1st July: Ronnie was wide awake for most of our visit today. He was sitting in a chair and kept trying to pull out the naso gastric feed tube and the line for administering drugs. He also tried to escape from his wheelchair but didn't have enough power in his legs to support himself. I had bought a good luck card for Vicki, who starts back to work and to a new job as branch manager of RBS in Denny. I signed it from both Ronnie and me and asked him to give it to her. He opened the envelope and looked at the card from all angles, but I realised he can't read. The tracheostomy tube was still in place but not connected, so he is breathing on his own. They plan to put the speaker valve on tomorrow.
Kestrel, who was at RHS, has brought back the respiratory virus and he, Haakon and Honey (the mother of the foal with the fracture) are now on antibiotics. The foal is fine now but I can't turn them out for fear of infecting all the other ponies who live out. No more news on Elise, but expect a call tomorrow.
2nd July: Despite all my efforts to keep Kestrel separate after RHS and change clothes, use dedicated buckets and so on, three ponies in the yard got the virus and now all the other ponies have it too. If you have horses and ponies or are likely to be in contact with equines, do not come here. There will be a quarantine sign on the gates. The virus is airborne. Someone really doesn't like me and I truly can't take much more.
This was Vicki's first day back at work and straight into a new job as RBS branch manager at Denny, so we went to Edinburgh when she finished work to spend an hour with Ronnie. Ronnie was asleep nearly all the time tonight and either would not or could not talk. It was very disappointing for Vicki and me as we had been looking forward to hearing him speak. He has had the canula taken out and the only support he has is the feeding tube. He even resisted the big bruiser of a nurse's attempts to waken him with painful stimuli. (it was she who tickled his toes a few weeks ago to make him respond).
The ambulance is booked for tomorrow and it is 99% certain Ronnie will move to Stirling.
Elise is stable but the blood clotting is still too slow. A liver biopsy would give the vets a diagnostic and prognostic tool, but it's too dangerous just now.
3rd July: Ronnie was transferred from Edinburgh to Stirling today. The ambulance was booked for 4:00pm but didn't leave till 5:45pm. Ronnie arrived just before I did at Stirling. He was put into a general medical ward. We had been told he would go to ICU or HDU. The nurse who greeted us and him didn't seem to have a clue. She pointed out where the toilets and showers were and we pointed out that he couldn't walk and should still have a catheter. (He did still have a catheter, but she didn't know). She spoke to him as if he was five years old.
Just as I was about to leave, a junior doctor came to examine him. She says he will be weaned off the tracheostomy while he's in Stirling and then assessed as to where he should go and what should be done for him. The options are Falkirk for rehabilitation or being discharged home. She says he will only be in Stirling for a few days.
I pointed out that he needed nutrition via the naso-gastric tube. He'd been without it it for two hours by this time.
The ward is noisy and not as scrupulously clean as Edinburgh. There are four patients in a cubicle and one keeps smashing things and shouting. Edinburgh was quiet and calm and very clean.
Ronnie was quite bright and alert but started to get tired. When he speaks, it's like a gurgle and because I'm deaf, I can't make out what he's trying to say. He doesn't want to talk, anyway, he signed to me.
4th July: I was horrified at the prospect of what the junior doctor said about the possibility of Ronnie's being discharged home, as I know I couldn't do everything to meet his present needs. Vicki phoned this morning and spoke to the staff nurse who said discharge is not a possibility just now. I am relieved but went through a bad night last night, worrying about it. Yes, I did get very drunk last night!
Ronnie was quite bright this afternoon. Initially he turned away from me and holding on to the bed rails, looked as if he were making an escape attempt. The he turned round and gave me a hug. I did ask him if it were another escape attempt!
He had had a restless night, I think just as a result of the change and from being in a busy ward as opposed to a quiet ward in HDU. The consultant has seen him, but he has yet to be assessed by the consultant from Falkirk Rehabilitation Facility. He will be in Stirling for a few days. They will assess whether he can swallow (a job dine by the speech therapist, to my surprise (that was one of my ambitions many moons ago). If he can, the the tracheostomy and feed tube will be removed. I bought him Lego, after reading about Richard Hammond's (Top Gear) terrible accident and how it helped him recover. I hope Ronnie will build me something spectacular!.
