday, 26 May 2012

146-7 an afternoon kickaboot

Pug and I took the kids to visit dad this afternoon. We all went outside and played - the kids, mum and I played hide n seek, we all kicked the ball aboot, Archie and Sadie ran around in the bushes and Dad watched it all - smiling and belly laughing at the general summer madness.
 The kids wanted to climb trees so on the way back to the ward Pug found a  suitable tree,

When we got back into dads room, the kids did their usual and got into bed with him, lots of cuddles and cosying in with granda - I snuck a wee lay down with dad too.

Why after all this beautiful moments do I still leave with a heavy heart and tears streaming down my face? I swear my dad is happy, so what should it matter that he isn't himself anymore? The kids seem to have adapted pretty well - sadly I haven't. I still shake my head in disbelief regularly and I still hear my mums voice saying 'your dads had a stroke' more often than I care to mention.

As for sewing solace, I have created a new blouse this week
And a beautiful vintage bus journey frock - photos yet to come......tbh too afraid to photo it, I love it so much if I see a crappy photo it might put me off!

Thursday, 24 May 2012

144-45 geez peace!

mum and dad enjoying a sunny stroll yesterday

Dad is doing well, I think he has a much longer concentration span and seems to engage more. Thank goodness he still has his sense of humour - he spends most of his time laughing and absolutely is taking the piss. I was worried that he would have a change in personality and I suppose in many ways he has in that he can't be arsed doing anything - he was never dynamic, but he did do stuff. Not now, now he rolls his eyes, says god and sighs if you ask him to do anything. It is funny though to watch him, he can communicate so much just by his eyes and face, he turns his top left lip up in disgust regularly. He seems to permanently want everyone to leave him alone in his wee fog - geez peace is what his face conveys. He does however still seem amused by things and isn't bad tempered, that was my worry, that not only would he struggle but that he would also be a moody grumpy old git, phew lucky in some ways I suppose.

Tonight he refused to walk me to the door as he was already in his jammies - huge move towards social awareness, a few weeks ago he would have wandered aboot in his boxers given the chance.

Love dad so much, so lovely to get a hug the night and to see him giving my mum a hug and a kiss.

Tuesday, 22 May 2012

143 - 1,2,3......

I visited dad this eve, I went for a run whilst there. The weather was glorious, I listened to Eddi Reader (it reminds me of when we went to see her together) i was such a beautiful eve - so sad I couldn't share it with my dad.

When I got back, we had some quiet time then we tried some exercises. Dad was soooo pissed off attempting to use his right arm - he said 1 2 3 whilst counting with his fingers as if he was saying I've had to do this how many times today.
He also muttered God when the one show came on, never been a fan!

He is definitely making progress, however it is teeny tiny steps - Oh he decided to shave tonight, rather than being forced.

Monday, 21 May 2012

142 -no news is good news

So, I guess dad is just getting into a wee rhythm. He now goes for lunch and dinner in the dining room - major progress. He also has his schedule of therapies, so has a pretty busy day mon-fri. Today was the 1st time he actually focused and wanted to do well in his SALT, a serious move for the better.
Hope he keeps up the focus, it will help - although is exhausts him, it is good to see him make an effort and take an interest.

Apparently, he was really animated and laughing loads when Bill came to see him this afternoon........good to hear.

Missing both mum and dad right now. Looking forward to some lunch with mum and kids at mum and dads house the morn.

Sunday, 20 May 2012

140+1 sunny happiness

I stayed with my mum last night so never wrote a blog, Dad was in good form though, if not a tad exhausted by the full on footie antics of the day. He watched the whole hibs - hearts match, quite an achievement, I hear a number of hibs fans couldn't even manage that. I had a nice visit it was just dad, mum and myself - peaceful quiet times.

Today was the polar opposite, we took the kids. Dad's room isn't big - maybe 8ft by 10ft. His rooms seems even smaller with 5 adults and 2 mental kids in it, we even managed a wee kick aboot and a few of the heid! to the amusement of the bairns who were squealing and laughing - happy days.
Dad seems oto be making very small but steady and significant progress. Simple things like being able to take a shower alone, eating in the dining room with the patients both  really make all the difference to his self esteem and sense of self.

Sadie was adorable with him today, she was so sleepy that she climbed onto the bed pulled him down beside her, cosied in and played with his big old lug - happy girl and happy granda.

