Thousend times thanks!

To all the followers of the blog, to anyone who has been supportive of Frank or us in the last months and especially after his untimely death we want to say thanks from the bottom of our hearts. In the week after his passing we received so much warmth, stories, care and love, hardly describable. To us it was a very precious and valuable week and it was so good to have Frank at home where so many of his friends could visit him. And all the help, stories and info shared in that week led to a beautiful goodbye ceremony on a beautiful sunny autumn day. For those of you who could not attend, or those of you who wish to reread the funeral speeches, we publice them here (in dutch and english) with some pictures in grateful memory of, and tributed to Frank.We will miss him dearly, thanks for being with him and with us, one way or another,

On behalf of my family and his closest friends, Esther

Foto's Frank

zaterdag 30 april 2011

Riddle: what are four guys with inside humor on a balcony? Kalodrama!

One of the odd coincidences of the present situation is that you get to know people whom you only knew by name, (and according to some of Franks friends it's vice versa as wel), and they appear pleseant company (what else could they be, they're friends from Frank!!). And pleseant company is what Frank needs. One of the major problems right this moment is that Frank has managed to turn around his night and day rythym, which means that he sleeps a lot during the day and as a result of that is awake at night. So the actual goal is to get him out of his bed more often during the day, but that's not so easy because Frank is quite content laying in bed watching television. He isn't very keen, for instance, to go to the livingroom in his wheelchair (he comments on the other inhabitants in his own ironical way "they use oxigen"). It's hard for him, but this will be his home for the next six month so he has to adjust to it one way or another. (Oh how I whished all this was just a horrible nightmare). So just laying in his bed is not gonna help him to improve. This afternoon, when I arrived, my mother was there, Andre came in and Frank made clear he wanted to go to sleep, but we could persuade him to get out of his bed, into the wheelchair and we took him out, really out of the nursing home, into the garden. And I had the feeling that he enjoyed it. After about 20 min he told us that he wanted to go to bed again, and it is quite difficult not to respond to his plea if you see him sitting in his chair as a "bag of potatoes" as he calls it himself. You would do anything for him, sometimes it breaks my heart to see him like this, so dependent, so not the captain of his own ship. So we went inside, to his room and were preparing the transfer back to his bed when the catering lady brought Frank some applejuice. I gave him the cinnamon and he poured some over it himself and he managed to put two spoons with applejuice in his mouth. It was the first time since the stroke that I saw that, it took a lot of energy, but he did well. After that he handed over the spoon to me and I helped him with the rest when Walter and Matthieu came in. Now for everyone who never have met these two guys, if you see a very comic duo which has a perfect assist-and-score-act (aangeven afmaken) and the laughs are loud, the chance that it are Walter and Matthieu is fairly big. But now since that Frank has a roommate, Frank with four visitors and humor is not such a good combination if you need rest and sleep (as his roommate needs). So this was a perfect excuse for us to persuade Frank a second time to stay in the wheelchair and go to the balcony (thank you, thank you, thank you walther, matthieu and andre). So we sat there and although Frank didn't actively engaged in the conversation you could see that he enjoyed being part of it. We fantasized a little how it would be if there would appear a big moviescreen out of the ceiling and we could have a "afternoon of the horrible taste" (middag van de wansmaak), on which Walter commented "than you have a KaloDrama". A loud laughter waved over the balcony and I think everyone was glad that we were outsinde. So thanks to his friends, Frank was out his bed for over an hour which is very good, but after that there were no more excuses to find to keep him out of his bed any longer. So we helped Frank back in his bed and he didn't even wanted the headphones, he made clear he wanted his rest, so we all said goodbye and left.
Whatever tiny steps Frank has to make, he can be sure of incredible loyal and faithful friends and that's something to be very grateful for. And that, besides all the grief and sorrow, fills my heart with joy and keeps me going as well. Thx guys!!

Ps Walter I will never ever blame you of ..... (it begins with B and ends on rallen) again!! ;-))

Ipad update and highlights of today

The first thing I noticed today when I came in, was that Frank was not in the mood for a talk. And although Ruurd (one of his cousins) was with me, he would only 'talk' by waving his hand. Reason of all this, again another new feeding tube (damned!). When a tube is in a few days it becomes a bit more flexible, but on the first day it really aches in the back of your throat, so frank hates swallowing, talking, coughing on those days. Luckily for him I had found requested DVD's and although the remote control is now definitely out of business, operating the DVD player by hand still worked so he enjoyed an episode of one of his favorite cartoon movies. So I sat beside him, holding his hand (he always likes that), he with headphones on (which really makes him very withdrawn) and I making a phone call. He obviously enjoyed the movie, I could see that by a faint smile around his mouth. At that moment his boss from the liberation museum (Wiel) came in (visit their beautiful site! And than you see the next scene: Wiel asks Frank's help on a WW II helmet (pulls it out of a plastic bag), all of a sudden he is alert and answers to all the questions (it appeared that the museum crew had spend quite some time finding out what kind of helmet it was, but hadn't find the right answer); but as you all can guess, it is a piece of cake for Frank. And in spite of the new tube Franks starts talking ("it's not from Poland, it is Scottish, the sign on the helmet looks like poland signs on airplanes but"..... "there's documentation in the second cupboard..." etc. etc.), Wiel hands over his cellphone and one of the employees talks to Frank, it is obvious that Frank misses the museum and that the museum misses Frank (he really is their walking encyclopedia). It is so heartwarming to see how they keep Frank involved and informed, it is very special to witness such moments.
Another scene from tonight: Frank asks the nurse for a massage of his legs (he complains a bit about pain in his legs) but that's not part of their job. So I suggest to give him a little massage, and would you expect he declined the offer.... of course not, so I was massaging his legs, during which he had a little conversation with Wiel, and although you don't want to trade places, life wasn't bad for Frank in this moment! He was much more relaxed after that. 
And on top of that Andre entered the room (I wasn't the only one with the idea of a visit). But Frank was tired after the massage, the talk to Wiel and two episodes of his movie. So after a short while Andre and I left. But not after drinking a few cups of coffee in the living-room of the ward and had a really nice talk with one of the nurses. We read Frank's nursing chart and what I had already expected was written down there, the process of training the swallowing (which has to lead to eating) evolves so very slowly that they want to give Frank a PEG-catheter (it's a artificial feeding entry on his belly direct into his stomach. On the one hand this is a pity, it means that the recovery is progressing very slowly, on the other hand it will be a relief for Frank to get rid of the feeding tube. Well, we'll see, things will be communicated to us within short notice I expect.
And at last an update on the Ipad project: we are well over 400 euro's within one week, so if we will go on like this, the Ipad will be there sooner than later. And that's great. If you want to make a donation, look for details in the blog entry "market garden bicycle tour" it's all there.
As always, yours truly,

woensdag 27 april 2011

Here I stand!

Hmmm... the title is not completely correct, it's more Here I lay but that is not a game in Frank's collection.