5th July: Shona and Kim came here today to help. despite my protests about quarantine. Both showered and changed clothes before they left.
Honey had stopped eating and so I had to call the vet. I had to leave before the vet had finished. Shona and Kim moved ponies around to make life easier for me. Rosella, who has osteoarthritis. is very lame and her hoof has a vertical crack and a horizontal one. I think it may be time to call it a day, as she has had problems for two years now but I have managed her so that she hasn't been in pain and has had a quality of life. I don't think she has that now.
Ronnie was asleep when I arrived this afternoon, but woke up and was quite bright and alert. John Hallam, a good friend, arrived to visit and Ronnie's face lit up with a big smile. Ronnie is much the same as yesterday and I didn't have a chance to speak to the ward staff as they were busy with new admissions. He still has the tracheostomy tube, but wasn't coughing as much. He still has the naso-gastric feed tube.
I went to Comet and bought him a tiny personal radio and CD player which might relieve the boredom for him if he can work them. I intend to get audio books for him as well.
6th July: I had my misgivings when Ronnie was put into a general medical ward at Stirling instead of HDU or ICU, and I was correct. Today he was very tired but had no feeding tube. He didn't communicate much and slept most of the time. The tracheostomy tube was still in place, although it was meant to be removed today. A nutritionist spoke to me and said Ronnie had kept pulling out the feeding tube and they would need to contact Edinburgh about what to do. She said Dr Prempeh from Falkirk still hadn't been to assess Ronnie. No nurses available, so couldn't ask questions.
Vicki phoned and got the staff nurse. The staff in the general medical ward can't remove the tracheostomy tube and will need to get ENT or another specialist to do it. They don't know if he can swallow so they can't give him real food. Now they have him on an intravenous drip to give him liquids.
7th July: Ronnie was awake nearly all the time today and was quite bright. It's so hard to know what he does and doesn't understand or recognise. Sometimes I think he nods just to please me because if I ask the same question again, I often get a puzzled look.
He pulled out the line for the fluids while I was there. The nurse put the valve into another vein but didn't reconnect the fluids. The staff nurse said they had blocked the tracheostomy tube this morning but Ronnie had panicked. The tracheostomy was meant to be removed today but the staff nurse said he didn't know how to do it and was going to get someone who did. It didn't happen while I was there. Ronnie has a rash on his back. I wonder if it's MRSA. I am so unimpressed with his treatment in this ward.
Later: Vicki spoke to a nurse tonight who put the blame for the lack of progress on Edinburgh for not providing information in their notes on Ronnie. I find this hard to believe. The attitudes in the two places are miles apart: in Edinburgh, everything was done with meticulous care.
8th July: The tracheostomy was taken out this morning! At last! It's four and a half weeks since Ronnie last spoke. He can but didn't speak to me at first. A nurse came to do something to him and he moved the wrong way and he said, "Sorry!" I tried to get him to repeat it, but he wouldn't. He seems much more comfortable now and was sitting up in bed, propped up with pillows, whereas before he was lying down. He only answered my questions with nods but then I asked him something and he came out with a very quickly spoken sentence but I couldn't make out what he said! Curses! A neighbour is going to see him tonight whilst Vicki is visiting.
9th July: I've just had Rosella put down this morning. Poor Rosie. It has been on the cards for two years but it is very sad.
I phoned Ronnie's ward this morning to find out if Dr Prempeh would see him today and I was assured he would. I also asked about the speech therapist who has to assess whether Ronnie can swallow and was told she would see him today.
Ronnie did not have an iV line so I thought he must have been seen by the speech therapist. He was bright and awake and talking, but most of what he said didn't make sense. He kept asking me to get him "the postie" and then "the key to the library". There were many other strange things! He knows my name, but not that we are married.
