Showing posts with label Matthew. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Matthew. Show all posts

Monday 28 May 2018

A walk in the woods

Instead of buying Christmas cards this year, we bought a couple of memorial trees for Matthew (my son who died due to his cerebral palsy) and Paul (my brother-in-law, who died of a brain tumour). These were planted in a new woodland somewhere in Durham.

Yesterday we had a drive up. You don't get to find your actual tree, you just know that you are helping with a bit of conservation. Plus, it's a nice place to go for a walk. So, for no other reason than the memory of a canny day walking around newly planted woodland in Durham, here are a few photographs.

Nice place for Poppy to explore
Red hot down here. Wish I'd brought me towel and a cossie.

Poppy found a way down to cool off.

Climbing up a steep hill and see a Wicker Man

Not scary at all. 

Saturday 25 April 2015


Missing you. 

Matthew - 1998 - 2015.

I've talked a lot about Matthew on this blog over the years and posted quite a few pictures, so it's only right I post a little something here. 

Matthew had cerebral palsy, but for someone with such profound disabilities, he had bags of personality. He couldn't talk, but loved listening to stories, and loved hearing people swear (especially his gran). He couldn't use his hands, but he loved hearing others drop things. And he couldn't stand or walk, but he took an enormous amount of pleasure from seeing others fall over.

Unfortunately, his CP got too much for him and Matthew passed away a few weeks ago (it's taken a long, long time to decide whether to put something on here). There is a huge hole in our lives now, but we're lucky to have had nearly seventeen years with the most fabulous kid I've ever known. 

No comments required - I just wanted to put a post on here. And here's a link to my favourite post, from the day when I took him for a walk in our mucky old wheelbarrow. Can't help posting the pic again here...

Sunday 30 September 2012

A Blog About Matthew

At the back of Arabesque, there’s a brief mention of Matthew and the amount of care he needs. I’d thought I’d do a quick blog about our life at the moment, not just for a whine and a moan, but because a blog is something to look back on. A good example is my post from 2009: Fun With a Wheelbarrow which is such a silly memory of carting Matthew round the streets in a wheelbarrow and it always makes me laugh. It was a fun day, and something to look back on with nostalgia. But sometimes it's important to look back on the bad times too, which is the real reason I'm writing this entry.

Me and Matthew, at Wookey Hole during the summer.
Things are particularly tough at the moment, for Matthew in particular, and then the rest of us. Three weeks ago, Matthew had major surgery: a femoral osteotomy in both legs, which involved the bones of both legs being cut, rotated and re-fixed. It was a five hour op, and luckily, both legs were done in the same op so he doesn't need to go back.

bed-time meds
He had a week’s recovery in hospital, and then he came home on six weeks bed rest. We’ve got his bed in our front room because it just wouldn’t be fair to confine him to his bedroom – apart from the fact that he doesn’t fully understand what’s going on. As far as he's concerned, he went to sleep in hospital, and woke up with lots of discomfort and pain. We've got to keep on top of this as best we can because Matthew can't tell us what he needs. As you can see in the photo, his night-time meds are a bit daunting. There's actually one missing.

Day to day, he needs lots of moving and cleaning and changing, and all of that causes him pain and discomfort. But nights are something else. We have medicines that help him relax and sleep, but for some reason, they aren’t doing their usual job. Perhaps it's the pain he's in, perhaps it's stress and having had such a big change to his usual routine. 

Matthew and brother, Jack
Usually, on an evening, Matthew sits next to Paula, getting a cuddle while we watch TV. He can't have that at the moment and we can see how much this distresses him. But whatever the reason, we’ve had nights when he’s been awake, moaning and unhappy, all night long. And we've had nights where he's settled and slept until 2am, then woken up and moaned from then on.

So me and my wife are pretty zonked at the moment. It's also affecting his brothers, because if we're tired, they feel it, and sometimes when we're up through the night, they get disturbed too. 

During the week, I go out to work and Paula is confined to home. When I get home, I try to help out with Matthew. So ultimately, there's not a lot of writing getting done just now. But that's okay, because in a few weeks things will be back to normal. And when that happens, and I'm sat at this laptop wondering whether to waste time on Facebook, I can read back through this blog and get back on track, in the hope that one day, I’ll make enough money to be able to write full time...

... in a massive bungalow, with a boiler that works, a hydro-therapy pool for Matthew and a kitchen so big, you can park a car in it.

Thursday 5 April 2012

Penshaw Bowl

We have our own way of celebrating Easter up here. We all climb up Penshaw Hill and roll eggs down for the Penshaw Bowl competition. The event is run by Sun FM. They section off an area on the hill and get the kids to line up and roll their eggs in age groups. It used to take place at the top of the hill, but due to erosion, it's now about halway up. Still a climb though - especially if you're in a wheelchair.

We tried to push our Matthew up there two years back, but the hill was too steep, so he couldn't take part. This year I tried the back way, which is a slightly easier incline along a bumpy country trail. We got there, but then had to slide his wheelchair down a ridiculously steep slope to get to the Bowl area.