Yesterday Rense and I visited Frank and during the visit we discussed a few things such as the munchkin card on his board holding postcards. There is only one person that could have put it up there. And Frank confirmed his name. (We know you ;-) For those interested in munchkin cards, this is the text on it:

The fandom manice

Level 4

- 3 against nerds, geeks, dorks

Bad stuff: You cannot run or hide... You will have to bear their infavorable unsufferable "good will"

Innumarable treasures!

For all of you who don't know munchkin, let me tell you that Frank and the person he got it from were once, a few years back, competing for the most signed games/books from the author of this game. I don't know if the competition is already closed and who won.

In the light of this discussion the subject changed to roomnumbers and nametags. (For the good readers this information will narrow down the name of the person who gave that munchkin card down to two. ;-) And Rense said that it is a shame that Frank's name is not on the sign next to the door. So troops, or better to say me, was send out to get a pen/pencil, anything to write with. I got one. Next thing Rense wrote the name of Frank on the sign next to the door. I should have done that way long time before, showing Rense is a son of a.... General! (whatever did you think?)

So visitors no longer have to search in vane to find Franks room.

The Prince and his Paracetamol.

It's good to read in the post below that Frank had something to cheer him up last monday. When I visited him that afternoon, he was not feeling well. He wasn't much company at all in fact, constantly drifting off and barely speaking. Eventually we watched a movie and gave up on trying to talk.
Yesterday, he was doing much better. He was wide awake, talkative and alert. Both days just go to show that Frank has good and bad times but I'd say he is improving all the times: the good days get better and the bad days aren't as bad as they were.

Frank did complain of pain yesterday, saying that since his move from Margriet to Kalorama he frequently experienced pain all over his body. Could it be the food, the medicines or the more intensive physical therapy? I have no idea. He could describe his own pain though and was clear about what he wanted as the nurse offered him a variety of pain killers: two paracetamol would do. The pain soon got less after that.

Another point worth noting it that yesterday we spotted Frank's second hallucination. This time he was convinced words were written on the window. When I asked what they said, he said a queen had left him a get-well-soon-greeting, scratched into the glass. He also considered himself her prince. Does he miss his fantasy games or has he just been watching too much BBC?
He does not just make these things up: he explained quite clearly that he really sees them. This need not be a reason for concern, it's not that abnormal to have these experiences after a stroke. Still, it's something the doctor should of course know about, so if any of you heard Frank say anything similar during a visit, could you let us know?

That's all the updating I can think of for now. More and more of Frank's library seems to be moved to his room, and he clearly enjoys that very much. He also spends a few hours a day in his wheelchair and gets physical therapy almost every day, so he has some ways to get through the day. Still, what he always speaks most fondly about is the visits he receives, so to all of you who have paid or will pay a visit to Frank, I'd like to say: thank you.


maandag 25 april 2011

Market Garden Bicycle Tour visits Frank: help raise an Ipad

Today I went with my friends Jet and Bernhard and their youngest daughter Charlotte to visit Frank. Charlotte is a graduate student from high school who recently won the first prize in a high school competition from the Nijmegen Historical Association NUMAGA. Together with one of her fellow students they developed a bicycle tour around Nijmegen which travels along highlights from Market Garden. During the work on their project Charlotte consulted Frank regularly, and so today she showed him the result, a very beautiful designed booklet, and the certificate of the first prize. Although Frank really had to work hard to recognize Charlotte an her parents, as soon as he heard her name and the project, all the information was immediately there. Frank was on his turn very proud of Charlotte and was very pleased with the booklet she brought him. It always gives him so much pleasure when young people carry on the flame of history. In past situations he commented on such moments always things like "It gives me the feeling that my life isn't waste". Now we all know his life isn't waste but it gives him great strength and reassurance which he really can use by the dozen right now.
It's so good to see that if a subject really appeals to Frank, that is energy and alertness rises instantly. He told Charlotte that he wanted to introduce her to his friends in the UK, who would be most interested (he thought). "But then the booklet has to be translated in English, and Charlotte could use some help with that" I replied. "No problem for me, I'm very capable of translating" Frank answered (and I don't doubt him a second!!!). It gives me the feeling that Frank still wants to contribute to whatever future. He also told us that he was working on a project within the liberation route and that a lot of the content in his head would be needed there. It sounds so future oriented and that feels so good, and with modern technologies it must be made possible to help Frank to deliver whatever he wants to contribute concerning the remembrance WW II and the liberation of western europe.
So one of the modern technologies I mentioned which really could help Frank is an Ipad and a lot of friends already indicated that they want to make a donation, and Andre sees no difficulties to secure the Ipad one way or another.
So for every one of you who want to make donation, here the account number:
name: Esther Meijer-van den Bergh, Nijmegen, Netherlands
bank: ING, account number: 1615112,
and for friends from abroad
IBAN: NL30INGB0001615112
name your donation: IPAD FRANK
We'll make sure that the gifts will get the correct destination, and we'll keep you informed about the progress and will give a transparent insight in the final sum and destination of the money.
On behalf of Frank, thanks to all of you,

zondag 24 april 2011

EEK... mice!

First things first. I have to appologize to Frank. It is "warfare" and not "warfair". War is never fair and as said by Tsun Tsu 2500 years ago "War is the continuation where politics stops". And there are many more linguistic mistakes I make that Frank never would have, I feel a little bit ashamed by it. And for you, readers. BAD LUCK, stick with it, as Frank would say. :-P

Second things next. I fear the comming summer. The last days temperature on avarage was 20 degrees centigrade (71 Farenheit, 291.15 Kelvin, 527,67 Rankine) and it already is barely tolarable to Frank. In summertime temperature can get up to 35 degrees centigrade (95 Farenheit) at ease. This is going to cause problems! Oh, and if you know what a Rankine is without looking it up then your dealing with it from a professional base or your a certified technical nerd.

And now third things third. There seems to develop a pattern in my visit to Frank. I come in. Give my greetings. Frank acknowledge. We sit for a time not saying a thing. And then Frank starts someting. This visit was just like that. But this time, unusual to the pattern, Frank was not asking for a DVD but asking for the laptop. It was already prept up for him a week ago but still waiting for the signal from him to get it out. May I say that he was pleased to find out that it was available? Or should I have pressed the issue and forced him earlier this week to have a look at it? I don't known what is right (and what is left, truly!) but tonight it worked.

So I got out the laptop, got the mouse and the power supply connected, rigged his bed and his bedside cabinet and got things going. Frank wanted to see the Ospray section. "Japanese castles, 1540-1640", was his choice. We both have some affection with this subject. I tried not to intervene when he was working on it, if this laptop is going to be a success he must be able to find his way through the contols, which is a mouse in the form of a conventional one, a trackball or a pad. At the moment a conventional mouse was not available for the space it needs. The trackball is more or less a disaster and so is the pad. Apparently his eye/hand coordinaton is not yet good enough to cope with it all. This is so much a disapointment for both of us!

Request for comment:
Who knows any alternatives to mice. Anything will do, or better to say, anyting will be tried. No matter when you reply.

zaterdag 23 april 2011

And thunderbirds are GO.