I asked the nurse who is his designated nurse for information, but she said she was not dealing with him today. She sent the nurse who was caring for him. I asked if Dr Prempeh had seen Ronnie. He had not. She did say that Dr prempeh knows Ronnie is in Ward 1. I pointed out that I also know he is in Ward 1 and that perhaps she could speed his visit up. We have been waiting since last Tuesday and no sign of Dr Prempeh. I asked about the speech therapist and the nurse said she won't assess Ronnie as she doesn't know about tracheostomy. I said this was irrelevant as he doesn't have one now. Ronnie pulled out the IV line this afternoon. I asked the nurse if the absence of the speech therapist meant that another IV line would be put in. She said it would.
Before I left, I was really annoyed and spoke to the same nurse again. I said that patient care should be paramount and that it would cause Ronnie pain and discomfort to have another IV line inserted when it might not be necessary. I am really angry at the lack of care in this ward and I am gong to complain to NHS Forth Valley patient Relations Manager. If the staff cannot deal with removing a tracheostomy and assessing the swallowing reflex, then Ronnie should not have been admitted to that ward. Maybe they should also train their staff more fully.
I have written an email tonight to the complaints at Forth Valley NHS but tomorrow, I need to really push the ward staff. When Vicki was in tonight, she pointed out that Ronnie has no hydration and no nutrition. The nurse said she would put in another IV if Vicki wanted it, but that his fluid levels were normal. Vicki said she herself was not qualified to make such a decision.
10th July: There's a smile on my face this evening. Progress on several fronts today.
I was so incensed after last night that I really got going this morning. I phoned the ward and insisted that the speech therapist be called and that the staff nurse phone me when she had been. Staff nurse protested that the speech therapist didn't start till nine (it was 8:45) and I said that the speech therapist would be in Ward 1 at 9:05 then ! The speech therapist phoned me at 10:00am and said that Ronnie could swallow and had had a little food, but had to be supervised when eating. She asked me about several things he had said and explained about "blank speech" which is when the answer to a question isn't known but the patient gives a response (in Ronnie's case, "Well, it's obvious, isn't it?") to cover his confusion.
I then phoned Falkirk to speak to Dr Prempeh, only to be told he's on holiday this week. I hate being lied to, as I was assured that Dr Prempeh would see Ronnie on Monday. I then phoned his Stirling consultant, whose secretary said Dr Watts would phone me later.
At lunchtime , Dr Watts phoned and spoke to Vicki. He didn't know that Dr Prempeh was on holiday, but will try to get Ronnie moved at the end of this week to Falkirk without being assessed.
Gregor, my neighbour, came with me to see Ronnie this afternoon. Ronnie was bright and alert, but still talking mostly nonsense. I showed him photos from a holiday in India. Two were of me with the Taj Mahal in the background and Ronnie in the same setting. I asked him where the photos were taken and he answered, "Taj Mahal." Then I asked who was in the first photo. After a pause, he said, "Wee petal!" (this was a joke between us). When I pointed to him in the other photo and asked who it was, he said, "Big petal!" Gregor and I were in stitches!! Ronnie's partner, Beth, arrived and some of the conversations were wacky, to put it mildly! I don't know Humphrey who lives in Gartocharn and Vicki didn't know Laurence from Twechar last night.
11th July: Ronnie was sitting in a chair - an armchair - when I visited today. He is to be moved to Falkirk some time today and all his belongings were on his bed. He was bright and alert and the staff nurse told me he had walked with assistance to the shower this morning. He is getting real food now - soft and moist - but doesn't remember what he ate. He is still very muddled, but some of what he says is funny. He looked at photos I'd taken in for him and said I was Mrs Sleigh. I pointed to him and he said that was Mr Sleigh - well, of course, Mrs S is married to Mr S!! Logical?
The sad thing is that Ronnie has a wealth of knowledge on a great diversity of subjects. It is horrible to think that all that may be lost.
12th July: My first visit to Falkirk Royal today. I was wound up after hearing about the RHS virus and so was not very confident about directions. I got to Falkirk Municipal Buildings and didn't know which of the three roads to take so sat in the car park till I'd calmed down. Got there. Ronnie is in an en suite room on his own. He was sitting in an armchair. He still can't walk unaided. He thinks it's a hotel room and it's not as good as when we were there previously. I tried to help him by filling in menu choices but he said he wouldn't be there as he was "heading off". I asked where he was going and he answered, "Ferguslie to pick up a passenger and then to Africa."
