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
donderdag 30 juni 2011
To cheer me up the new Vae Victis hors-serie arrived.Hooraay for that magazine!!This means hours of emjoyment for me.
cCheerio for now
woensdag 29 juni 2011
dinsdag 28 juni 2011
Dear family and friends of Frank. Saturday the 3rd of September 2011 there will be the yearly Airborne March in Oosterbeek, the Netherlands (www.airbornewandeltocht.nl/en). Frank has walked this march almost every year for a long time. And I would like him to participate this year too. As Frank and I have already done this with a wheelchair bound person a few years back, I do not think it will be much of a problem to get a group together and join Frank on his march (and take turns pushing the wheelchair). To make it easy on everybody, I propose to walk the 10 kilometer march. This is the busiest one, but doable in about 3 hours (you have to navigate the traffic (other walkers) and that makes for some slow going). I would like to go as a group (FrankForce), so I need at least 9 other people in order to get a group of sufficient size. It is a nice walk through some of the most beautiful countryside in the Netherlands. And the cost for the march is reasonable, just € 5,50 per person (€ 5,-- if you have a KNBLO\NWB membership pass).
If you are interested, please e-mail me, with your name and how often you have walked the Airborne March before (for the medal that you get afterwards) and mention FrankForce in the subject of the e-mail.
About mid august I will then mail the details about how late (or early) to be where in Oosterbeek, on Saturday the 3rd of September.
See you in Oosterbeek.
Louis.kolkman AT gmail.com
maandag 27 juni 2011
qwll, I've blathered on enough for now; over to you.
Till the next time
zondag 26 juni 2011
The talking to Frank in the Rondeel was about his trip on friday night. Getting the taste of going out he told me he wanted to attend the club one time... the wheelchair cab is known and discovered! But the pub where Casus Belli meets is a problem: there are no possibilities for wheelchair and handicapped people. So I said I would make a question to the blog: is there a clubhuis/wijkcentrum/kantine van een voetbalclub or something like that where Casus Belli could gather one time in order to give Frank the opportunity to attend the club one time.....?
I hope anyone will be able to help!
Thanks in advance! Love from all of us!
zaterdag 25 juni 2011
Contact info dept F1A
phone (024) 365 94 55
Yesterday, I was able to go back to the museum. It was great. They were all waiting to welcome me, and it felt as if I had not been away. The museum is doing really well. They had an Indonesian style buffet meal, which tasted great. Today it was back to normal, with the reality of my situation badly sinking in..... No, I do not feel all too well about that, but try to keep going, anyway. After all I owe myself that!
I (Esther) take over the keyboard (on Frank's request) and blog a little additional info, Frank is tired and wants to lay down.
Yesterday indeed was a fantastic day. You must imagine what it is like when you return to the place which for Frank feels closest to home after being absent 3 month. When Frank came in, all the folks (aprox. 50) gave him a standing ovation which was very touching.
Although it is advised to Frank not to drink any alcoholic beverages, the first thing he ordered after being asked what he wanted to drink, was a nice glas of red wine. His boss (Wiel) said "we commit perjury, let's call it berry juice" (meineed plegen) on which Frank replied 'wijneed' which was of course a far better pun than Wiel ever could have thought of, we all laughed and loved this exquisit verbal performance skill from Frank.
It was a very good experience after a rather tough week for Frank. Wednesday he had the first evaluation with the treatment team and the conclusion Frank draw from it is, "I'm finished, it's not returning to normal any more so I'm useless". I told him he is anything but useless. The Liberation Museum wants him back, his friends want him back and his family loves him and wants him into their lives (by the way, seeing and feeling all the dedication from the museum and friends from Frank I dare say they love him too!). And I also assured him that nature has it's own course and NOBODY can predict outcome. The reason for his transfer back to Kalorama is that the treatment team feels that there must be a optimal balance between therapy and doing things he really enjoys (i.e. adding quality to life). So the planning is that he will return to Kalorama on the 12th of July to the rehab. dept. over there. There he will go to his own single room and the plan is to move a bookcase and his PC over there. Furthermore his Ipad wil finally arrive coming friday (pfiew at last....). And thanks to the generosity of many of you I received such an amount of money for Frank that I will spent the rest on a new flatscreen TV. Not that tiny prehistoric litlle ....tv again! I think he will be very pleased with that, considering his reaction this afternoon to my proposal.