Before our visit Momo and I took the kids to a vintage bus rally (mmm whole new world of geekery I never knew about). It was lovely, the weather was beautiful, the kids loved it and Momo and I reminisced about the buses of our childhoods - I  got carried away on a few romanticised imaginary journeys on the old buses - thinking beautiful summer dresses, picnic baskets, seaside, sunshine...............

the desination we are living on.

Friday, 18 May 2012

138 + 9 memories

Pug, the kids and I stayed at the flat in Edinburgh last night - with my Dad in Cameron and mum being there all day we needed sort out the flat for folks coming next week.

It was odd being in the flat with the wee ones, they were excellent - couldn't believe how easy they went to sleep and were settled all night. Our lovely pals Sam and Viv came for dinner with wee Harris, how strange for us all - like old times minus the booze and with our own kids!!! We still had a lot of fun and the kids loved it. Pug and I had a nice eve watching ER box set courtesy of the awesome Sinead.

I was overwhelmed occasionally with sadness, wondering if my dad will ever go back to the flat in the same way as before. I remembered all the times we had all hung out there, how him and I spent times decorating together. He used to go through on his own to get the flat ready for folk coming......now I worry he won't ever be able to even be left alone never mind get a train to Edinburgh alone.

The doctor at Cameron spoke with mum yesterday and he was pretty bleak - not anything we haven't heard before but nevertheless - it still sucks to hear it.

On a positive note, dad said Bye to me today, he gave me a hug and he smiled and laughed when he saw Mini - doing his usual WATC

Pug and I always write down some of the mad stuff the kids stay - we hope one day to incorporate them into a tattoo.
Archie's latest was 'she hit me on the head with a wooden fish' xxxx

Wednesday, 16 May 2012

137 - wednesday night is games night

Dad has been playing today - dominoes, connect four, chess and in his physio today he threw and caught a ball, dribbled the ball and had a kick about.
We are anticipating many more kick aboots in the car park over the coming months.

I took the wee ones to see him tonight, Archie bolted in to straight from the car, having been once he already knows the score - Sadie yelled Granda down the length of the corridor as soon as she was in, so clearly they are secure and happy with granda's new home. Dad was pretty good with them making his 'We are the champion noises' (WATC) - which Archie now says is his granda talking to him, telling him he loves him, He said Bye when Pug and Arch left the room.
Everyday we are seeing tiny changes - hope they keep coming.

I went to knitting tonight for the 1st time since dad has been ill, it was lovely to see everyone, i managed to get a fair bit of knitting done, I finished a friends wee ones Pickles vest and learnt how to crochet my granny squares together - productive eve.
Felt a bit shell shocked to be out and sociable.......baby steps,
Love you my dad xxxx

Tuesday, 15 May 2012

136 - ruby tuesday

My lovely dad read 'tuesday' from the board in the dining room today! Pretty good going.

I had a much nicer visit with him today. I went with mum.  Bill, Geraldine and Finlay were also there. We sat in the dining room, it was fairly peaceful. I had a nice chat with dad's named Nurse, she was very kind and gentle - I know we will be seeing each other a lot more - so a positive that she is such a nice person.
Ove the shock of my lovely dad being in there, it is going to be our 2nd home for the next 6 months so we better get used to it.
Mum and Dad had lunch together at a dinner table today - a real treat after 4 weeks eating alone.
Now the real work starts - love you Dad so braw to see you the day. xxxx

Monday, 14 May 2012

135 - shock to the system

phew that was harsh, I know it is the best place for him - but yikes, it all seemed to scary. People really ill in bed, others a bit better - clearly a scale of 'defecit'.
My poor dad was so bewildered and bemused by the whole thing - I'm sure in a few days we will all settle in and get accustomed to our new routine.
I am feeling quite ambivalent about it, not sure really. It seems almost final, real that my dad requires to be in that place, unlike the hospital where he was 'ill'. Not explaining myself very well.

At least he perked up when he saw the kids and Bill came to visit and got his usual great response.

c'mon dad, get better and get home.

Must note so far staff were amazing!!!

Sunday, 13 May 2012

134 lazy like sunday

We all had a lazy day, except poor Dad who is back to being unsettled, thought we had cracked it but no - he is back to trying to get out. Tonight when Antony left he wanted to go with him - he asked my mum Why? I was with him for a while - we had a wee rota so someone could be with him all day. I had a lovely run in the rain and then a nice hour just dad mum and I. He drank some of my Lemonata and really enjoyed it, although he refused my lovely homemade chilli!
He watched young musician of the year for a half hour tonight, that is great concentration.
So we really need everyone to focus all positive energy on getting him to Cameron tomorrow. There is a bed, however two guys need it - my dad being one of them. How cool would it be if he was there within the next few days.......he so needs the stimulation, today he spent ages folding plastic bags for the ward - just to keep him occupied.

