Valentine’s Day

I spent a long time with Will as it was my last day with him before leaving on Thursday morning, back to the USA.  I met with Sara Reeve, Richard and Karen Hartley (who are thankfully over their nasty flu) and gave them all hugs for being so kind. Sara continues to go in every afternoon before going home and writes in the diary, bless her.

He was sat in his chair at 10:30 when I arrived on the ward, so I took him for a walk along the corridors so he could see outside and look at the trees and sky, something he hasn’t been able to do for nearly a year. Imagine that for a moment!

I left my iPod which can play radio as well as play songs, so he had an hour listening to a meditation track plus some Radio 2 and sounds of the beach and waves from the Caribbean.  I have left it plugged into the panel behind so it is fully charged and ready to play anytime you visit.  If anyone wants to add tunes to it, bring your laptop and transfer some songs onto it (unfortunately it doesn’t work with Apple Music, just your downloaded files).  I also played him some ‘System 7’ from my iPhone which he loves.

He also had physio with the two lovely therapists who are taking close notes on how he responds to moving his fingers and thumbs on command. He’s got plenty of clothes in his suitcase to wear and today he was wearing his famous blue jumper! 

He is on a waiting list for the Putney SMART facility but there are 4 others waiting to be transferred there from this hospital alone but we know miracles seem to happen to our Will, so fingers crossed.

A huge thank you to Christina who came to see him over the weekend and Chris, Maya and Carla on Monday. Please try to go in during the week if you can. He needs all the stimulation he can get to keep his spirits high and his attention out!

The ward senior sister, Yougall, is wonderful, as are all of the onurses, Carlos, Charley and Patricia who are treating him as a real person and talk to him all the time they care for him.

I will keep you as up to date as possible and if you have pictures of your visit or have information you want everyone to know, please email them to me via this website or PM me on Facebook Messenger.

Will’s youngest visitor

Jemma Robinson and her newborn, Jack are new visitors to Will in the Tilgate Ward. Jemma’s mum is the wonderful Sara Reeve who co-ordinates the ambulances and was responsible for getting Will picked up from Gatwick on his arrival.

Jemma is on maternity leave and will come in and read to Will from Bill Bryson and Spike Milligan books, but if you have some other suggestions of books you know he likes, please let me know.  Apparently Jack was enthralled by Will on his visit yesterday – a touch of the Willster magic!

Come and visit whenever you can and give him the direct love and support he needs. You never know how much it means to him.

Neuro rehab

Although I don’t have too many details yet, the recent MRI scans show enough for the team of doctors, physios and occupational therapists to offer neurological rehabilitation to Will with a possible move to a specialist unit in Putney where they utilize the SMART assessment system pioneered by Helen Gill.

There is of course a waiting list as these positions are for long term patients, but he will be able to remain in the Tilgate ward until he can be moved.

He is receiving physio, neuro-physio and speech therapy from a wonderful team who are focusing on him standing, sitting, responding to commands and ways to begin using his vocal chords again. When you haven’t spoken for a day or two, you know how long it takes to get your voice back, so imagine what it might be like after 10 months.

I have also been filling out a profile of what he likes and dislikes with the help of his friends and my own knowledge of him, so the staff are realizing what a funny, smart, loving chap he is.  I have also left a copy of ‘Ricky’s Thesaurus’, which is one of the books he designed and wrote with Clive Collins (Phil’s brother), so the staff can see the fruits of his labours.

We don’t need any further donations just now but may do later on if there is something he needs, but in the meantime he needs your visits and hand holding to break up the long days. There is a diary for you to write in when you see him and I’m sure he will appreciate looking back at all of them when he is able.

10 months on

#WillWelch It’s been exactly 10 months since his accident and I am happy to report that Will had his gastrostomy yesterday (a “peg” as they call it).  He can now be fed through this with greater volume to build him up and without the restrictions of that awful nose tube, which has gone at long last.

Here he is relaxed and snoozing looking much more like his old self again, but in need of a good shave.  I will be up to see him again tomorrow.