And continuing the line of the last message by Esther, in the evening Frank had rested enough for the moment. While I was in the process of inserting a DVD two friends from work came in and he got a stone in memory of an event concerning para's (I don't know the details but he got a named and apparently numbered remembrence token of it.) And while he had clearly dificulties in participating in the discussion he knew exactly where an what it stood for. Frank did not say much but when the discussions went to a large bolder he clearly indicated "and I have one, it's at my bedside cabinet". (Which was at the moment out of sight for him.) So don't be fooled by him if he does not say much when you visit him. Things are getting over pretty fast to him although he does not always show it.

Next was Thunderbirds. It was already running so we watched the first episode twice. Then the nurse came in an said "Hey, I know this music. Oh Thunderbirds!". Next thing that happend was three persons dicussing age to find out that Frank is the oldest, I'm the youngest and the nurse in between. Age difference between me and Frank is less than two years.

If anybody would have came in nothing special was happening. Just a nurse tube feeding a patient and a visitor aside. But this is how the Thunderbirds got off with three kids gone back in time.

vrijdag 22 april 2011

New synonyms for progress: "slimy snot" and "danger from the left"

This years Good friday has nothing to do with the crucifixion of Jesus Christ, but everything with the "resurrection" of Frank. When I came in today he sat in the wheel chair, dressed up, nicely groomed (they really take good care of him in Kalorama). He was waiting for the physiotherapist and to ease the waiting time, Rense and I took Frank out on the balcony.
Kalorama is a beautifully located nursing home in the hills surrounding Nijmegen, with a marvellous garden in front. So we sat there and it was a perfect time for a new experiment. Since Frank is now allowed to have liquid, extra thickened, food (such as yoghurt, porridge, etc.), I brought him spa orange and cola (he had asked for that) and I asked the catering lady to prepare some thickened spa orange. Well all of you who have ever sufferd a good cold, including a lot of slimy snot, imagine you put all the slimy snotty stuff you produce in a glass and than you have thickend spa orange, eadible with a spoon. Looks aweful, but the good news, to Frank it tasted like the real thing so he finished it in minutes. He really enjoyed it. When we went inside, we just met the physio therapist so we went with Frank to the gym (did you say gym??? Frank in a gym......ah yeah, it's like a roman emperor in a star wars episode) and asked whether we could join him during therapy.
Now I don't know whether it was Renses and my presence or our cheering, but Frank did really well. Let me picture you what really good means: it's aprox. a half hour in which he lifts up his head 10 times, his right arm ten times, moves his trunk (with help from the therapis) five times, than some passive moving of the left shoulder by the therapist and then practicing what they call the safety grip (his right hand taking his left arm by the elbow). Furthermore the therapist asked Frank to touch her hand (differently positioned in space) and than you see quite good what problems he has with correct finding the hand and reaching to it. So I think his vision isn't optimal. And after all this the therapist took a huge blue balloon (aprox. 50 cm in diameter) and Frank had to slam against it, so to stimulate him Rense and I joined the exercise. The therapist was on his right side, Rense just in front him and I was on his left side. What you see than is that he is not really aware of the left side of his body or the world on that side, so I tried to help him by shouting "danger from the left" and with that bit of help Frank adequately reacted to my side, and that folkes is very hopeful. After about thirty minutes energy had vanished (but the therapist told us it was so much more than yesterday what Frank performed) and we went back to his room. At that point Rense had to go and the nurse and I helped Frank to return to his bed (which is also quite an exercise), and you all guess what the familiar sound was within 10 minutes.... exactly snoring. But not after he saw all the good stuff I picked up from his apartment (thunderbirds dvd's (so matthieu, you can keep yours, I found them) his backpack in which he always carries the books he's reading or studying). Content with all this and one of his books in his hands, he fell a sleep.
So the rest of the time I spend cleaning and rearranging his room, stickering all the new stuff (his wardrobe contains yet more books and dvd's than clothes, but that's nothing new, that's Frank's preferred habitat!). And finally all the page-large photographs Frank got from Wybo (about the opening of the liberation route and the south africa travel group) were put on the door of the wardrobe opposite to Frank, in the hope that he can see them when he's awake.
And after that it was quiet, peaceful and ok, so to me, it was a real good friday! A good prelude to the easter weekend. To all of you, enjoy the nice sunny weekend with lot's of eggs and good company.

donderdag 21 april 2011

Up and down

Sometimes things are fine, other times things are less than that. A very normal thing. Today Frank looked fine but said that he was a bit tired and he wanted to sleep. But he could not. Quiet, most of the time his eyes closed, the television on. The evening passed slowly.

My visit the day before yesterday was at the other end of the spectrum. Watching the history of warfair with an allert Frank, strait in his bed, like the general that he is. Pay attention! Or the phalanx will walk all over you. When I said my goodnight, two day's ago, he said goodnight in such a way that I almost expected him to step out of his bed to open the door for me.

Today I said goodnight and quitly let myself out.

woensdag 20 april 2011

Short telephonic update, a balcony scene and.....

Unfortunately I wasn't able to visit Frank today, but luck was on my side again. When I phoned to the ward, the nurse answering the phone was just in Frank's room. The nurse told me that he had been in the wheelchair for 2 hours (!!!) and went outside on the balcony. That's great, it means that his endurance and condition now really is increasing. He had also eaten apple juice AND semolina pulp (sounds yakkie but in dutch it happens to be griesmeelpap, which is one of Frank's favorite desserts!). That was for the first time ever since the stroke, and it must have given him such a feeling of wealth and pleasure. The nurse handed the phone to Frank and to my question how it had been for him to be outside in the wheelchair he said "warm" and after that, "wonderful (heeeeerlijk)". That's it for today............

So, short message, but great news, that's something else for a change.

bye Esther

From Begian dredge to Xerxes

Talking about weird connections... the patient is making none of them. A few days ago Frank said to one of his friends "tube feeding taste like Belgian dredge" and my first tought was "In time I will bring him Belgian chocolade, I'll get some from Leonidas".

Problem with tube feeding is that you don's taste anything at all, it is not passing any taste buts. And until Frank recovery is good enough and the speech therapist and some other specialists vets it he is stuck to it. While Frank is making progress some milestones can never be met too soon.

When I came in Frank was watching some TV program, nothing special. I greeted him, he greeted me back. We did not talk much. Then Frank asked for a DVD, "war, ????" I already forgot the title but Frank knew not only the title but also where on the shelf (in his new room) the DVD was!

It was a documentary about the history of war starting with hunter/gatheres robbing farmers working in the mud for grain. But quickly zooming in on Greece and warfare in ancient times. To be specific all details about the way of making war with phalanx were given. Then it proceeded with the battle of Maraton and next Thermopylae how 300 of Leonidas best man stopped Xerxes half milion for four days.

While I was watching I was thinking about chocolate. The difference between tube feeding and eating is the same as the difference between the army of Xerxes and that of Leonidas.

And before I forget, I agree with Esther. The best way you yourself can stimulate Frank and help his recovery is by sending him a postcard.

(For the non-Dutch readers: Leonidas is a Belgian chocolade chain in the Netherlands.)

dinsdag 19 april 2011

Frank's reaction to mustn't get any weirder!