Oh, and at last, I found his mobile recharger and recovered his PUK-code (with a little persuasion and sad sad story telling), so you can finally reach Frank also on his cellphone (0648853891).
Well, on closing up this blogentry, I'd say it's time for a new round of encouraging cards, phonecalls, emails anything. Frank needs it.
Thanks to you all, again and again, for reacting to my pleas, the blog, everything! Frank (and we) couldn't do without it.
love to you all, Esther
vrijdag 24 juni 2011
I went to SMK, no Frank. Worse, everyting and all was gone! Clean and verry empty bed, no books, no nothing. Flashback of my return after Braunfels went through my head when I had to seach for Frank in the Maartens clinique. Just such a short time ago! Good for me that the nurses take care for elder outdoor patiens like me and told me that his new foxhole is in room 8.
But to no avail, Frank is an outdoor patien too! And that was 20:05. FRANK where are you? I hope you did enjoy yourself. ;-)
he returns to Kalorama on the 12th of July,
and tonight, everybody who comes to visit Frank tonight will only hear:
Frank has left the building!
He is going to visit the Liberation Museum from 18.00-20.00. Went to the barbershop this morning and is looking very much forward to his planned visit.
I'm sure he will update all of you about his experiences.
donderdag 23 juni 2011
Anyway, if I can't react to the blog through a reaction than I'll find anonther way. What I wanted to say was that we are so proud of your will and stamina to improve yourself.
Yesterday Sef attended a sportdag of Only Friends (a sportclub for handicapped and ill children and guess what the t-shirt said they got: the will must be stronger than the skill. Your will is awesome! You got 4 fans cheering you on! See you this weekend! Love Marieke
woensdag 22 juni 2011
itv was really good to see them. Alll the support I have gotten over the past weeks really helps and means a lot to me.To the people at Casaus Belli, Ducosima nd the International Guild of Battlefield Guides: "Thank you very much indeed!"
dinsdag 21 juni 2011
None! But Esther, his sister, knows the habit and has the skills to get him out of it. And it was just then that Frank told the fabulous news that he made a transfer today on his own, not in a 'tillift' (Dutch for 'sling lift' or 'sit-to-stand lift') and not once but twice, once on the toilet and once into his bed. We told him that we wanted to see it. So Frank complied! Under the supervision, guidance and help of a nurse Frank just moved from his bed to his wheelchair.
I will never dare him again to prove his words. (Or should I just to... ah well, time will tell.) And off we went to blog about this all, Frank in his wheel chair, walking with one leg and steering with one hand.
it just occurred to me that in my first youth about this time I got interested in Airfix kits! I do owe Airfix a lot. Apart from filling many hours of my misspent youth, it helped me to learn English and stimulated an interest in history.
Perhaps I ought to pick it up again.
Today I managed a transfer from wheelchair to toilet and back. And LATER FROM WHEELCHAIR TO BED AND BACK. thIS OPENS PERSPECTIVES.
I hope Iwill continue to improve.
But the newspaper still wins from this new flat screen stuff. We had a sort of discussion revolving around the main theme of "recovering is not fast enough, I don't see any improvement". So I started to call on "old memories". Well, that is Kalorama for instance. "Old short time memories". And while remembering that in general it was not a place with pleasant memories, the details were gone. Yeah, it is hard to see improvement if you forget the details from not so long ago.
zondag 19 juni 2011
yesterday, Niek brought me a copy of "Napoleon at Waterloo", an old S.P.I. INTRODUCTION GAME. I played with Rense (in the role of 'Vilain jeton' (Welllington) and I won.