I feel a bit better emotionally, I had a decent sleep and pug stayed home today - we didn't spend much time together as we both did stints at the hospital and both napped. Good to just have some down time.
My mind is spinning with all the sewing projects I am planning, itching to sew.....

A wee treat for those of you who remember the 'annie' dress
Isn't it so much more beautiful modelled by the muse!

Saturday, 12 May 2012

133 coffee, sunshine, fresh air, smiles, laughs, crazy kids.......

Mum was allowed in to stay with dad today as he managed to escape from the ward down to the bottom floor of the hospital....scary!
The bonus to this is that she gets to spend whole day with him and that she can take him outside for a walk. We all met them in the grounds of the hospital. What a lovely afternoon, the kids were mental as usual and dad was loving watching them play in the bushes whooping and screaming.
Archie and I had a wee chat tonight about Granda and him trying to communicate - he makes noises and faces at the kids, they haven't yet picked up on the nuances of his new communication, so I am trying to school Archie in it, I think I managed to get through some of it.

I realised today that I in my dad having his stroke I have lost my moral compass - in the past if I have had to make any decisions or I've been in a situation I've always valued my dads view. If for instance I have felt in any way wronged I've run the situation past mum who then runs it past dad - if he thinks I have been wronged I feel validated in my gripe, mainly because he is so fair and unlike mates, Momo or Pugs or my mum dad wouldn't take my side simply because he's my dad. So who do I go to now when I need some reassurance that its OK to be pissed off, that someone may actually have done me wrong? Sad times......

I have also long been pondering the past. Previously when mum and dad watched the kids I was really aware about spending time with them outwith their 'childcare' times as I worried so much about exploiting them, about them having time for themselves, about allowing them some down time. I am now so ambivalent about it, on one hand I am grateful so grateful that I spent every minute hanging out with my dad, watching him play with the kids, blethering, going on holidays together (a huge favourite for all of us). On the other hand however I feel terribly guilty that the time they should have had together as a couple was monopolised by me and my kids. Life is never black and white - shit, such mixed emotions is a killer on my ruminating brain.

Suffice to say, I love my mum and dad more than ever and every moment spent is valued. xxx

Friday, 11 May 2012

132 - peaceful eve

I missed visiting with dad this afternoon, 2 kids + pouring rain is not a good combo.
I find myself spending more time trying to look after wee ones than spending time with dad, it is lovely however to leave them for a wee while with mum and dad and watch through the window - I can almost pretend things are normal ( I know its wrong and not helping me accept our situation, but it is lovely to escape back for a moment or two).

Tonight it was just me, mum and dad - very chilled. Mum showed dad all the recent photos on my phone, after a few he reached forward and swiped the screen to get the next photo - a good sign, he can learn new things. I knitted, we went for a wee wander - lovely and mellow, much like an eve at theirs.

Dad is trying to talk - it is so distressing to watch, he is struggling to find language and then he gives up. I am hoping this is a good sign, that he is at least trying to communicate.

Good news is he is now on normal fluids with supervision - finally a cup of tea and I am going to take him a Costa's flat white on Sunday. Simple pleasures, xxxxx

Granda's photos of the day.
Sadie in mummy's creepers - what I woke to at the side of the bed this am

And Archie in my sandals

sleepy morning girl x

Thursday, 10 May 2012

131- more words

Haha has been extremely clingy for the last few days, I think she is teething and only wants me.
When we visited dad this afternoon Haha spent the whole time asking for me..mummy, mummy, mummy, mummy......Her lovely Granda said it back to her twice.
It is great to hear him talk, then SALT spoke to us today, not great news as usual - it is so hard to stay positive. I know we will remain positive, it is just a wee wobble. Dad is still struggling with understanding, it sucks seeing him like that. Sometimes he tries to talk, but can't find the words. It isn't that he can't physically talk, his brain doesn't know the words.
He must be so scunnered poor guy, I miss him so much.
Sad night tonight, tears flowing wanting my dad back, xxxxxx

Wednesday, 9 May 2012

130 - cheesey grins, phew

Not bad looking for a couple who have had a traumatic 24 days.....keep on going Dad, we are all here for you waiting for more smiles, laughs and hugs.