He seems unperturbed by the move and alert enough, but he didn't say anything sensible.
Elise needs to remain at the Dick Vet until Fourmerk is clear of the virus. Her liver enzyme levels have gone down but blood coagulation times are still too long. Kyla can't come home either.
13th July: Ronnie has been moved from the private room to a ward with five other patients. It's bright and spacious. His bed is right at the window. He was sitting in a chair again, but is very confused and disorientated. There was hardly anything he said which made sense. the only meaningful speech was when I showed him photos of our holiday in New York a few years ago. He can recognise places but when I asked him to identify us in a horse drawn carriage in Central Park, he said he was Prince Rainier and I was Princess Kelly. Conversation is difficult because sometimes he gets annoyed when I don't give the answer he wants. I know he has been walking with the aid of two nurses, but don't know anything else about his treatment. He is still catheterised.
Later: Vicki spoke to the nurses and they said Ronnie had refused physiotherapy this morning and - I didn't know he got this - an injection to prevent thrombosis. He had a lucid moment with Vicki and said he couldn't feel positive. Correction from Vicki: " He told me he was going to be positive and not going to be negative - not that he couldn't be positive?????!!!!!!"
14th July: Vicki, Colin, Alexander and Eilidh and I went together to visit Ronnie this afternoon, as they are off on holiday to Portugal tomorrow. Ronnie was pleased to see the twins. He always perks up when he sees them. He still has his sense of humour and called Eilidh "Eyelid" - a family joke. He even tried a play on words and instead of saying he couldn't be arsed, he came out with molassed!! Vicki and I were in stitches. The confusion is still there in many things, though.
Just at the end of visiting, he got out of his chair and walked, albeit unsteadily. I was amazed but worried that he might fall. He sat on the chair of the patient opposite him (patient wasn't there) and had to be coaxed to go back to his own. However, he decided to go out to the corridor and he wanted to leave with us. He thinks he left his car in the car park and wanted the keys.
15th July: I didn't visit Ronnie this afternoon because our friends, Andrew and Catriona said they wanted to visit him in Falkirk and would take me there for evening visiting. Various incidents prevented the original plans being carried out, so Andrew drove me to visit Ronnie this evening and Ronnie was in good spirits. He had some lapses where he talked rubbish, but his memory seems to be improving each day. I had forgotten where an English acquaintance came from and Ronnie knew it. Andrew had wondered if he would be saddened to see Ronnie but Ronnie's unique humour is still there. I can appreciate now how much he has improved in the last week, especially in the last two days. He does from time to time think he is in an hotel. He says it's not as good as when we stayed there before.
Andrew, Catriona and I had dinner at Lion & Unicorn tonight and I am not long home. I'm much happier tonight and no longer so stressed out. I am concerned that the nurse said he doesn't eat. He has lost a lot of weight (he did need to lose about a stone) so I plan to make food and take it to him in a thermos). The nurse brought him chips from a chippy to see if that would tempt him, but he wasn't really interested. He has been declining the injection to prevent thrombosis, but the nurse told me that he has been walking quite a lot and so there is not the such a risk of thrombosis.
Vicki and the family have arrived safely in Portugal but Vicki says she feels quite down. I think it's just reaction to all the stress she's gone through: Ronnie's accident, a new job and putting on a brave face for the twins must be very hard. I'm sure the holiday will do her a lot of good. She can relax for two weeks.
I feel much more relaxed tonight and more positive, even though I know that he might have taken steps backwards by tomorrow. Two neighbours are going to see him tonight and two are coming with me tomorrow evening.
16th July: Ronnie is always brighter when there's another visitor, but it was just me today. I had been told he wasn't eating so I took him a flask of home made tomato and ham soup and he drank nearly all of it. He said he was told me wasn't allowed to eat hospital food.
He didn't remember that Andrew had been with me yesterday and didn't know what he'd had for breakfast or lunch. He is able to go to the toilet alone, but he rang the buzzer while he was there. A nurse came and said he was all right.