But just before I disclose the meaning of the title; this day was far better than yesterday. The Kalorama people really had understood our agony yesterday, things were well arranged and Frank was comfortable when I came in. One of the nurses came in, made apologies for all the fuss yesterday and she acknowledged that it hadn't gone quite as it should have, which was really an understatement. Five minutes later another male nurse came in, again apologies. And to me it were not so much the apologies, but much more their receptiveness that really calmed me and brought back the feeling of trust that Frank is in the right place. And today it felt so much more a rehabilitation department of a nursing home (contrary to Margriet). The first nurse of tonight made clear that they were now going to start the rehab program and that they are going to work hard with Frank, that is, if he wants to make any progress. Now is the time to get back whatever is left. So that was very encouraging.
Thanks to Rense's textmassage I was informed that Frank wanted some lip balm so I arranged that for him as well as scissors to cut his nails which was very necessary. So I gave him a nice manicure (never done that before to someone else except my kids), I gave him the lip balm and he welcomed it very much (labello for man!) "So much better than the awful oral protection B, which smells like hell" and he balmed his lips himself. I cleaned his mouth and he sipped little drops of water from the sponges. And all that time Frank was more or less awake and watching TV with headphones on (which is not really helpful to divide his attention....), constantly pushing the buttons on his remote bed-control. So up in the air, and down again, almost sitting upright and laying back, exploring the function and possibilities of the bed he's in.
And arrived at that point I wanted to present my "masterpiece": I finally found Xena Warrior Princes!! after about 5 or 6 search attempts in Franks department. So I expected him to be very happy with it. Says the 'bl.... bast.....' "ah well that is not what I hoped for, I want the thunderbirds". So much for my masterpiece. So I teased him "you #**^*#^*<$". There was a little grim around his mouth which was for the first time since the stroke, at least for me, that I saw that. To me that was a jolly (isn't that a very old fashioned word??) good moment.
Well we'll see what Kalorama is going to bring. I think Frank could use a new round of postcards, to support and encourage him, he reads them himself and looks very pleased with all the attention.
So on behalf of Frank, the answer he keeps repeating when we sometimes read mail out loud:
"Tell them thanks"
My mission for tomorrow: finding Thunderbirds.......... although ;-))

goodnight Esther

Pffff, what a day.......

Today Frank's move to Kalorama was like a scene in a bad movie based on Murphy's law. The preparation in Margriet was correct, the ambulance ride was gentle (they skipped all the traffic barriers / dutch: verkeersrempels), but then, upon arrival in Kalorama all of a sudden we heard that they hadn't expected Frank yet, so there was a room, but not the proper bed for Frank (with a mattress that prevents decubitus). They had not read the transfer report, so when Frank said he was thirsty they wanted to give him something to drink; in the report was advised to approach Frank from his right side so they put him in a bed with his right side to the wall etc. etc. etc. so you can imagine I became rather upset and told the people on the ward that I had a really bad feeling how things were going. And although I do understand that things don't always go the way you want in care (and believe me I know for sure!), the only thing you want when you come with someone loved who you're deeply concerned about, the only thing you want is someone who says welcome and who act's accordingly, getting things done. So eventually after two and a half hours, and a lot of pressure from my side, things had landed a little, Frank was in the correct bed, as comfortable as possible. The staff on the ward really got the message and so the physiotherapist, occupational therapists dropped by, a wheelchair was arranged, even the technician came to install the TV and the radio. But all in all it was a though day for Frank and when he once was placed properly, he (what else) fell asleep.
Later that day the nursing home physician came in, a nice lady from Russia who addressed Frank as the historian he is, that obviously pleased him. I told that Frank spoke a little Russian and before I knew they were exchanging Russian formalities. (How are you, see you tomorrow etc). Frank pointed out that he always had wanted to learn Russian upon which the physician replied that she would be happy to help him with that. One moment later the physician had to leave the room and Frank commented: "very interesting, this is very interesting". So perhaps another goal for him to hang on to.
And al last, but not least there's internet in Kalorama, and the guy form technics (who really understood I couldn't take any more "I don't know's"), made the application right away so we hope that within 2-3 days he will have internetaccess. We don't know what he will be able to do with it, but we hope it will be another stimulant to rehabilitate.
Frank only stayed for about a week in the nursing home Margriet but it strikes me how fast you get used to people, atmosphere, rhythms etc. etc. and that change always is difficult. You just want something to hang on to. Let's hope this was just one of those days, and that it will turn for the better.

Now mainly for my own rest I just made a phone call (23.45) to check whether everything was OK, and the nurse coincidently was just in Frank's room giving him tube feeding. So she handed the phone to him. He told me that he was OK, that he had a aching feet ("Esther if you come tomorrow will you scratch my feet?" "Frank you can ask the nurse" "yeah but they don't scratch hard enough"), and he was gonna try to sleep. So he sounded landed ;-)

Here at last some logistics:
Frank is on ward Kastanjedal (first floor dept 3) room no 33.03, the telephone number of the ward is 024-6847753, visiting times are all day long but they prefer not during eating times (lunch, diner).
Well that's it for today, sleep well, I certainly will.

maandag 18 april 2011

At Kalorama

A new start of the week and again at a new location. Frank knows the area of this new location all too well. Was Magriet in the middle of the fighting area of the 82nd US airborne division, Kalorama is just north of dropping zone T. Just to inform all of you that cannot place where Frank is at the moment. Now you know!

So Frank could have told me pretty much about the area but he was not. He was a bit restless in his new room, testing each and every position of his bed. And while Kalorama is a newer and more luxurious location than Magriet, it still is a care centre. Frank has no eye for all this luxery, a glass of water is what he wants. But only some water and gel to wet his mouth was allowed.

And DVD's, Frank has a restless apetite for more of his DVD's. He has asked for his thunderbird collection and told me where to find it. He already had informed me a long time ago about the 82nd.

zondag 17 april 2011

Making us up for the move to Kalorama

Tomorrow Frank will be transferred to Nursing home Kalorama. So I packed his stuff this afternoon except the moviebox of Sharpe and the TV. He's constantly watching TV and when I stood in his line of vision he made clear that I had to move, giving commands is still intact ;-)
Frank is looking forward to his move and at the same time is a little bit nervous. What will it bring. Although there's clearly positive development in his awareness, the improvements go very gradual.
For all of you once more the address

Stichting Kalorama (hoofdlocatie)
Nieuwe Holleweg 12
6573 DX Beek-Ubbergen

Telefoon: (024) 684 77 77

Bye for now esther

zaterdag 16 april 2011

The power of hicups

Somewhere around 11.00 AM Frank started to hicup and when I was there tonight around 10.00 PM he stil did. I counted 8 hicups per minute which is 480 hicups per hour which is around 5000 hicups this day. How awful!
His major complaint about it: I can't sleep, (but in a way that's terrific, it's so important that he becomes awake more, that his alertness and attention improves). So he was very much awake, listened to some music, watched television with Andre tonight (sharpe) made a phonecall to a friend whose husband suffered a stroke some years ago. So quite some activity. Let's hope that something else than hicups can create the same effect.
I'm going to bed now and hope that frank has a good night sleep and that the hicupping will subside.

vrijdag 15 april 2011

Margriet is alive with the sound of marching songs.