Finally a glimpse of my dad - fleeting but still there, xxx LOVE you

Tuesday, 8 May 2012

129 - exhausted

Dad left the hospital today for a wee walk, he managed quite far - so this eve he was exhausted.
He did really well and seems to have grasped the patient idea now - no more escape strategies going on.
He was great again with the kids this aft, lots of cuddles and noises.
He participated in rehab for the 1st time today and bet the SALT guy at noughts and crosses, apparently he used proper strategy - so his concentration is obviously extending. He said yeah and No tonight and he said goodbye to my mum.
Phew I'm exhausted, so god knows how mum must be feeling, the emotions involved are using all my spare energy - so anything other than taking care of kids, visiting and running zaps me.
It was however, lovely to see my sands mums today, I've missed my pals - such an awesome group of woman.

Monday, 7 May 2012

128 - happiest bday present

My beautiful dad was awesome this aft, we took the kids in to visit with him and he loved it. He was the best and closest to himself since the stroke. He was so animated, he tried to talk, went for a walk holding the kids hands,sang to the kids, spent ages stroking Archie's hair while they had a cuddle, it was so lovely. At one point I went outside with Pug and watched through the window as Mum and Dad hung out with the kids, they were sitting on the bed next to one another, dad put his arm round her shoulders and kissed her - tears of joy from both Pug and I........ a beautiful moment, lets hope we have many more.

I couldn't have asked for anything better, xxxx Thanks my lovely dad

Sunday, 6 May 2012

126-7 limited progress - tiny steps

I didn't blog last night as I stayed with my mum to keep her company. We actually had a lovely eve, after visiting with Dad we went back to theirs and hung out, ate choc, drank wine, knitted, crocheted and watched 2 episodes of the bridge - happy days........only thing mussing my Dad in the corner saying nowt but bringing us our drinks and snacks.

Dad's progress is slowing down (as is to be expected), he is managing a few wee things and the more time we spend with him the more wee things we notice. Today he managed to cross his arms in front of him. I was standing chatting to him and mum and a guy wanted past with a piece of machinery, my dad signalled to me to get out of the way - big deal really that he has that level of awareness. He laughed out loud at his male nurse commenting on a bogie and he is giving mum loads of cuddles and kisses.

On the downside he is still very confused, he just wants to leave - we spent the eve wandering the corridors and trying to keep him away from exits - we now have to hide bags, coats etc as if he sees them he thinks it is time to go home. My mum is just awesome, her love for my dad is amazing - he is such a challenge, he is so pissed off and frustrated yet she continues to smile, kiss him, encourage him etc - all these years of love coupled with her years as a primary teacher means she has infinite patience and compassion - what a woman. She is smiling in the face of it all - we keep cuddling dad and telling him he is getting better and that we can fight it, we are all in it together etc

Bring on Cameron so that poor guy can get some decent rehab and a bit of fresh air......

My emotions have settled again, I feel a little less manic and the sadness has dissipated for now - I know these things come in waves, so I am hunkering down recharging and waiting for the next hurdle.
Thanks again to all for the loving thoughts - so much easier knowing people have got our back.

Friday, 4 May 2012

125 - just a phase?

Dad is doing so well physically, tonight he was wandering around with one hand in his pocket! Apparently, we have this on good advice that this 'wandering' is a phase - especially when the physical body recovers at a faster rate than the cognitive. Phew, because it is distressing for all concerned - poor Dad, he so doesn't want to go back into the bay, he started making an awful high pitched sound almost like a silent scream. He is a wido though, we were giving him a hard time tonight because he made a be line straight for the door to the visitors waiting room - access tot eh outside world - and knew to press the button to get release the security door, en route he started walking funny and we worked out he was pretending to sneak out, thank goodness he still has a sense of humour.

Wee Mable visited tonight and he was his usual animated self with her, some light relief for all involved.

I so hope this is a phase - he is going to Cameron asap now, they have beautiful grounds apparently - better have an electric perimeter fence too!

O my lovely Dad, it is so sad and distressing to see you so confused - you've been my constant my whole life, I had no idea you'd be whipped from us so savagely and quickly.......one imagines a decline in the abilities of their parents both mentally and physically, but to lose it within the space of an hour is just gut wrenching. I wonder when the tears will stop?

