Sunday, August 16, 2009

Chris was a little down yesterday..but it was raining and grey. He did get moved by a window while I was there so hopefully that will cheer him up a little.

Sorry for the lull in reporting about his condition but I had been vacationing and to be honest I was a little nervous about having been away but Chris seemed forgiving.

I listened to him discuss his feelings of imprisonment and looked for clues about his current frame of mind. There were no signs of delusion or confusion..just an understandable longing to go home and be with his kids. His brief compilation of recent events was very touching and made it tough to try and maintain a brave front. There was a sadness in his eyes and all I could offer was a hug and some light hearted banter.

I asked him how the therapy was going and with a concentrated effort Chris raised his right arm for me. After getting him in a chair we took off and went exploring...we stopped at various spots and discussed the News of the day but truth be told he still doesn't seem to want to read anything.

Chris has a phone by his bed and I am conferring with his family about making his new phone number available. I told Chris that I was collecting numbers and that he should call people... but he seems overtly self conscious and hesitant. I tried to convince him that there were a lot of old friends who just want to say HI and chat for a few minutes.

Now the concern is that if everybody called at once or his phone rings off the hook for a few days it might totally overwhelm him... so ideally some sort of logistical procedure needs to be in least in the beginning..but I don't know how to organise that.

I'm inclined to just let the "Force" work that out.

Now he also has his laptop however operating it will take a little time. Obviously this will be a fantastic way for everyone to communicate with Chris and it will allow him to respond on his terms. He would feel a sense of accomplishment and some control over his environment which would be a huge boost.
Hopefully he will agree to work on rediscovering his cyber self but again I don't know whether we are supposed to wait for him to feel ready or just go-for-it and make it happen?

All of his sibs understand that hearing and seeing others would greatly lift his spirits and encourage him. We also know that he is quite concerned about how he presents himself and this seems to dampen his desire to meet & greet others.

You will soon make your own evaluations but as I reminded him, a few weeks ago we were happy to see his eyes open! I am betting that once he gets a few short calls under his belt and then a few brief visits, that he will realise that everyone just wants to be there for him. He doesn't need to worry about how he sounds or comes across.

Sometime this week I hope to be able to release his number and hopefully, somehow, Chris will not be overwhelmed and innundated with a flurry of calls.
Chris needs as much encouragement as possible to catch the next wave and keep on keepin' on.


Cazzie!!! said...

Thanks so much for the heads up Donn, you are an incredible friend to Chris..a brother in arms!
Chris, I have been thinking about you at times while I am at work. just worked three morning shifts in a row..that is damn hard! So busy and yet I loved it. I want you to know that as a nurse I try my best to make people feel comfortable and try to lighten their load a bit..make them laugh.
Laughter sure does help the soul...and I am sure Donn and your lovely family could all provide you with that :)
Heads day at a time is all it takes :)

Laurie said...

I hope that Chris will allow us to call him soon. I have to think that it will help in his recovery.

Please let him know I am thinking of him.

Cherrypie said...

He wouldn't have to worry about how he sounded to me. I'd talk the hind legs of a donkey. He wouldn't get a word in edgeways.

Go, Chris x

savannah said...

hugs&kisses for all y'all, sugar! i'll just keep sending positive thoughts up to north! ;~D xoxo

Stace said...

Thanks again for the updates, Donn... hopefully before too long Chris will be able to tell us about it himself... I'm missing that bloke. I might even give him a call if you decide to release his phone number - does he like Australian accents? :)

Dogmatic Pragmatist said...

Hi everyone - this is Chris' brother. I think Donn did a great job of framing the situation we are in. The family badly wants Chri to accept visitors but he seems reluctant. I have been speaking (well emailing) all my sibs about this and we all agree that NOW is the time for this to happen.

I don't know his number but I will get it and any of you that want to call him, should call him. I don't think it will be a bunch of calls one after the other but if it is, I am sure we can arrange or show Chris how to turn off the ringer if he needs a break.