When I visited Frank today, he was in a tremendously good mood. Esther had brought him some CD's and while she put on the CD of his choice 'Bands of the Parachute Regiment', Frank eagerly read the cover of the album, and all the information inside. It was very clear that he enjoyed this and that it helped him to stay active: for over an hour we listened to various cd's and all the while he read the information and selected what song he wanted to hear next, staying awake and focused. Only after a good half hour did he start to drift off every now and then.

Esther told us that Frank would move to Kalorama on Monday and Frank said he was nervous about it. About eating he said that things were improving 'astonishingly fast'. I was very happy to hear this. If Frank himself recognizes the progress he is making, this will surely help him fight on his difficult battle.
I was somewhat surprised today to see Frank smile. As the right side of his mouth smiled a big smile, the left side of his face remained passive. Only at that point did I realize that I had not seen him smile before. But today, he smiled a lot. Listening to some of his favourite music certainly improved his mood.

It wasn't all sunshine though: at one point Frank seemed to be convinced that Mathieu was visiting him, when he was in fact not there. Out of no where, he said 'Hi Mathieu' and when I asked him why, he stated firmly 'Mathieu is here'. As I explained to Frank that Mathieu was not present, he said he wanted to talk him but gave no further explanation about why he'd thought Mathieu was in the room. He drifted off at this point so I could not question him further on the matter.
Frank also complained of hiccups, feeling a bit ill, and not liking the liquid food. But all in all, he was in a good mood today. He also remembered where the Xena dvd's were, so hopefully we'll be able to find them in his Tardi-..ehhmm, his library now.


I'm sure we can find a geek around here somewhere

A quick message with a rather geeky request: Frank has been asking for his 'Xena: Warrior Princess' dvd's. While no one borrowed them, we can't find them at his apartment. I blame it on the TARDIS-like qualities of Frank's library. When you think you've seen it all, you've barely seen half of it. So I think the Xena dvd's must be somewhere in the back of said TARDIS, probably in the Zero Room.
Enough geekiness for now. The question I wanted to ask of each of you is: do you have a copy of Xena: Warrior Princess', and if so, would you be so kind as to let Frank borrow it?
Given the fact that Frank said he spends a lot of his time worrying, I think we might also have to get him a Tribble, though I'm not sure the staff of Margriet would approve.

- Rense

donderdag 14 april 2011

What is a graduation parade.....?

Jane at war has a good influence on Frank; besides the content, most importantly because the book is very light weight (in spite of what you would expect given the format) so it's easy for him to handle. When I came in he was reading-sleeping-reading, and when he noticed my presence he complained a bit about his back/spine. So I helped him turn to his left a little and give him a bit of a massage on his lower back. It must be so hard, laying on your back almost the whole day. It helped him a little and he was grateful for it. We talked a bit and what bothers him enormously is what his perspective is. He wants to return to his appartment, wants to sleep in his own bed ("I'm so comfortable in it"), wants to escape from the given situation, all so understandable. And when I asked how he considered escaping he replied "with a little electric car". If only the continuity of his awareness would improve, then an electric device could be an option. I asked him how he experienced his condition from within, what he noticed from his hampered arousal and attention. Upon which he answered "I feel like being in a graduation parade, I constantly pass out". Now I don't know what he means with a graduation parade but I brings back a memory in my mind of a picture Frank showed me once, which was a photo of "the changing of the guards" parade at Buckingham Palace. The picture showed a perfectly straight line up from guards with big heavy hairy hats (Frank calles them beremutsen, I don't know the correct english noun for it) and one of the guards had passed out and lay on the ground. Frank thought it was a very funny picture, quit the contrary of his situation right now. If anyone has other associations with "the graduation parade", tell us, leave your message on the blog, it will help us to understand more precisely how Frank feels and experiences his situation.
Furthermore, I've read him the postcards that arrived and that pleased him so much, he wanted to held them one by one and the pile is growing day by day. Also Frank asked whether people from the GHS from germany had read or reacted to the blog (he finds it very special that he is the subject of a blog). Now I don't know anyone from the GHS but if you read this blog and want to leave a message behind for Frank, we'll convey it to him. We keep telling to him that there are so many people who appreciate Frank in so many ways, in the hope that he can keep up his fighting spirits, he really needs that very badly.
So on behalf of Frank, on his graduation parade, kind regards and thank you for being with Frank and us in any form or way, thanks!

woensdag 13 april 2011

Jane at War has arrived.......

Today Rense and I went to Frank's appartment and thanks to Renses search talents we found two dvd's and the stripbook Jane at War. My mother brought this morning a reading standard (handmade by my late father) and those put together really pleased Frank.
Yesterday I recieved a phonecall from the nursing home Kalorama that they have a room for Frank on short notice (perhaps already next week). So he's going to be transferred again to a more permanent setting. I'll poste the date as soon as I know.
The ward is named "Kastanjedal" and is on the first floor above the main entrance from nursing home Kalorama
The adres is
Verelleeghuis Kalorama
Postbus 85, 6573 ZH Beek-Ubbergen
Or visiting adres
Nieuwe Holleweg 12, 6573 DX Beek-Ubbergen
Telefoon: (024) 684 77 77

Furthermore Frank wanted to talk to his sister Marieke and so I just made a phonecall, held the cellphone to his ear with the speaker on and it worked. Marieke read Frank a few emails from his mates from the africa-zulu battlefield tour and that was very good for him to hear. There was a special mail from a south african guide (I forgot his name) who nicknamed Frank grashopper, because he always jumps and who hoped he would jump again. It's so heartwarming to hear, read and see all this attention for Frank and believe us, he's very moved and touched by it.

So for today, we hope that Jane at War will give Frank an extra dose of fighting spirit, we mobilise anything we can find, real life-, virtual-, audio-, paper- filmpersons, you name it, it doesn't matter as long as it helps Frank on his quest.


dinsdag 12 april 2011

Watch out for the green sticker...!

