October 16th, 2005 TBI and how we survived it. I kept a journal when Terry got hurt, these are entries from that journal and those times. I hope they can help someone else struggling down the same lonely road.
We brought Terry home from the rehab center yesterday. Its only been 32 days since the Deer Incident. It is amazing how far he’s come and daunting how far he still has to go. Thank you Darrell Allston for being such a friend and helping drag all the contents of Terry’s room at the rehab center room home–how did we acquire that much crap in such a short time?
It wasn’t all things we set out to collect, but we figured we are being charged for all this stuff so we now have 3 pink water pitchers, a jumbo sized roll of saran wrap, enough ace bandages for a mummy, a whole box of rubber gloves, assorted band aids, ointments, powders, and a tiny pink dish pan. My favorite: they actually have industrially labeled hospital bath powder in hotel sized containers. So help me, it is called, “Fordustin”, I
mean is that not original? I have to dig out the shampoo and see what it’s called, “Forhairin” maybe? or maybe “Forhairinwashin” ? The Deodorant should be, “Forstinkin” or “Forpittiin” or maybe”Fornosmellin”. It all reminds of the pseudo German jokes that made the rounds 20 or 30 years ago featuring Little Red Riding Hood and a bad
accent. If you remember those you are showing your age–or mine.
And other friends too, Brian Kessler–we have your foam mattress –thanks, it
saved us all from sleeping on the hospital cot with a mattress which felt like
a sack of empty pop cans. Terry did complain about being bounced around in the car on the ride home so I know he hurts but we made it and he loved the renovations. He
has viewed them several times–and each time they are new. He thinks he’s in a hotel
and wonders how we can afford it.
I had ten prescriptions to fill on a Sunday, that was fun–and to keep them straight I made up a little chart so I could tell when to give him what. He’s alive and doing better so I really don’t want to kill him by giving him the wrong meds after all this.
He slept most of last night, amazing after the weeks of restless wandering around
the rehab center corridors, its 11:30 in the morning and he’s had breakfast and
he’s back asleep. I hope the pattern continues with his sleeping at night
because we have discovered Mr. Davis has one hell of an independent streak that
could get him in trouble while the rest of us sleep the sleep of the exhausted
after hours of watching over him. His short term memory is impaired and the first
thing that goes with that is impulse control and the ability to weigh things
that might be dangerous–and not do them, like going for a midnight walk naked
in the middle of winter.
The most excitement we had yesterday was Torin yelling from the kitchen for
help. He was cooking dinner and had rice boiling away in the rice cooker when
Terry showed up fresh from a rest in his chair in the living room. He got a spoon and wanted to taste. Visions of steam burns etc., ran through my head as I sprinted from the bathroom with my plaster covered paws from the shower renovation.
Terry was downright cranky and nasty to Torin who was almost in tears trying to stop him from hurting himself. Lesson 1: do not let him get hungry because impulse control
being gone he will wolf down anything in sight including hot raw rice.
Lesson 2: Try not to tell him no directly. This was borne out yesterday when he
decided he HAD to get outside. I grabbed his house shoes and sprinted after him with the ring of keys to the garage. He demanded the keys, I demanded he put his shoes on and he wasn’t having any of it–emergency averted when I reached around him and unlocked the garage. He put on his house shoes like there had been no discussion and went into the garage. The bike was there and he said it looked like it needed some work. He started folding stuff up and putting it away but got distracted and went wandering back out and into the house. His attention span is about 2 -5 minutes. This is discouraging but it is getting better by inches.
He has been far more peaceful at home although he still cannot tell me he is in Olympia–when I ask where we are I get between the kitchen and dining room–or something like. Last night he was tired and crabby and about half asleep from 5 pm on. He demanded we turn the teevee OFF and it was turned down very low. This was at 8:30 p.m.
I am tiling the shower and trying really hard to get it done but what a job–I’m sure the sound of breaking tile didn’t help much, but I told him I had to do it and that was that. It is hard to find the balance between his life and Torin and I having a quality of life that is acceptable. I am looking forward to the professionals assessing him this week so we can get some caregivers in while I have one nerve left intact. In home rehab starts tomorrow too and that should be helpful. I want to learn what they do so I can keep stimulating his brain.
We have pretty much isolated the source of 70% of his pain as his right shoulder. I don’t think it got much attention in the fray and is now surfacing as a source of agonizing muscle spasms. I’m guessing he’s torn some stuff in there and hopefully we can get his doctor to take a look at it this week.
I am in the process of trying to figure out how all this fits together—a new wireless connection in the living room means I can work in here and listen for him in there. This is like living with Dr Jekyll and Mr. Hyde. There are two Terry’s in there–one I don’t know or recognize at all and the other I get flashes of–the old Terry. I hope we can reintegrate him so old Terry can send new Terry to stand in the corner and stay there. It’s hard to remember that he is a giant two year old with all of a two year-olds curiosity and lack
of fear when you are having a perfectly lucid conversation with him—except that he won’t remember in five minutes in most cases.
I keep telling him things will get better but mostly I think I’m telling me. I’m sure they will too, but no one has a written a road map for this peculiar territory and it’s easy to get lost. I can tell things are different–the DOG is on the BED and he invited her up. Whoa….. Toto we are not in Kansas anymore because in Kansas the dog is not allowed on the bed so you’d better enjoy Oz before Terry finds his ruby slippers and clicks the heels together and you get booted back to the dog bed.