Some update from the outside by Esther
In the last week Frank made some substantial improvements. To his very great joy he, at last, got rid of the bladder catheter. It means that the part of his brain that notices that the bladder is full and the program to release the urine from the bladder regain function again. Frank also told me that they had been practicing transfers with a sliding board from bed to chair and vice versa. So I deduct out of that, that his trunk balance is improving. The major problem noticed by the nursing staff is his lack of disease insight, and lack of initiative. The major goal (besides the therapies he's receiving) is mobilising (being increasing time up in the chair), but Frank doesn't like that and if there's no distraction he starts (and keeps) saying that he needs to go to the toilet, or wants to lay down. Coming Wednesday we have a first evaluative interview with the treatment staff right here. I'm curious what their opinion will be. To us (his family and friends), we hope that they will keep him here in the SMK, that they see enough progress to prolong his stay.
Looking from the outside, I feel that his spirits go up and down all the time. Sometimes all of a sudden he says he is depressed (I think he still hopes that everything will return to normal, but that is not realistic), another moment he says he's very well. I don't know how he sees the future and wether his expectations are the same as ours. For now, trying not to look too much in to the future, I keep saying to Frank, that if Frank isn't able to go home, the home will come to Frank. To me that is a realitic outlook.
I know the difficult phase in the rehabilitation treatment is when the progress curve starts to flatten, than reality is pushed upon you, sometimes a very harsh experience, realising that things won't return to your old self. Don't know where Frank is right now, but I hope and pray that he will make more progress.
For now, behind my back there's a very animated conversation between Frank, Mathieu, Walter and Rense. I believe they are going to play a Chez Geek's game. It's great to experience that, thanks guys, for keeping up with my brother.
donderdag 16 juni 2011
woensdag 15 juni 2011
NO, Walter, I do not get breast-fed (Groans of dismay). Furthermore I skip the stage of "I'll show you mine if you show me yours". That is not necessary since the poor nurses have already had the time to inspect everything!
Oh, Mathieu, this morning I learned that your "remedial training" includes potty training. This morning I had an accident..... a full diaper.....It reminds me of the boardgame "Timewar" in which you could get a task like "insuring Sigmund Freud is not potty train.ed until the age of three". I think there is a task of insuring Frank is not potty trained until three weeks at the SMK!
I regularly have to pee. If I cannot they get a catheter. That is a thin plastic tube the width of a straw they insert up my penis to empty the bladder. That bloody hurts! Like I am pissing liquid fire. I always am glad when it is over. Pissing liquid fire is something for combat engineers so AS-fans take note!
Lying in my bed I watch telly a lot, and I notice that it is rather female-dominated (like my life). Whatever you turn on, there is an ad for something girlish and pink, and it is all talk about emotions. I do not like that. I like factual information.
It also means I am much fussed over by the poor nurses and therapists. Honestly, their dedication is impressive, to say the least.
If there is a way they can restore me to normality, they'll find it. It will be a hard slog, but it is worth it.
Would you believe the original title of this blog was " The invasion of the friendly girl-things"?
Greetings from Frank
zondag 12 juni 2011
Next stop: kindergarten. I am curious. And I probably will bore them terribly with my limited conversation.
zaterdag 11 juni 2011
a special thank you goes to the guys at the GHS. I JUST GOT THE LATEST MANVÖVERKRITIK AND IT IS HEARTWARMING TO READ ALL THE COMMENTS ON MY SITUATION! I hope to be back in Braunfels next year, properly rebuilt with new lectures...
in closing, Battles magazine no 6 arrived today. Yay! Hurrah!