Chris needs to re-connect with his "extended" family - all his friends on the web, in Winnipeg, at work or wherever they are. This is critical to the next steps of his journey to recovery. While he may get a little overwhelmed at first from all the attention, this attention is way better than the sterile isolation of a hospital ward he experiences now. I think other people will bring him out of his doldrums and when you see him, please tell him he looks "great" one - because he does and two, because it will put him at ease.

I know he is worried and embarassed about his plight and is nervous about seeing other people than the immediate family. But hell, I would be sick of seeing only me and my mom and sisters for thre months - Donn as the only non-family alternative is a great break for Chris I am sure. His kids are the best for him so I certainly except them from my last statement . My point: we need to give Chris a little push here.
To me it is like riding a bike. Nervousness and fear at first but once you get the wheels rolling, it's a blast! Once Chris starts to see all his friends or hear from them over the phone he will look forward to it.

I think it is "just what the doctor ordered" - forgive me for that - but it does encapsulate my thinking well. If you live in Winnipeg and want to go see or call Chris, I suggest you do.

I would also suggest the following:

1) Consider keeping your visit or call short at first - or at least play it by ear - if he appears to be enjoying the visit or the call, stay or talk longer but be aware he can get overwhelmed and use your judgment.

2) If you get there and there are already visitors in with Chris, perhaps wait a few minutes and then go in. Or if you are there for awhile and someone else comes to see him, let them have a few minutes with Chris take a break and then go back in or leave until the next time - again, play this all by ear and use your judgment or as Donn says let the "force" guide you. Who knows, a group of people could have a positive effect as Chris will get much positive stimulation from everyone so I am sure everyone will figure it out.

3) I suggest you call or visit in late afternoon or early evening after supper - to avoid physio therapy sessions he is in (mostly mornings I think) and so you see him when he is not too tired.

The objective is to ease Chris in if we can but I don't think it is practical to expect we can control the flow of people - not something we want to do either, we just want all to be aware Chris can get overwhelmed if too much happens too fast - I don't see any major problems.

Thanks for listening and for considering these "guidelines". Our family believes Chris' friends are critical to his recovery and for him to hear from others he can get back to a place in his life he will be happy with.

I am seeing Chris on Wednesday before I fly to Toronto on a business trip. I will tell him to expect your call or visit.

Thanks everyone.


anna said...

Totally normal for Chris to feel self-conscious and frustrated by his limitations. I just hope he reminds himself regularly of all the wonderful progress he's made.

Encouraging visits and phone calls seem to be exactly what he needs now. Isolation can be very bad - especially if he's already feeling crappy about himself. Has he been receiving and reading his emails?

eroswings said...

Well, I'm glad that he is making progress, being in a rehab center. That is such good news.

I would like to make a suggestion. Perhaps, instead of posting his number on the blog, how about sending it out in an email, that way, it's not out in public for all to see, but it'd be somewhat easier to control the flow of calls. We can send an email requesting his number. That way, we can still somewhat respect his privacy.

Is there any way to send a postcard or letter? or should we stick to email? Just let him know that we wish him well, and that we miss him and we are so glad that he's still with us.

Having lost both of my parents, I can say that his children (and family) are so blessed and lucky to still have him. WW still has a chance and time to be with the ones he loves, and he should know that many people love him and wish him the best.

Inside our hands, outside our hearts said...

I imagine he will feel ovewhelmed as all this feels that way to me and I am not iun his situation. Perhaps there is a way to do it by names or days that way he isn't getting the rush of people that all want to hear his voice.
I would love to jump on a plane today, but I am going to wait until he says it is alright, but I will continue to write and call if that is something he wants.

I continue to have no doubts that Chris ( looks at Chris hoping he is reading this) will return to us all in theme that he needs.

In the mean time...loving thoughts and prayers of health beautiful man.

Soft love,

angel said...

I love hearing how he's progressing! I miss his blog terribly, hearing about his outlook on life...

tuti said...

chris has come a long way to get here, and there is still ongoing progress. it can only get better.
(i've deleted my blogs, this is the present me.)

Laurie said...

I still can't get through to that email address...any progress on that, Donn?

In the meantime, please give my best wishes to Chris. Thanks.