He kept wanting to "get going" - in other words, to get out. He got up and walked to the ward corridor, carrying the squash, cola and the salads I'd bought him. I managed to make him turn at the end where there is a private room, but then he went in the other direction and wouldn't go back to his room. He is not very balanced when he walks and so I shadowed him in case he fell. We got to the end of the ward and I tried to bar his way, but he pushed me and got through the doors. I don't know what I would have done if a nurse hadn't arrived on the scene and we got him back to his room. The same happened when I was leaving.
The consultant hasn't seen Ronnie today and I have to phone to make an appointment.
17th July: I didn't have much time with Ronnie today as I managed to have a talk with the consultant, Dr Prempeh. He says Ronnie will go to Ashley Ainsty in Edinburgh for neuropsychological assessment and will perhaps stay there where there is more stimulation for him and a more structured life. He will be in hospital for four to six months at least.
Ronnie had been awake all night, wandering. They found him at the fire escape at one point. He was asleep when I was with him and didn't want his watch - he's been asking for it for a few days. I left more tomato soup for him and when I phoned tonight, he had had it all. I think he's depressed and maybe a move to a place where he can do things will help him.
18th July: Tonight my friend Kate offered to come to visit Ronnie. She drove to Falkirk. Ronnie was very bright and alert tonight and chatted to Kate about her recent sailing holiday and remembered places she's sailed to on Isle of Man and Mull. He even remembered a name I couldn't get. However, his short term memory is poor as is his concentration. Close to the end of visiting, he wanted to "get going" and we had to call a nurse to stop him. Ronnie doesn't know why he's in hospital and as far as he's concerned he's perfectly normal and just as he was. It must be very frustrating for him.
He was seen by the speech therapist this morning. She phoned to chat to me about her findings and I have a questionnaire to fill in about Ronnie's life. She suggested a journal/diary in which visitors could sign and therapists could also note their visits to give him some idea of time. I managed to find a 2007 diary on ebay. She also suggested that photos should have the names of the people, so I'm working on that.
19th July: Ronnie was very tired today. He no longer had the catheter. He said he hadn't had it for days, but it was definitely there last night. The nurse told me he had pulled it out and had lost quite a bit of blood but not enough to need a transfusion. He complained of being very sore. He did waken up a bit and chatted. We filled in his menu choices. I took him custard slices, his favourite cakes. I reminded him about Kate's visit last night, but I don't think he really remembered. He has no short term memory. His calf muscles are painful because of the lack of use for six weeks. He is eating more now.
He wanted me to order a taxi to get him home and I wasn't to take any nonsense from the receptionist.
20th July: There was a male nurse looking after Ronnie today. Craig from Broadford on Skye. He was trying to make Ronnie understand, remember and accept why he was in hospital, with the hope that he would accept that he had to be there to improve.
Ronnie had woken and wandered at 4:00am and so had naps during the morning and afternoon. He had been taken outside for walk. He was quite bright this afternoon. He had been talking to Craig about our holidays in New York and India. He chatted to me, but he loses concentration quite quickly and reverts to "escape" mode. "Call for a taxi" or "Must get going." His short term memory is very poor, but he can remember almost everything from the past. Colin's father came to visit Ronnie. It's always a help to have someone else with me when I visit. The speech therapist had seen Ronnie today and had left a letter for me. I took him the diary, all written up but in simplistic terms. I also took more photos with names attached and more soup.
Ronnie was quite calm most of the time, but Craig had told him he would be in hospital for a few weeks and he had trouble accepting that.
21st July: Ronnie was in a very agitated state today. Can't write any more today.
22nd July: On Friday night, Ronnie had phoned his parents about 10:00pm. His brother, who is home from Spain, had been to see him on Friday evening. I hadn't known this. I hadn't heard Sybil phoning on Friday night to tell me. She called me yesterday morning. She said he was conspiratorial and that he couldn't get to visit them and that he was going to phone Duntocher (where we lived when first married). She asked who he was going to phone there and he said, "Joan". Sybil said that Kenneth had found Ronnie to be fine.
Ronnie had been up half the night on Friday night and so was tired and asleep when I arrived yesterday afternoon. I spoke to the nurse about his phone calls to his parents and she said he does that while the nurses are doing their rounds with medications. She was surprised that he could get an outside line as you need to dial 9, but that is what he does in the office and when he's at the nurse's desk, he thinks he is in the office.