The members of the GHS at Braunfels also expressed their sadness about Frank not being in Braunfels. "El (ex-)Presidente", the former chairman of the club, arranged a specialy made bag, a one-off with a game motif of The Devil's Cauldron on it, for Frank. And many memberd did sign the bag to express this feeling. With the hard exercise regime that Frank is under at the moment I was not able to offer this bag of good wishes to him untill today. (See Zzzzz... for the why.) But today I had the bag with me and Frank was not asleep.
Frank was delighted with the bag and its content. Especially the "Manöverkritik", the journal of the GHS was much appreciated by Frank.
donderdag 9 juni 2011
After a wile AFK, I AM BACK BEHIND A COMPUTER. FIRST OF, MANY THANKS FOR YOU WONDERFUL SUPPORT. IT'S TRULY OUTSTANDING AND A GREAT HELP!! Here in the SINT maartenskliniek I slowly am driving the poor nurses crazy! Wanting to play and discuss games all the time. in retaliation they lift me out of bed whenever I am doing something interesting.... usually to go to therapy.
Once AGAIN, THANK YOU FOR EVERYTHING AND KEEP UP THE GOOD WORK.
woensdag 8 juni 2011
After the psychology meeting we went to what is called the movement agogue (agoog) This are people who offer patients in the SMK all kinds of physical activities for play and fun. We were in a huge gymnasion and one group of patients were busy with archery, on which Frank immediately commentend that he wanted to participate in that too. But being a one armed bandit, you all understand, that pulling the bow isn't exactly the easiest thing you can imagine, so I presume they work out something else.
Yesterday in the afternoon Frank recieved a new wheelchair, a so called trippelchair, which means that you walk the chair instead of moving it with your arms. Today I went over there to look at it and when I came in Frank was in bed, surrounded with a lot of visitors. He expressed the wish to get out of bed to show us how he managed in the trippelchair. See him taking initiative is so very good again! So we called the nurse and took Frank out for a "walk", he trippeld all the way to the rondeel and to me it appeared that he was very proud of it. And after returning to his room he was very active during the changing of his clothes to pyama. He helped, moved his body, asked questions. Very good to see.
And although Frank complains much about fatigue, he was very awake and lively. I have the idea that his attention span and endurance still is limited and fluctuates througout the day. He also complains about bad sleeping. I hope that the hard work during the day will make that a little easier.
Another very nice thing about the SMK is that Frank can invite people over for diner. You have to be there around 17.00 and Frank has to order an extra meal for you. It appeares that he has ordered two meals for tomorrow, without consulting anyone, so I will have dinner with him. But I suggested that he could invite friends over for diner. If there is more than one extra person, you get vouchers and you can all go and eat in the rondeel. So for anyone who like to have dinner with Frank, just call and make an appointment (see contact details on the second page of this blog). I'll notify the SMK in case the casus belli club will come ;-)) and join for dinner and some game in the rondeel (a very good alternative location for clubgaming to my opinion, a lot of round tables). They will know Frank is there with his friends!
And finally, the Ipad is almost there! Today it was brought to my house, but I wasn't allowed to recieve it, because franks name was listed to the account (not mine). I wasn't allowed to accept it although I had his and my passport, arghh. I explained the situation, asked the guy to drive over to the SMK, "no ma'm' I'm not allowed to deliver it to another adress". So quite pissed of, in the end I decided to change the subscription name to the account. Again, too bad, it will take another few days. And knowing Frank is really longing for the Ipad I can hardly bare the postponement, so much for bureaucracy!!! I hate it.
I hope Frank has a good night sleep and remember, Bistro Chez Frank's is open for buisiness. Allo allo, Have a nice meal!
Au revoir et bonne nuit Esther
zondag 5 juni 2011
I thought that it was just Frank. If I turn my back on a game with him for just one beer (and a white port) he always find new ways to hit me.
But NO, it is a family trade! I just go for one week to Braunfels and look what happens. Frank gone, I have to search hime again. Chocolade gone at the very day Frank is alowed to eat them. And I have to buy new ones again!?