So...., he has a television with dvd-player, radio with remote control, books, dvd's and how do we and the other inhabitants of the nursing home know that it's Frank's stuff? Well some very nice nurses spend tonight quiet some time finding stickers to put on his belongings. And...they turned up with the most ugly green stickers you can imagine, but for it's goal very very effective. So Andre and I stickerd just about anything we could find and I decided to sticker Andre as well, for being "part of the furniture" (no offense Andre, just kidding, you know how much I appreciate what you're doing). So beware off the green sticker, once your taged........
All the books and dvd's are in the cupboard beside his bed in the bottom drawer. Tomorrow Rense will help to find some more stuff in Franks appartment, it's truly going to be a challange to find what he wants in his enormous library and collection of books and dvd's. Frank was happy with his books on the Zulu war and victory I brought him today, he indicated that he'd missed them and started to read immediately. Frank's said that "reading is no problem" so that's great, but it does cost him a lot of energy. Tomorrow the occupational therapist will help to find a way to make it easier for frank to read, it is a little difficult right now to hold the book and turn the pages laying on his back with one hand. So I hope they figure out something really smart.
Although I feel that Frank is improving bit by bit (very slowly) it is clear to me that he's having a very hard time. He told me that sleeping was difficult due to lot's of worries. Or as he said, "will it work out well or not (in typical Frank dutch: "wordt het iets of niets"). What he wishes for is to return to his home, with some help, but we all feel that it's going to be very difficult, not to say impossible, to achieve that goal. It makes him sad and although he is really giving the best he can he is also very aware of the situation he is in and the big big problems he's facing. And realizing that, tonight he told us, a part of him is longing for salvation. I assured him that wathever his path may bring, we'll stick together and we'll guide him through this horrible journey or, better fitted term for Frank, battle.
One of the things that really helps to keep up his spirits are postcards, letters etc.etc. And also the reactions to the blog. We read them to him and he wants to go and read the blog himself. So post messages and if it doesn't work just send me an email, than I post it for you.
Well that's it for today, and remember if you see anyone with it an ugly green sticker.... it belongs to Frank.
All the best Esther

maandag 11 april 2011

"I'm going to let the logo smell a poop"

Well I think that's going to be the theme for the coming period; showing poop whenever he can. Somehow Frank has refound his fighting spirits. Today he again was more awake than yesterday. He's been in the wheelchair this morning and it appears that he went over the ward with the nurse. Tonight when I came he was watching tv, working the remote control himself. Andre was there and Frank dictated to him the dvd's he wants to see. So we're going to make sure he gets what he wants to feel as comfortable as possible under the given circumstances. He was laying on his back, told me that he had speech therapy (logo) today, and when I asked how the swallowing was going he answered the famous above words, in dutch, "ik ga de logo een poepie laten ruiken" (see title) "I want that bread with herring". His voice was much more controlled today, and the tone was more franklike than I've heard since the stroke.
And then he indicated that he wanted to sleep, he pulled over with his right arm grabbing the left side of his bed and turned to his left side. This is really great, it means that his physical strenght returns, that his ability to move his body voluntarily returns and that is really great news. Furthermore he said that he's very thankfull for all the attention and love and care which surrounds him, from his friends from far away and nearby. And having said that he closed his eyes and went to sleep.

When Andre and I walked away Andre told me that reacting to the blog was a little troublesome for him and he asked me to write a little handout. So for anyone who want to comment, or wants to leave messages for Frank, feel free, we read it out loud to Frank. Here's a little tutorial... To start don't use the little pencil icon at the bottom of messages, that doesn't work. Instead:
- choose the item you want to comment on, in the itemlist on the right side of the screen
- now you're in the submenu of a specific item and at the bottom of the text you click with your mouse in the blank field at the bottom and you type whatever you want to type.
- then press the submit button and your reaction is published.
- if you want to return to all the blogmassages simply click in the right sided list on the month or year, than you have access again to the rest of the blog.
So hoping to help you out (at least andre.... I expect a reply now, no excuses...;-))

Lets hope that Frank continues to make progess as he's doing right now. Perhaps then rehabilitation treatment might be a next step.
We'll see, let's poop with him!!! Goodnight Esther

zondag 10 april 2011

What a watch can do...

This morning Frank woke up, not when I entered the room (quietly) but when the nurse came in and said in a rather loud voice, "hello goodmorning Frank". He opened his eyes and was pretty well present for about 15 minutes. He told me that he wanted some bread with herring ("eel also would be nice..."), I read him some postcards from Serge on behalf of Ducosim ("tell Serge thanks for the postcard), from Chris with a lovely painting from Vicky (it's above his head on the wall), "Vicky she is such a darling, tell her...". And he indicated that he wanted his watch.
After my deception yesterday concerning the radio, today there was a sudden solution for this inconvenience. On my route to Frank I visited his mum and she wholeheartedly gave her cableproof radio with remote control for Frank, glad that she could do anything (and she hates apparatus with more than one switch, which was this radio definitely) so Frank is now the proud owner of a great radio, with his favourite BBC world service and within 5 minutes he knew how to handle the remote control, quiet remarkable.
But back to the watch, he told me he wanted his watch and he wanted it around his left arm. For the ones who haven't seen Frank, the left side of his body is paralized, and the awareness of his left body isn't optimal either. So I took a ride home, picked up his watch and returned late in the afternoon. He woke up again, and I put the watch around his wrist telling him that he has to lift his left arm with his right in order to see anything from the watch. So he reached for his left arm, found it (which is great) and pulled a little, but being weak it didn't work. I helped him a little and all of a sudden he really pulled hard, and at the same time lift his head and looked at his own watch. This is really fabulous. And he said "tell Ron (his brother in law, who is a physician) and tell me what do I have to do more?" So to me this feels that Frank is regaining his fighting spirits.
And with typical Frank understatement, the last noteworthy words of today when the nurse asked, "how was sitting in the chair today" Frank replied "much a do about nothing....." so it also seems his witt and humor is still there.
Hope to hear or read other experiences with Frank over here. I'm looking at the statistics of the blog and it is read in about twelve countries with around 1200 hits........
Well it is something, under the given circumstances, and Frank knows it, he keeps asking for the url, we read to him what is posted etc. Great for him.
Thanks for all you followers.
I've done my share for today, bye bye

zaterdag 9 april 2011

How many friends does Frank have anyway......?

When I arrived today, Frank was asleep, he greeted me upon arrival but immediatly fell asleep afterwards. The caretaker of today told me that he'd been in a chair for half an hour and that he was pretty tired afterwards. I arrived almost together with Andre, Rense and Franks mother and when I left I ran into Matthieu and Walter. We talked a bit how many people Frank knows and by how many people Frank is known. And Matthieu told a very funny story (which shows a perfect analogy to Frank) about Jopie (read Frank), a guy who's always bragging that he knows everybody. Eventually his boss, fed up with it, says I'm going to Rome next week, you will come with me and we'll check whether you even know the pope. So they arrive at st peters square and jopie says, "ok I'm going up to see the pope". So he goes up and stands on the balcony next to the pope, waving to his boss, when he sees his boss suddenly faint, so he runs downstairs, kneels besides his boss and says "I told you I knew the pope, so why the fainting?", on which the boss replies, It was not the shock of you being up there, but there were two man behind me who asked, "hé, who is the guy in the white robe next to jopie?" and this is what is so characteristic for Frank, he always knows somebody somewhere and such a lot of people know him (and he doesn't need bragging), we all want him to come back so badly, but his way is so unforseen and difficult. let's hope that he can mobilise energy and motivation to recover. It's very hard for him.
Personally I had a rough day today, I went shopping for Frank, pyama's, tv-remote control, radio worldreceiver, well none of it worked. The cloth were to be delivered during week days (you have to bring them in persoon to tag them), the world radio didn't give us BBC world service (frank's favourite) in spite of Andre's and Rense's trying, and the tv remote control did everything only the two most important buttons (volume, channel) didn't work, so I was pretty pissed off at the end of the day.
Another issue to be adressed are the visiting times; the nurse of today suggested that we should work out some sort of schedule. For instance three visiting times per day, with max. two persons at a time. Frank still needs a lot of rest. So I'm going to try to work out somerhing and hope to find a way to share it through the blog. Who wants to visit Frank on a regular basis? Can you send me your name and preferred visiting time/day. For intermittent visits (not on a regular basis) there is always time.
I suppose three time slots 10.30-11.30, 14.30-15.30 and 19.00-20.00 every day would do. Therapy or treatment always has priority, but I don't have any information on his treatment schedule (that will become more clear in the coming weeks). Of course if the situation changes arrangements can change.
Well for someone who sleeps most off the day, he keeps me pretty busy, hadn't anything to do anyway.......;-) but we do it with lot's of love for Frank
That's it for today folks
Goodnight Esther