He woke up and I asked him about his visitor last night and he managed to remember it was Kenneth. Then started again saying he was going. I tried to tell him quietly and calmly that he couldn't leave and went through again what had happened to him. He said that he couldn't be kept there against his will (which is correct) unless he was sectioned under the Mental Health Act.
He grabbed his diary and newspapers and headed for the exit. The nurse and I followed him. She virtually told him his escape route: out to the lifts and then the car park. She was trying to tell him he would be in danger there, but was too stupid to see what she was doing. She also told him he couldn't drive and he replied that he could. To shut her up, I told her to phone for a doctor and when she didn't, I demanded that she do it. She went to phone and I tried to stop Ronnie from leaving. I stood in front of him and tried to explain. He got angry, his face contorted with rage. He said, "This marriage is over. Now get out my way." He pushed me aside. An auxiliary came and told him the doctor was coming and with the promise he would see a doctor, he returned to his room.
I was shaking all over by this time. I was asked to sit in a relatives' room while the doctor saw him. After half an hour, she said he was more settled. She said he would be sedated overnight and she would get someone to watch him 24/7. She said I shouldn't go back to get my jacket so she brought it to me. I left in a terrible state and didn't know if I'd be able to drive home. I phoned my mother-in-law who said he must just be having a bad mood and that he'd be fine tomorrow. She said he's been fine on the phone and I pointed out that he in fact had not been fine, but very confused. I could hardly talk to her because I was in such a state. I walked round the car park to calm myself down enough to be able to get home. I found it hard to get my breath.
I phoned Vicki to Portugal to tell her what had happened. She phoned the hospital and the nurse said he was calm and had eaten his dinner. I was so relieved.
I made myself a real dinner of steak pie, mash and sliced green beans. I was exhausted but thought I'd wait up till nearer 10:00pm and phone to find out how Ronnie was. Ronnie answered the ward phone and said he'd been trying to phone me and that I should come to collect him and bring him home. I asked if he was alone and who was there. I asked him to get the nurse he'd mentioned and told her what he'd been doing. I asked about the sedation and she said he couldn't be given any as it would affect his balance. Nor was there anyone to watch him as he would feel he was being shadowed.
It turned out that Ronnie had again phoned his parents before I spoke to him.
I am distraught to see Ronnie like this. I know that what he says and does are because he has no idea that he is any different from the way he used to be and is frustrated and wants to come home.
I had no option but to tell Vicki all of what Dr Prempeh said to me on Tuesday. I had hoped to keep it from her to let her enjoy her holiday and as going to tell her on Friday 3rd August (she comes back from Portugal next Sunday).
I have told her and now I have to tell you. Dr Prempeh told me, "Your husband will never again be the man you married. He will never practise law again or help you on the farm again. He will never be able to operate at the high intellectual level he had before. He will need to be watched 24 hours a day." He said that after Astley Ainslie, Ronnie would go to a care home. He said that if Ronnie had been in a wheelchair and physically disabled, there would have been carers round the clock but with mental disability, there is less time from carers and that it would be impossible for me to have him home.
I am still shaking and am not visiting Ronnie today. I desperately need a break from going there.
23rd July: It's seven and a half weeks since Ronnie's accident. I was going to visit him today, but my neighbour, Gregor, said he would go this afternoon and again tonight with Robin. It gave me the break I needed and I feel much more calm and in control. I even managed to get the old troughs round the yard potted up with the few bedding plants I could find so late in the season. I cooked myself a real meal tonight: Chinese chicken wings with egg fried rice - not ready made.
Gregor said Ronnie was all right in the afternoon, but still wanted to leave. (He had got down the fire escape stairs this morning). This evening, he was all right but got muddled about the names of the children of Beth, his partner in Bartys. I would have thought he would have remembered her youngest, wee John, as he and Ronnie have a great relationship.
I will visit Ronnie tomorrow.
24th July: Ronnie had missed me and was very pleased to see me. He seemed to have gained some short term memory but still lost concentration quickly. He chatted about the visitors he'd had over the last two days but could not tell me what they had spoken about. He still wanted to go home and to the office. He knew he had a large volume of licensing work to do and was concerned about it. I reassured him that it was being done by a competent solicitor. He was anxious about the work on the farm as well.
