Daily Archives: September 4, 2012

Terrible T.-the Unlaundered Version

Oct. 21st, 2006 |

The email update list who wants to know how Terry is doing gets the sanitized version; my journal gets the director’s cut–the down and dirty ugly parts of brain injury. Frontal lobe injuries ruin the ability to control impulse, organize, make any kind of judgment or decision and they release all the anger usually kept under control.

T. cannot behave appropriately–as in identify the toilet, not eat a whole sausage patty in one bite–or not reach into a pot of boiling water to get at the rice in the pot. He has to be watched every second and he hates it on some level. I’m exhausted and scared and just stunned by the consequences of his decision to ride his bike at night.

No one could have predicted it, but I seem to be the one paying the piper and I am starting to wear out and be really angry at the world of insurance and the medical community. I’m also angry with T. and frustrated because he cannot understand any of this so I stuff it down and don’t take it out on him.

They scrape someone off the street, save their lives and dump them back into the world whether they are ready or not. With traumatic brain injury, TBI, as the cognoscenti call it, they are seldom ready. The TBI world is populated by an infinite variety of symptoms, causes and effects. Each person is different in their reaction to treatment, medication, and general recovery rate and degree of recovery. No one has any answers and they gently skirt the truth–which is:
a)we don’t have a freaking clue
b)frontal lobe injuries are the worst with the longest and lowest recovery

There is nothing in place to support the people stuck with trying to cope with what amounts to a giant brain injured two year old. Everyone has an opinion but I don’t see anyone here at 2:00 a.m. when I’m trying to talk him in off a ledge and getting nowhere. Fortunately, we have no ledges in reality; but last night he did go outside in the rain barefoot and mostly naked. The yard is fenced and we put locks on the gates or the cops would be here by now.

Although I am the only caregiver–another word I have come to hate–I still have to work to keep a roof over our heads and be able to pay the bills. How can I do this when I watch him all day and all night? Even if I had day help, he doesn’t rest at night so when am I supposed to rest? I am just beat today,napping on tenterhooks and able to flame to full consciousness in a split second when he sits up and gets ready to move. I try to just follow him and not intercede unless he’s doing something dangerous that could result in harm.

I really don’t think he will ever return to work. I am hoping that his care will be paid for and that he can stay home. When he does well he does really well, just not for very long. What is happening now is what I was scared of all along. He does not remember any one from the last two months– nor does he even know what town he is in most of the time. His health is improving and we are going to the doctor next week to ask about his meds and show the doctor I do need help. I will ask the doctor how on earth we can change any of this behavior.

The therapists finally all showed up Friday after I had a fit because they hadn’t even called. They seem to have some ideas and are going to work with him. This will be good I think. I keep expecting the magic bullet. The thing that makes it click. I want to see him realize with horror that he crashed his bike. Not just take it in and keep going, like I told him we were having pizza for dinner. That will probably never happen.

I got hold of the disability board yesterday and asked them what they needed to give me what I need. I have to present all this stuff as medically necessary and come up with costs etc,. to present to them–and watch Terry at the same time. SSN has to to get filed for, but that’s an exercise in stupidity as he doesn’t have social security because he was a fire fighter and didn’t pay into it. I really cannot afford to hire a caregiver right now–especially one that I have to come in and intercede for every ten minutes. Heather is willing but she cannot handle him in any way. he doesn’t listen or respond to her so I cannot use her help. I may wind up having to hire a big strong guy to hang out with him and figure out how to share nights.

I want to explore adult homes for him, might be the best option at present. I need to document the true weirdnesses but right this minute I think I’m too tired…..


The Wedgwood Mystery: Let’s dish

The plate that caught my eye.

In my by now constant quest for new trinkets and treasures in the way of vintage, I happened across a set of plates last week. They spoke to me. I wanted them. I didn’t want to sell them, I wanted them for me. Half the fun of the hunt is finding an unexpected treasure, the other half is figuring out exactly what you have. When you do this for a living you either develop “an eye for a buy” or you fail epically through bad choices.

Luckily for me, although I was raised by wolves, my mother was a wolf snob, which meant I absorbed museums and interesting places through my growing up years. It wasn’t hard to get me to go, I fell in love with old stuff early and keenly appreciated the quirky to boot.  All these years later I am grateful for the early grounding in lovely old things — and my insatiable curiousity.