Thursday, 3 May 2012

124 - beautiful flower moment

I went in to see dad the day and noticed this.......
Every year Dad always says the gorgeous rhododendron bush flowers on the 1st of may - our old neighbour Molly was just saying to Mum, Alan will be chuffed his roddi will be out soon. Mum must have taken in for him, I know it is only a wee flower, but I was so sad - I couldn't stop the tears, all that it symbolises, our beautiful family garden cared for by both of them all these years, my mum trying to reach out to my dad, all the fantastic sunny days we've spent hanging out in the garden with the kids - shit I can just about cope if I focus on the here and now, but if begin to comprehend just what we may have lost - I lose it.
I just want my barry dad back....................love you pops xxxx

On a positive note, mum was allowed to spend the time between visting with dad today, teh just sat quietly together as they would at home - he perked up when pointless came on.
My mum told him today, we are going to fight this we are 'team Strachan' and we can get through this! xxx

Wednesday, 2 May 2012

123 - a move is on the cards

We had a big meeting today with the stroke liaison nurse. She is so kind, down to earth and positive and yet I still feel shocked and somewhat numb when I realise mid conversation that we are discussing my lovely, articulate, generous, kind, funny, astute dad - where has that guy gone? I swear he is in there somewhere - you must all be bored of me saying that (you've no idea how many times a day I reassure myself!!! take heart that I only write it down once a day or you would be as demented as I am). Liaison nurse is optimistic that he will go into the under 65 unit at Cameron hopefully next week.

He is much more settled today, so no escape as yet, although he maybe using a covert tactic and planning - somehow unlikely, as it is 'impulse control' that has been damaged, he doesn't take stock of or observe, he just does nae planning involved. Apparently something he will relearn. We were also told today although we can never say never he has suffered significant damage to his speech and it will require huge therapy. Isn't it funny how things change, initially we were so concerned about him being able to talk - now I don't care, I've lowered the bar already - now I'd be over the moon if I thought he could comprehend his situation and understand us.

Peggy visited today, she was similar to Archie in her response - but warmed as time went on and then didn't want to leave - the opposite to her Granda. Dad was great with her, smiling and attempting to chat.

Tonight, a guy who was visiting someone else came over and said Hi Alan - none of us knew who he was, he said to dad you won't recognise me - we all looked bewildered, then he said his name at which point my Dad straight away lit up, tried to sit forward and shake with his bad arm...he was so animated, he said 'i think'.....and trailed off as usual - another new word though. He also used hand gestures to make a point.
Hmmm he is so selective in his responses, the therapy road is gonna be a mystery tour!

What braw to see him smiling the day xxx

Tuesday, 1 May 2012

122-bittersweet happiness

We took the kids in to see my dad today - Sadie hasn't been in for a few days and it was Archie's first visit. In many ways it was wonderful to see dad with the kids, he said hiya 3 times to Sadie and he sang her the 1st line of Aly baly bee (I discussed music therapy with his nurse today). She is totally natural with him, she sat on his bed for easily 10mins reading him his cards, pointing to the pictures and telling him what they were, while he oo'd and ahh'd in all the right places. Archie was quite timid to start with but as time went on he relaxed and was finally more interested in the electric bed and the bed guards - he did show dad his trains and tell him about them, but he was aware that it wasn't his 'usual' grandad.

My heart breaks thinking about what he has lost, I can't begin to go there - I just have to think if this is what we have now we will make the most of it. The kids will adapt and more than likely forget a time when granda was his 'usual' self.

In terms of dad he is making slow progress - he is still trying to escape the ward. He was caught at the lifts today pressing the button to go down - luckily they caught him. Mum has had to buy 2 rather brightly coloured t shirts for him to wear so he can be spotted and easily identified, she showed him them tonight and he burst out laughing. He said Oh Hi when I walked in tonight to visiting and he is making more effort to try and talk. Our encounter with SALT today was a little depressing, he never sugar coats anything, so it is tough going.

phew - pretty exhausting this roller coaster of emotion.
Pugs finals went well, he is quietly confident - actually he said 'i'm not suicidal' about it - same diff no?

Had a nice hug wi dad before I left, xxxxx

We all also want to say a huge thanks to everyone for there messages of kindness and offers of help. As for my lovely pals, thanks girls - not ready to come out the bubble as of yet, but I will try again soon. Good to feel the love and know that the support is there.