I’ve been reading some books during the night while sitting by Jackie. This is atypical for me as I always have to be moving. Sitting and reading a book has never kept my mind where it needed to be. Things have changed. I guess when you truly find something you enjoy reading it will keep your attention. Jim downloaded the Kindle app on our iPad and we have added many books to the library, most TBI related and others about service dogs. In one of those books there was a reference to PTSD (post traumatic stress disorder) and it seemed to perfectly describe TBI as well. It equates it to a snow globe. Everything gets shaken up and every facet of your life and physical being is floating in the air and out of your reach. With hard work the pieces will come down, and recovery will occur, but the pieces will never fall exactly where they were. It is not better or worse, it is just different. Wishing for the ‘old ‘ you or loved one is the worst thing you can do. Accepting and embracing the new ‘you’ or loved one is truly a blessing.
Jackie’s day started with a visit from Dr. K and team. We were excited to share Jackie’s progress over the weekend with him. The morning then flowed into its normal rhythm of getting dressed and ingestion of morning meds. Then it was off to speech with Becca. When the two returned to the room Becca said it was a beast session. We told her she had to come up with another term since Erin has already claimed that for her PT sessions with Jackie. Becca then quickly came up with rock star and that fit. Jackie was very attentive and focused in her session. He used all verbal responses and never had to revert to a thumbs up or down. She decided to have Jackie try some of the oatmeal I used to make for him in the mornings. When I dropped it off at her office I knocked on the door, opened it and Jackie immediately turned his head to see me and said, “Hi Mom.” I know many of you hear these words all the time, but for me it was like I heard them for the first time. Jackie is starting to come out of the fog again. PTL
Immediately after speech Jackie had a follow up eye exam. His prescription glasses came in and they seem to be working much better than the temporary pair he was using. The doc confirmed that the prisms are forcing Jackie’s brain to recognize the left eye. It is not an overnight fix. It will take a while and many different lens updates until we ultimately know the extent of Jackie’s vision loss. We plan to follow up with the doc in a couple weeks.
We took Jackie to the common area for his independent time, but he was there only a few minutes before Mark came to pick him up for PT, Erin will be back tomorrow. Jackie had a good session mixed with stretching and a little bit of walking. Even with the weekend stretching, Mark mentioned that Jackie’s muscles were tight. As Mark was wheeling Jackie out of the gym and through the fourth floor lobby he ran into Jim and I sitting with another couple. We had a surprise visit from two very dear friends of the family. Gary was the preacher at my mom and dad’s church for a long time before he ironically moved to lead a church in Bloomsburg, the same town of Jackie’s university. He was a spiritual rock for us during the many touch and go days at Geisinger hospital and has continued to visit Jackie at Jefferson and Magee. It was wonderful to see both of them!
Nana arrived shortly after and so did Visa, the service dog from Jefferson. Jim and I took Jackie back to his room and let him visit with Visa and her human mom Jane. Jackie enjoys petting her, it relaxes him and makes him smile. Two huge things when it comes to therapy. After the visit we spent some more time with our visitors and then Jackie rested for a bit before OT.
He then took an early shower but returned to his chair for a mashed potato and gravy snack. We watched a little TV and then helped Jackie get in bed for the night.
We continue to take things one day at a time, celebrating the fact that at each mile marker of Jackie’s marathon, more and more pieces are starting to fall into their new place. PTL
“And once the storm is over, you won’t remember how you made it through, how you managed to survive. You won’t even be sure, whether the storm is really over. But one thing is certain. When you come out of the storm, you won’t be the same person who walked in. That’s what this storm’s all about.”
― Haruki Murakami