Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Last night I watched the 2nd & 3rd periods of the hockey game with Chris. I moved the curtain divider because Chris had a new roomate who desperately wanted to watch the game..Chris smiled at him and we had some genuine old-timey male bonding.

Chris was quite enthralled and remembered quite a few of the players. I made a remark about the size of a player being interviewed by a certain very tall CBC sportscaster, and Chris knew and told me exactly how tall that guy actually is.

The fact that he could grab that file in his head was comforting.

Chris was quite talkative and was all smiles at first but he suddenly made some very emotional remarks about his current predicament...a lot of WHY's? were tossed about. I've been waiting for this sort of thing to surface and it seems to occur more often with his daytime visitors.

His Mom and three sisters all live here and they have been incredible, vigilant, advocates. Both of his brothers have been amazing too but they live out of town. Chris was asking about them last night.. the short term memory is a little fuzzier and he was a little confused about when they were there last.

I told him and mentioned how awesome his brothers have been and he smiled.
I said it's interesting that one of them is so zen, uber-calming and peaceful and Chris said "Yeah, Peaceful" ....and after a brief pause, I said that the other was more like Foghorn Leghorn large and in charge and Chris roared...
A real honest-to-god out-loud laugh.

A short time later the mood changed and Chris became visibly angry...
I read in the journal that Chris had had a rough day. It's hard to watch him struggle to comprehend the situation and he is frustrated with his speech but he needs to let it out.

I was trying to sound encouraging. I told him that we all believe that he will be able to get up and go home. Chris grabbed my arm and asked "Why me and not you?" and for whatever reason I blurted out that my gene pool specializes in sudden heart attacks...we both laughed out loud.

I also tried to settle him down with a few songs on the discman/headphones that have been stuck in my head since this whole terrible thing started. Now I have forced Chris to listen to hundreds of songs over the past 30 years. Chris especially loves to hear an acoustic guitar at the forefront of a song (he plays his own) and he really liked these songs by Colin Hay ( Men At Work) the first time that I played them for him.

Lately I've been listening to them over an over..
the first one is called Beautiful World here...
and the other is Waiting For My Real Life To Begin

It may be overly optimistic to hope that Chris can zip through this anger phase.
As painful as it is to witness it is also a sign that my old friend isn't just laying there in a cloudy haze helplessly waiting for another setback...he is working through the realisation of his predicament.

This IS happening.

I tried to assure him that "THIS" is not where he will end up..

there is a long road ahead and there will be emotional outbursts from everybody.


mistipurple said...

i always wonder a lot of 'why him', 'why her', why me. but we'll never know. we just need to travel this road, how unfair it seems to many. we can travel with good friends. and we are going to help chris, whatever way far and near. we are in this together.

everyone around chris must take care of their health too. that cannot be emphasised enough. you hear me, donn!! lol.

anna said...

The why's were bound to surface and it's a positive sign that they have. As you mentioned, they're an indication of his brain function - a positive indication. The why doesn't matter. He will focus on getting better - one step and one day at a time. And he WILL get better. I have no doubt about that.

The anger and frustration are normal. There may even be signs of depression. Also very normal with stroke patients. But that anger and sadness and frustration will lift as he continues to make progress.

Hang in there, Chris. Have faith in yourself. And Donn, you hang in there too... have faith in your friend.

zIggI said...

anger's good, just needs channeling and he can use it to overcome many an obstacle. On the whole, good news indeed.

MJ said...

I tried to assure him that "THIS" is not where he will end up..

This would be good for him to hear each time you see him as positive reinforcement.

I would be mad as hell too if I were in his hospital gown.

Knowing you and his family are along on his emotional roller coaster ride to calm him and cheer him along when it’s needed, will help see him through.

angel said...

Yay Chris!!!
It genuinely sounds like he's moving forward Donn.

Donn, I want to ask how Chris' dad is doing?

Laurie said...

I'm glad to hear that he is able to grab the files in his head, as you said. That seems a very encouraging sign.

I am not surprised that he is mad, I think most people would be.

I was wondering about his dad as well...can you give us any information on that situation?

Thanks for all you are doing Donn...hugs to you and the family and Chris, of course.

Inside our hands, outside our hearts said...

His anger is encouraging. Feeling great emotions shows he is alive in there and fighting everything that put him down. It shows his strength and courage.

I wish I knew what to say, I know what I can and what I shouldn't, so I leave it at that.

Chris you are a strong beautiful man. There is NOTHING that can keep you away from where you belong if you want it enough and well I know you want to be home with your family. They, like us, believe in you. Always have.

Sending my love and prayers.

Soft love,

Sienna said...

Emotions and moods ride this rollercoaster, as the others have said. As you have said Donn, the thing is the rollercoaster is not stationary, THIS is not the place he will end up..
Your are spot on with music therapy too, the first words our girl was able to form, to get out was singing Kenny Rogers The Gambler....that was her favorite karoake song, we used to get her to sing it, play it and sing again and again, (she used to forget we had just played it a few hrs ago)....heh! it was speech therapy in a way. You are brilliant to tap into this, get him singing...its wonderful speech therapy.

The moods will pass, we used to see and cop the gamut...tantrums, frustration, anger, questions, laughter, tears, confusion....remember this too will pass. His brain has been through so much...but it rewires, reconnects, they are seriously incredible things.
Chris sounds to be doing so well, AND you are a bloody fine beacon of light!!! Is one hell of a journey.

Cazzie!!! said...

Anger is normal, especialy if Chris is tired. Trying to get out what you know you want to say is frustrating too, and I am guessing you knew that already.
Baby steps, slow stimulus, not too much... the brain takes time to heal.

mistipurple said...

one thing i wanted to add. i have seen my friend after she has brain operation. it took a couple of weeks before she sounded 'normal', eg. she was totally innocent in her speech, more like a child. i was worried initially but i was told this is normal. true enough, she was back to herself after weeks.
just to say that after a big trauma, the body needs time to heal. be encouraged. chris will be better as the days goes.

eroswings said...

It's sounds like progress. And he is still here, working his way to a better place. You are a good friend, Donn, to be by WW in this most trying time.

Perhaps the anger is part of the grief process. But I think that anger is good. It means he's got fire inside of him; that'll keep him strong and give him the energy to bust through walls.

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