We made it! And once the younger ages had had their go, Matthew got his. His egg did really well. It just kept rolling and rolling. This is Matthew with his prize. And me, knackered!

Saturday 11 February 2012

Kyle's Drawing from CLASH

Okay, Kyle is fictional, so no, this isn't really his drawing, but it is the image that inspired a certain scene.

In Clash, Kyle is at a loss what to do when his mother is in the maternity ward and her baby (Kyle's brother) is in an incubator in Special Care. He ends up doing a drawing so his mother can have an image of her baby by her bed - all because the other mothers in the ward have their actual babies in cots by their beds.

This scene was taken from real life.

When my wife had our first boy, he was in an incubator in the Special Care Baby Unit, and she was up in a ward where other mothers had their babies in cots - a bit cruel, but there you go. A decent ward might have put her in a side room.

For some reason I thought you weren't allowed to use cameras in the special care unit (there were some very premature babies in there under special lighting). So I nipped home, grabbed a drawing pad, pencils and set to work. I went back up to the ward and pinned the picture to the wall.

However, there is a spooky side to this story. When we lived in Washington, loads of strange things happened when Matthew came home. His mobile would spin on its own, the cat would go nuts for no reason... there were other weird things too, but the strangest was the morning when this drawing (in its frame) fell off the wall for no reason. This happened at 6am while we were still in bed. The bang woke us up, and I came downstairs to find the frame behind the TV. Rather than refix it there and then, I put in on the bookcase and went back to bed...

...That evening, we had a flood and every picture that was still hanging in our front room was ruined as water streamed down the walls.


Saturday 26 June 2010

Getting Soaked at Alnwick Gardens

Wake up, make sarnies, grab crisps, pop, kids and go...

It was fantastic weather up at Alnwick Gardens today. This time, we had the forethought to take a change of clothes for the kids and a towel. This is because there is a fabulous water feature there. It's a huge column that gradually fills with water. When the water reaches the top, a valve opens and water jets shoot up around it.

So yeah, the kids were okay - they had a change of clothes. But Matthew got so excited that we couldn't leave him out - and that meant someone would have to stand in there with him. Me.

But Matthew loved it, so I didn't mind walking around for the next three hours with a damp arse. The gardens are so fantastic that it wouldn't have mattered anyway. I must have been taken with it because I've agree to go to a garden centre tomorrow. Fancy doing something creative. Maybe a bamboo maze like this...

Maybe I'll just buy a pot-plant.

Colin Mulhern

Wednesday 28 October 2009

Pumpkin Head

I'm all fired up for Halloween (or Hallowe'en, if I'm really picky). However you spell it, it's a great time of year. I wish it was the big time horror fest that it is now when I was a kid. We never had pumpkins to carve; we used turnips, or suedes, if you're southern - we called them snadgies. They were cheap, but they were incredibly hard to carve. Pumplins are a doddle.

I'm busy playing with ideas for what to carve this year. This is last year's effort:

as modelled by Cameron. There were so many teeth, it was almost cut in two and started to sag after a few hours.

This year I fancy taking it to the next level. I had a practice this afternoon carving a photographic image of Matthew into a pumpkin.

The result is okay, considering it was rushed, but it's not as much fun as a scary face. So I think I'll keep to tradition and do a proper scary pumpkin, but I might go for 3D teeth or something.

Whatever I come up with, I'll post a pic. So come back soon.

Happy Halloween!!!!

Colin Mulhern

Saturday 29 August 2009

Fun With a Wheelbarrow

So far, most of my posts on this new blog are about Matthew. Can't resist this next one though. I'll justify it by using it for a short story.

I took Matthew in the back garden and put him on the trampoline, bounced him a few times (very tiring), then let him lie on the grass while I mowed the lawn. That's when I spotted the wheelbarrow. It's old and rusty and covered in dried concrete, but what the hell. With a blanket and a duvet it was ready to roll. Matthew had a quick tour of the street, bumping up and down the curbs. He had a great time. Then we returned to the garden and tipped him out - to squeals of delight.

The next post will be about writing. Honest!

Saturday 22 August 2009

Jolly Holidays

Just spent a week in Great Yarmouth. Had loads of fun with Matthew and his new chair. It certainly made the holiday a lot easier not having to push his old thing around. I should have included a picture of us in the Corn Mega Maze because there's no way we could have ever taken his old chair in there. It was full of bumps and furrows, and we managed to get completely lost.

Here’s a picture of me and Matty in the Model Village.

The Model Village is wheelchair friendly and works like IKEA – a single pathway taking you all of the way around, weaving around the various scenes and settings - but the path is very narrow in places and built up on either side with a wall... we had a few bashes, but went round twice.

I won’t bore you with details of everything there, but we had a fun packed week, perfect weather, and we definitely need to go back some time to visit all the places we missed.

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