The Work of Childhood
A New Friend

We had a wonderful Easter afternoon with Vernon. I can’t think of a better way to have spent it, under the circumstances.

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My parents accompanied the kids and I to the Care Home, and we brought Vernon out to the courtyard for a light lunch in the sunshine.  It was one of those perfect spring days, sunny and slightly breezy, not too hot— another thing to give thanks for on this day.  I’m so happy that we are in a place that we can take Vernon outside to enjoy his company. Those walls inside the care home drive me crazy after awhile and I don’t even live there.

I asked Vernon recently if he knew where he lived. “In a box,” he replied.  I shared this story with a couple of other residents today and they cracked up laughing. “He’s a smart guy,” they said. “That’s exactly what it feels like sometimes!”

But back to Easter. Justine brought candy to share, but we quickly realized that many of the residents are diabetic so we left the goodies for the staff. We did manage to do an egg-hunt around the courtyard for Justine….Maki is too old for it this year, apparently. Well, not completely: he enjoyed hiding them and then helping his sister find them.

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Vernon’s speech therapist, Lisa, who has been worried about his swallowing ability, did ok the idea of feeding him egg salad. Vernon was eating some soft/chopped foods back in December, but his infections set back his progress in this area too.  He loved the egg salad my mom had made him, but I now wish I had tried giving it to him as a sandwich, as he insisted on feeding himself with the fork, and a lot of it fell off.  Still he managed to get the fork to his mouth every time. I know these are small details to record, but after so many months, it feels like we are watching a victory.

It would be so amazing to see him eat regularly again. Even the fact that he was showing interest in it is encouraging. He is down to 109 pounds (though most of that is due to muscle shrinkage) but his weight keeps dropping slowly.  Also, eating fork to mouth is a return back to independence and society. I may just bring egg salad with me every visit for awhile, just in case he wants it.

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My mom is so thoughtful to have brought Apples to Apples along. We played a long round, with Vernon just chilling out nearby, listening to our banter and laughter.  It was a brilliant idea because playing a game together took the pressure off watching Vernon, hoping for his interaction. We were able to enjoy each other while being WITH him. It’s much more like a normal setting at home, where we go in and out of attention on one another.  Vernon doesn’t have to be the center of it all. He was never comfortable with that for too long, even in the pre-accident days.

But he threw out his suggestions when asked, and most of them were right on.

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It was a GOOD day.  It felt a lot like things did when we celebrated Christmas as a family. A few less people this time, but still relaxing and fun. And most of all, Vernon seemed to enjoy it too, even if he mostly was just chilling out in his sun-chair, listening in. I am hopeful again that by this time next year he will be so much further along.

Happy Easter!

 

 

 

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The Work of Childhood
A New Friend