I am a graduate of the Evergreen State College, with a heavy part of that degree being cultural ethnography. Anthropology of the modern eras is what that boils down to, which fits in exactly with who I am. Grads from that school know how to read and do research better than anyone else. Which is where the curiousity comes in to play. I am fascinated by what I find and do much more digging than the usual Etsy or Ebay seller. I can’t help it, I want to know what I have in my hands. Who made it? Why? Where?

I realize I would be far more wealthy if I shoveled stuff up on my Etsy sites and said “Vintage” whatever it is, but I have a need to know and the finding out is fascinating.  Let’s take my stack of plates discovered at a local thrift shop for $3.99 each as an example. There are salad plates and dinner plates and one saucer, I even found two two-handled soup bowls in a different section of the store that matched. By no means is this a complete set, but in this case I didn’t care–which is rare, it was dish love at first sight.

These are glorious. The flowers make me think of an English spring. Robust, blowsy-as in full blown roses, feminine, with wonderful color and detail. I flipped them over. Eureka! The price of $3.99 each for old used crazed plates suddenly made sense. The name on the back of the plates was Wedgwood and Co. I felt smug. I drove home, I unloaded the plates and sat down to do my research and find out what I had.

Well… I had Wedgwood, which is never spelled with an ‘e’, by the way. http://fineartamerica.com/featured/—-blue-portland-vase-wedgwood-.html  This link shows the usual run of Wedgwood, blue, green, or black with a relief on it, although Wedgwood also made plates, dishes, and the type of English fine china. It also shows a price tag of $750.00, so you can understand the frisson of pleasure I experienced at seeing that name on my dishes.

This is the more expected Wedgwood

I hit the internet and started hunting up maker’s marks. These are the most important clue if you can find them. Hmm…Wedgwood was founded in 1759 in Burslem, England by Josiah Wedgwood and he never used a unicorn mark. So now what? More digging and sifting turned up clues, the name Enoch Wedgwood and the location Tunstall, England, and then a red herring–Ralph Wedgwood.

The mysterious mark, this shot is big so it can be seen

Fascinating. It turns out that Ralph Wedgwood was a relation and a walking disaster who tried to cash in on Josiah (the big Wedgwood cheese) Wedgwood’s success. Ralph went into business with partners using the name Wedgwood and Co. in 1785. He was apparently so inept and caused so much breakage with his weird experiments and firing style that he was kicked to the curb in 1801 with a nice severance package of a thousand pounds. If you run into really old Wedgwood and Co. and it looks like a cheap knock-off it is probably a Ralph piece. End of Ralph. Moral of the Ralph story: Don’t pay a ton for a Wedgwood classic piece unless you can determine its the real deal and not a Ralph.

Chapter Deux: In Tunstall, England a distant cuz of the family of Josiah ‘Big Cheese’ Wedgewood, of Burslem, went into the family business himself in 1835. Enoch Wedgewood (1813-1879) was a potter who started out with the firm of Potter, Walker and Co., and by 1856 he was a partner in the new Potter, Walker and Wedgewood.The company rented the Swan Banks works and took over the Unicorn Works in Great Woodland Street. Although the company prospered, the partnership dissolved in 1859. Enoch’s brother Jabez joined him and they formed Wedgwood and Co. At one point the factory covered a full acre and employed 700 people. He apparently chose to keep the Unicorn mark because of his incorporation of the Unicorn Works in the business.

My plates say “Newport” and Made in England on the back. They also carry a Registered Trade Mark which I hope will help me date them more closely.

In 1965, the company was renamed Enoch Wedgwood and in a bizarre twist of fate in 1980 the Josiah Wedgwood Company took over Enoch’s company, naming it Unicorn Pottery Works. In this economy sadly even the great old English firm of Wegwood has fallen on tough times and its survival is by no means assured. The pottery towns where all this took place banded together and are now collectively known as Stoke-on-Trent, arguably the greatest area for china and potter makers ever in the world.

I am quite pleased with my journey down the Wedgwood rabbit hole. I learned a lot and I like knowing about Enoch, that he was married and had four children, two died in infancy which was common in those days, and the other two sons grew up to be potters and went into the family business.

Now I just have to figure out how old these are…and then find the cups and saucers and the rest of the soup bowls. The best part? These are smaller than modern dinner plates, perfect for our scaled down diet dinners.

They are now living in my kitchen cabinet which makes me happy.