TBI, Home Again, Home Again, Jiggety Jig

Thie piece actually comes before the recently posted painful rant. It was really hard for Terry to read that, he has no memory of that time and there was some pretty raw pain in the last entry. Thank God, we are down the road far enough to look back and marvel at how we got here. My hope is that other TBI families will realize that nothing stays the same, its a case of tying a knot in your rope and hanging on…

October 16th, Home again
We got Terry home from the rehab center yesterday, 32 days after the Deer Incident. It is amazing how far he’s come and how far he still has to go. Thank you Darrell Alston, for being such a friend and helping drag all the contents of his room at the rehab center room home–how did we acquire that much crap in such a short time? It wasn’t all stuff we exactly 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, an industrial-sized box of rubber gloves, assorted band aids, ointments, powders, and a pink dish pan.

 My favorite acquisition is the industrially labeled hospital bath powder in monster-sized containers. So help me, it is called, “Fordustin.” Is that not original? I have to dig out the shampoo and see what it’s called, “Forhairin” maybe? or “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.

This is what I made and posted in the bedroom, in the kitchen, on the bathroom mirror, to help Terry remember who he was and where he was.

We have our friend Brian’s foam mattress too–thanks; it saved us all from sleeping on the hospital cot that had 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 to the house. He has viewed them several times and each time they are new to him.

I had ten prescriptions to fill for him 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, its 11:30 and he’s had breakfast and he’s back asleep. I hope the pattern continues with 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 gone, he has about a five minute span before it resets. The first thing that goes with that impairment is impulse control and the ability to weigh things that might be dangerous–and not do them.

The most excitement 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 plaster covered paws from the shower renovation.

Terry was downright cranky and extremely 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 boiling 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 so short, this is discouraging but it is getting better by inches.

We moved the television from the wall behind Terry and rearranged the entire room in an effort to make things more quiet. We could never be quiet enough for him though, he completely lost the concept of sharing personal space.

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 a look like I’m an idiot and answer of somewhere between the kitchen and dining room depending on where he is physically located. Last night he was tired and crabby and about half asleep from 5 pm on. He demanded we turn the TV OFF. 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’s and mine and 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 just now figuring how all this fits together—a new wireless connection in the living room means I can work 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 I am having a perfectly lucid conversation with him, until I’m not, and he won’t remember what we said in five minutes.

Nellie was allowed on the bed for the first time ever, in the history of the world. It was the truest indication that he was not Terry anymore.

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. Dog, 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.

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