When visiting time was over, he wanted to come downstairs with me to the door of the hospital and promised the nurses he'd be back in 15 minutes. Two nurses escorted us to the ward doors and took Ronnie back into the ward. He pled with me not to be "on their side".
Ronnie was seen today by Professor Prior, (Professor of Neuropsychology at Astley Ainslie), who left a note saying that he had assessed Ronnie today and thinks he should remain in Falkirk for a few weeks yet. Ronnie was also seen by Dr Prempeh.
25th July: Went to Kildean Market this morning to talk to David Leggatt about selling all my Highland Cattle in the September Pedigree Sale in Perth. Feeling bad today and too shaky to drive to Falkirk.
John Hallam from Thornhill and Alan Seadon from Port of Menteith visited Ronnie tonight, which was very good of them. John said Ronnie was very bright and chatty, but did still want to leave. I think Ronnie's brother also visited tonight. A neighbour is driving me to Falkirk tomorrow and a friend on Friday.
26th July: I had a phone call as I was sitting in a queue of traffic outside Sainsburys today and pulled over to take it. It was from a psychiatrist at Falkirk to tell me that Ronnie was being temporarily sectioned under the Mental Health Act for a period of 28 days. This is for his safety and for the safety of the public and to allow him to be detained for treatment. I later discovered he had insisted that he could not be held in hospital against his will without being sectioned and so, because of his wandering and escape attempts, it was decided to do this, as it was perhaps thought he would accept being sectioned.
As I have mentioned previously, Ronnie doesn't really know why he is in hospital and so keeps trying to leave. His short term memory is poor and so he could be told a dozen times a day why he is in hospital, but he still doesn't manage to convert that knowledge to his long term memory. The nursing staff can't restrain a patient who refuses treatment or who insists on leaving or they would be committing an assault. When a patient is "sectioned" he can then be restrained and confined to the hospital.
A neighbour, Kirsty, drove me to Falkirk today and Ronnie was bright and chatty most of the time, although when his concentration lapses he is confused. His long term memory is good, so he can happily and coherently talk about past events. He said he had been interviewed and that he could leave at 5 o'clock and I had to remind him about the section of which we'd been speaking a few minutes previously. He wanted to get to his car and was annoyed with me for not having the keys.
Ronnie was better than I has expected. I thought he would have ben very agitated about the section. He did say he would appeal, which he has a right to do.
27th July: I had lunch with Ellie today in Kippen and then Kim who has helped me with the ponies arrived at Fourmerk and drove me to Falkirk. I said to Ronnie, "Look who's come to see you." He gave Kim a big hug and I asked him who she was. He said, "I don't know." He did remember when I asked him that Kirsty had been with me yesterday.
Ronnie was very jovial when Kim and I arrived this afternoon and well he might have been. He escaped this morning when a workman opened the ward door and Ronnie slipped out with him. He went to Ward 15, across the corridor. All this was told with great glee. Then "the posse" arrived and he could hear them saying, "Where is he?". He said it was like being the Lone Ranger!
He repeated that he had to stay in hospital as it was "for his own safety". as he'd been told yesterday, but then started talking about leaving again. I had mentioned yesterday that the accident had been in all the papers and he'd said, "it would have been nice to have been given the chance to read them." (sarcastically!). I bought the back issue this morning as I thought it might help focus him on what had happened. He read a bit and said the papers always exaggerated and he hadn't fractured his skull as there wasn't a mark on him. He asked a nurse to put a bandage round his head, jokingly - I think.
Ronnie had trouble finding words today. That is unusual. He was very confused. He thinks he has a Lexus (?) car. (He has a Volvo). He asked for my mobile number but I told him I can divert the house phone to the mobile when I'm out. He said he couldn't get through to the house phone and had tried phoning me lots of times. Then it dawned on me. I asked him what number he'd been calling and it was the number of our house in Glasgow which we left in 1985.
Some of the things he said were very funny and all three of us laughed, but it is truly sad.