vrijdag 8 april 2011


Na wat zoeken kon ik vandaag weer bij Frank op bezoek. Hij ligt op afdeling 3, kamer 12. Vandaag is de telefoon voor Frank aangesloten. Het nummer is 024-8901573. Als je vanuit Margriet naar buiten wilt bellen moet je eerst een nul draaien. Verder lagen wat briefjes op zijn nachtkastje van bezoekers die waren langs geweest toen Frank sliep. Ik heb daarop een klein gastenboekje neergelegd. Als Frank dan ligt te slapen kun je in ieder geval iets op papier voor hem achterlaten. Today the phone arrived at Frank's room. The nummer is 0031 24 8901573. There were some notes on his bedsidetable of guests that visited him while he was sleeping. I left a small notebook that can be uses as a guestbook. Frank was most of the time asleep. But I gave him his books he asked for and gave him his small guestbook. He held it in his hands and it gave me the impression he liked it to hold the books for a second. Than he felt asleep again. Lots of love and warm greetings from Marieke

donderdag 7 april 2011

Arrival at a new phase

This morning Frank has been transferred (thanks to Rense for pointing out the differenc between transfer and replace) to nursing home margriet.
The ambulance ride wasn't Franks favourite, but upon arrival he woke up and participated very adequatly during the intake conversation. It was great to notice that his memory seems very ok; for old stuff, but also for new information, he new where he'd been brought to.
My first impression of the nursing home is very positive, I felt very welcome, the atmosphere was very homely (don't know whether this translate the dutch word huiselijk correctly) and although it is an old building from which you understand a new one is neccesary, it was clean, bright, well coloured etc. Frank shares a room with just one other person, and it is on ward 3 (which is in the second stock). He told the nurse that he want to get rid of his feeding tube and she rerplyed, "great, that's exactly what we want" and that pleased Frank. Today also the physiotherapist (fysio), occupational therapist (ergo), speechtherapist (logo), physician etc. ect. will visit him so the expectation is that he will be exhausted at the end of the day.
However, as Rense blogged, now the time has come to reactivate Frank anyway we can, as the nurse said "bring the outside world in". So visitors are very welcome. The nursing home has no fixed visiting hours (welcome from 10.00-22.00), but now that I've read the information folder I understand that:
- visits from more than one person at the time are to be held in the centeal room (downstairs), so that other patients won't be disturbed
- between 13.00-14.30 and after 19.00 pm visits in the sleeping room are not allowed also because of rest for other patients.
I checked just now with the nurse and the message is: we're very liberal so if frank is alone in his room after 19.00 you're allowed to visit him, but follow the directions from the nursing staff, and realize that he is still very tired and that his energy span still is very minimal.
letters and/or postcards are very welcome and we're gonna make sure some of his own atmosphere will appear in his room. Frank also requested a telephone, so perhaps it soon will become possible for the friends (especially from abroad) to talk to/with him.
Having said this, I hope you all understand that this is to be developped in the future weeks step by step every day, gradually returning back to his life.

The visiting/postal adress is
Verpleeghuis Margriet
T.a.v. dhr. Frank van den Bergh, dept. 3
Dr. Claas Noorduynsstraat 5
6522 AS Nijmegen
0031-24-3275111 / 3275133

So far for today folks, any questions, post them here and we'll answer and inform you.
Regards Esther

woensdag 6 april 2011

What will tomorrow bring?

Today Frank was told that he will be replaced to a nursing home tomorrow, he understood it quite well and when the nurse asked how he felt about it he replied "I'm going to meet my doom". I felt this was a typical Frank remark, but under the given circumstances it made us feel so sad. He was clearly upset by this.
So tomorrow he will be picked up by 10 AM and will arrive at Nursing home Margriet ward 3 around 10.30-11.00. For visiting hours we direct you to the website of the nursing home
We feel that it is very important for Frank that he somehow can become motivated to stay more awake. The doctors have difficulty judging his awareness. Is he really somnabulent or is he withdrawing himself, being depressed? They don't know. Since the stroke didn't kill Frank the adagium for the coming period probably will become, "If it doesn't kill you, it 'll makes you stronger". But Frank needs goals to fight for and we feel his friends and "brothers in arms" are of utmost importance to him for that. So as soon as he will be settled in the nursing home, we hope to meet you all and give as much room as possible for you all to visit him.
For example I read him the email from Greame Cooper today and he made me repeat it three times. So thanks Greame, the message clearly was supportive to him.
Today Frank asked again for some books. I haven't found the right titles yet (those of you who know his appartment will understand this and excuse me for it.....;-)) however one book I found. I talked to Matthieu tonight and wondered if we should start a readingclub for him which can be beneficial and motivating for Frank. Well we'll see, first tomorrow.....

One practical issue:
Tonight I tried to send a mail from his computer to all contacts in his contactlist, but the server kept repeating "bla bla bla error, mail not sent". So please inform people when they wonder why they don't get answers and redirect them to the blog.

Oh yeah and I've added a translator tool, easy for everyone!

So that's it for now, goodnight, and keep sending mails and posts,
Love from us all,

Verhuisbericht van Frank

Ik krijg net van Esther de volgende sms: "donderdag tussen 10.30 en 11.00 uur wordt Frank overgebracht naar Verpleeghuis Margriet afdeling 3, met de ambulance". Esther gaat het met de verpleegkundige vanmiddag aan hem vertellen, en ze rijdt morgen mee met de Ambulance. I just received a text message from Esther: thursday between 10.30 and 11.00 am Frank will be transferred to Nursing Home Margriet, department 3, with the ambulance. Esther will tell him this together with a nurse this afternoon. And she will be joining Frank in the ambulance. Furthermore I received lots of best wishes for Frank! This guy is a mate of us all; If you see good old Franki and he is conscious let him know we are all thinking about him. He is a good guy!!!! Friends are thinking and rooting for him all around the world!!! That's it for now! Thanks for the good spirits! We are gratefull for all your kind thoughts and strength! Love Marieke

dinsdag 5 april 2011

Making us up for the next step

Hi Folks
Today the medical team told us that Frank is stable enough to leave the hospital but too sleepy to go to a rehab center. So the plans for this week are transference to the nursing home Margriet (in the center of nijmegen) and there Frank will recieve reactivation treatment. This is not the place were we want Frank to end up (minimal privacy, rather old fashioned nursing home with no single person rooms). So we've indicated that we want Frank to find shelter in the nursing home Kalorama. There's no place right now, so Frank needs to make a stop halfway. It is not the most optimal solution, but the best in the end. It will happen somewhere this week, I'll post the adress as soon as I know more.