I think I will start searching at the dutch prairies/polderlands... nice people there that can help me with the search.
Much better than Braunfels Germany by the way. We were under attack of poisonous cucumbers by the terrorist brother of Bin Laden named Sal Laden. And word has it that the third brother of Bin Laden, Choco Laden is prepairing another atack. (With thanks to Berry for conveying this important information to me.)
I brought Frank some icecream (mocca and cinnamon flavour) because of the tropical heat yesterday, but luckily the climatecontrol in the SMK is ok, so Frank didn't suffer to much from tropic temperatures. The icecream had Frank definite approval and within minutes he finished it.
He gave me a next assignment (yeah the general is back in town) to pick up things from his flat, so that's what I will do. Short visit, however worthwile.
As for today, I planned to pick up the things Frank asked for and pay him a visit, but after spending aprox. 5 hours in my garden, bended forwards picking weed, my back forbids me to do anything but sit. So sorry bro you have to wait 'till tomorrow.
Greetz from your running sister
donderdag 2 juni 2011
We proposed to make a tour around the SMK and he was ok with it so two very nice nurses helped Frank into his wheelchair and we left the ward on our way to "Het Rondeel" which is the restaurant of the SMK. We orded something to drink, Frank wanted to have a glas of milk and we ate some bread. It's so nice to see Frank eat and drink again and see him enjoying that. Oh yeah that reminds me of a "terrible" mistake during movementday, Andre, to my very very sincere apologies (hi hi) I have to admit that I forgot to take the leonidas box of choclates out of the car (WHAT?? Arghhh) and since it is 20-25 degrees celsius (and in the car probably more) you can guess what was left of it (the mousse Frank was suppopsed to eat when he still had his tube in.....). I suppose the time is right to buy a new box and eat it together with Frank and some friends during a wargame in de "casus belli dependance" (again a great doorcard from Matthieu!! Frank can't be missed if your looking for him!!).
But now for the people who get to know eachother. Everyone who knows Frank, knows he has a fantastic sense of humor and the best part of it, is that he also appreciates some good mocking on behalf of himself too. So on our return to the ward we came in and went to the livingroom. The TV was on and Frank switchted some channels and stuck to an episode of "the little house on the prairie". Now you have to know that he used to hate it, when we were kids and my sisters and me wanted to see it, but somehow he seems to have forgotten that, so I teased him a little. "Don't let anyone find out you're looking at this over-the-top-sugarsweet-feel-good-and-believe-in-god jerk, you probably will get discharged as a casus belli member and your honnorairy membership from Ducosim will be taken away" Frank laughed, and guess what, five minutes later some gentleman came walking in looking for Frank and it appeard to be the chair of Ducosim (Serge). It was such a funny coincidence, we bursted out laughing (and inspite of all my gossip Frank still has his memberships ;-))
I know Serge is a follower of the blog, so it was nice to see a face to a persons and likewise Serge expressed much gratitude to all the bloggers and now also has a face behind all these words. Serge told us that he met a guy at some auction, who appeared to be walter (also a follower) and they felt they knew eachother through the blog and could share their concern about Frank. Isn't it great, it feels as if there is a big warm supportive circle around Frank, and not only for Frank but to anyone who is affected by the missery Frank is suffering. And that are quite a lot of people.
Frank is looking forward to the rehab training, he's very motivated and cooperative, so let's hope that his brain will allow him to recover well, and that time will come again that he can decide for himself to get out or into his bed with a book, experiencing increasing quality of life.
If anyone whises to contribute to the blog or react to it, simply sign up a googleaccount and start reacting. Frank will have his Ipad next week (it's delivered here on monday) so after some customizing Frank will finally have it and I hope he will join the blog, starts mailing again and reading his favourite NRC thanks to all of you.
Words can't express the gratitude we all feel by so much warmth and support. Well so much for my report of today, having done my voluntary duty again I bid you all good night, love