28th July: I had a short visit to Braco Show today and it was good to see everyone again. Congratulations to Elizabeth Compton and Hamish Cameron for winning the championships, both in hand and ridden, with Heatherbelle of Turin Hill. A lovely mare picked from a very strong championship line-up. Congratulations too to Barbara Mcvean and Carrick of Shianbank who was looking great. He has changed so much since last year and has really fulfilled all the potential he showed last year. Two Kestrel daughters, Lady Iona of Auchengarth (filly foal( and Myra of Lundie Crags were first and second respectively. Good to see Kate Carnegie (Drury) in Scotland! I had forgotten she'd be here.
Ronnie was very confused today. He doesn't have a proper night's sleep and wakes up after half an hour, thinking it's morning, and wanders round the ward. He doesn't eat much either. When I tried to correct him about things when he was muddled, he got annoyed with me. He tried various ruses with the nurses to be allowed to go out but to no avail. He thought I was late as he'd been expecting me at 1:00pm and he'd been concerned about me. He wants to appeal against the sectioning and is going to instruct someone I've never heard of from the Glasgow office.
The strange thing is that Robin and Gregor visited Ronnie last night and they found him very normal and he even told them what had happened in the accident.
He phoned me about 6:00pm to say that he and a nurse were going to Dunfermline for Cameron someone's funeral. I tried to remind him that he couldn't leave but he got angry and so I gave up and agreed.
Vicki, Colin and the twins come back tomorrow and we will all visit in the evening.
29th July: I didn't go to see Ronnie this afternoon as Vicki, Colin and the twins arrived back at Newcastle and we'd arranged to meet at Falkirk to visit Ronnie. Ronnie was in the lounge watching television when we arrived and was in good form. He was obviously making a huge effort and although he did get things, wrong and was confused sometimes, he was witty and good company. It was great to see him like that. He even managed to tell us what he had eaten. That is an improvement!
It's good to have Vicki and her family back home, looking relaxed and very brown. The holiday did them all good.
30th July: I am now 100% confident that there are no ponies with the virus. Nothing coughing and the clear discharge from noses is no longer there. I am lifting the quarantine.
It is two calendar months now since Ronnie's accident (9 weeks come Wednesday).
Ronnie moved from Ward 14 to Ward 13 today at lunchtime. He is now in a room with four beds and a television. The staff from Ward 14 have not moved with their patients, which is a shame as Ronnie had built up relationships with them. He said he went with the nurses to the shop this morning but didn't go in. I'm not sure if he means the shop within the hospital or not. When he arrived at Ward 14, he hid behind the ward door and the nurses were looking for him. "All he could hear as he chuckled was, "Where is he?"
I didn't know that visiting hours were different in Ward 13 so I was surprised to meet Colin's father George with Alexander and Eilidh just as they were leaving. Visiting is 2:00 - 4:00 and 6:30 - 7:30pm. I tried to cajole Ronnie into having a shower and to cutting his nails (I'd taken round ended scissors with me) but he refuses and says he will do all these things when he gets home). A nurse put a new wrist band on him and said they didn't mollycoddle patients in Ward 14 and that they had to wash themselves. She had vanished before I had a chance to speak to her and explain that he won't wash himself or allow anyone else to do so.
He is being assessed by Dr Prempeh tomorrow and Ronnie thinks he will get a good report and he will negotiate to be allowed home from "7:00pm till 4:00am!". Ronnie thinks I don't want him to come home. Most of the time he talks about getting out, which is understandable. He just gets annoyed when I remind him that he's in hospital because he had an accident.
When I was leaving, I spotted a nurse and asked her to wait with Ronnie as he would try to follow me. She didn't seem to understand and the ward door was open. She did keep him in the ward, but clearly no-one has read his notes and so goodness knows what Ronnie will get up to. I dread to think. He could escape all too easily from that ward and put himself in danger.
31st July: Ronnie had just been assessed by Dr Prempeh when I arrived. He had showered and cleaned his teeth and was much happier. He chatted away about the assessment but is convinced that the tiny clock radio I gave him weeks ago is a mobile phone. He won't listen to reason about it.
Dr Prempeh took me to the day room and says he assessed Ronnie today and is pleased with his progress.
Click here to see page 3