We receive a lot of mails from friends who visited Frank, with things he said or told. And although he's only about 30-60 min/day awake, if we put all the information behind each other, it feels as if Frank talks to us; some noteworthy things of today
He wants to have his book on uniforms (matthieu), he made clear what he wants with his wargames in case he deteriorates (niek), he want to have his nightcap, whiskey "it's behind the cupboard in the livingroom...." and "what is the www from my website?"(esther), he shaved his face for aprox. 10 secs but did it well (nurse). It's incredible that the comunication is shattered to such small pieces for someone who is so fluent and articulate as Frank. It's weired that he somehow now speaks through our mouthes.

We also recieved a loving wish for Frank from one of his guild friends. We share it with all of you since Greame wanted to post it on the blog, but didn't manage to get it there. Hopefully it works well for you another time. Thanks for your thoughtful wishes.

Just to let you know that all those who went with you on the Guild Tour to South Africa   are rooting for you. John the Waterloo man  from America, Kirk from Canada, Scottie, Bob Brunsdon those two English policemen, your great friend Wybo from Arnhem, Paul Naish from Durban who we saw in tears on the final night, Ali, Graeme & Graham from Essex, Steve and Dennis from Australia, Rob, Pat and Dalton from Isandlwana Lodge and Ron and Sandy Gold who presented you with the Zulu Spear as the Winner of the Tour Quiz.
Get well soon friend as there is still much military history for you to discover and beers to take with your friends in the Guild.
Greame Cooper

That's it for today on our behalf,
The best for you all and don't forget there's mass tomorrow at 7.00 am in st pauls basilica in Rome, let us be there together in spirit sending all our love to Frank.

Emails of support

I currently find myself in the situation of someone who owns a great gift that does not belong to me, and has no opportunity to pass it on. In the last few days I have received a number of the most touching emails from friends of Frank at the Air Despatch Association, the Guild of Battle Field Guides, the Gesellschaft für Historische Simulationen, and others, filled with support and well wishes.
If only Frank were awake more, I could show them all to him. I'm sure it would mean a great deal to him, you all know how much his friends mean to him. For the moment, I will pass on as many of those well wishes as I can to him and his family. I feel strangely privileged to be the messenger of so many emails that I know will be so greatly appreciated by Frank.

~ Rense


two practical notes:
- Does anybody object to blog posts entirely in English? (Heeft er iemand bezwaar tegen berichtjes in het Engels zonder Nederlandse vertaling? Zo ja, dan stap ik wel over naar twee talige berichten).
- Several of you have asked me where they can send cards and letters for Frank. These can be send to Frank's normal address and will be received by his family.

maandag 4 april 2011

Some sign of will

Some facts from today
I've just spoken to the nurse who took care of Frank today. She told us that he's been in a chair, but he has difficulty maintaining his headbalance; he has eaten some applejuice (he can swallow, but only if he's well alert, so when he is dozing off, swallowing becomes a risky buissnes), "bragged" to the nurse that he jumped the parachute and he has been listening to the radio. Apparently he didn't like what he heard because he switched channels and volume. All and all the nurse estimated that he's been awake for some 30-60 minutes all over the day. And that is the biggest problem right now, his awareness and ability to stay awake is severly compromised. And that makes it impossible right now to go to a rehabilitation center. Today the rehabilitation physician visited Frank and it is advised that Frank will be discharged to a nursing home and we hope that he will become more alert so that he eventually can profit from rehabilitation treatment. Within three weeks from now, long term prognosis will become more clearly.
We receive a lot off heartwarming messages and we will try to convey them to Frank in some way or another. Thanks for that, it is so comforting for all of us, and we hope in exchange to support you, his friends, collegues, guilds, air dispatchers, gamers, braunfeldsers etc. etc. by keeping you posted about Franks situation.
Thanks for all the love around him!

Warm wishes from England

Nadat ik het Guild of British Battlefieldguids had geinformeerd over de ziekenhuisopname van Frank en over zijn beroerte ontving ik enkele warme berichten. Ik citeer uit de emails die ik ontving: Mike Scott schreef : "...My prayers and thoughts are with Frank and his family..." en Father Lt Col Ian Evans schreef : "Thank you for passing on the news about Frank's condition. I was so very sorry tot hear about his CVA and the result of the damage. As chaplain to the Guild I assure you and the family of my prayers during this difficult time. I pray that Frank remains comfortable and that your family are able to remain strong both for Frank and for each other. Celia Lee wrote: "My cousin Father John Breen who is a priest in Rome has sent the following message: I will celebrate mass for Frank van den Bergh. It will be on Wednesday at 7.00 am in St Paul's Basilica. It is the Lenten station mass for that day in Rome." Thank you very much for all your warm wishes and good thoughts for Frank. We wish you (all his friends and comrads) all also a lot of strength and thank you for your warm thoughts and prayers!

zondag 3 april 2011

Bewustzijn of bewust zijn that's the question

Voor wie het nog niet weet, afgelopen dinsdagavond 29-3-11 heeft Frank een ernstig herseninfarct doorgemaakt. Hij is woensdag ochtend gevonden en overgebracht naar het Radboud ziekenhuis te Nijmegen. Daar is hij door de eerste vier kritieke dagen heen gekomen en nu ligt hij met een ernstig verlaagd bewustzijn veel te slapen. We hebben de indruk dat hij wel hoort en begrijpt als er tegen hem gepraat wordt en hij heeft heldere momenten; dan zegt hij ook dingen waaruit blijkt dat hij zich bij vlagen bewust is van de toestand waarin hij terecht is gekomen.
Voor de opname in het Radboud hebben we een ziekenhuisblogje aangemaakt maar dat werkt niet meer als Frank daar weggaat (hetgeen ws in de loop van volgende week zal zijn). Daarom starten wij als familie dit blog, zodat we alle belangstellenden kunnen informeren.
Ons verzoek is om het adres van dit blog door te geven aan iedereen die betrokken is bij Frank en graag op de hoogte wil blijven. Wij hebben niet veel emailadressen, dus een soort van "hoort zegt het voort".
Op deze manier hopen wij jullie geinformeerd en betrokken te houden, want wij weten hoe belangrijk Frank's vienden en vriendinnen voor hem zijn.
Heel veel groeten namens mijn moeder en zussen Marieke en Anne

For those who speak english, Frank has been admitted to the hospital with very serious brain damage after a cerebro vascular accident. His awareness is very minimal and the outlook is not very positive. We do not have access to email adresses but we know that Frank has a very big circle of friends, so pass on the url of this blog if you want to stay informed and send it to people of whom you feel,that should stay informed

Kind regards on behalf of my entire family