I’d hoped to be there for another of Vernon’s gym sessions today, but the time got backed up till afternoon since there was a queue for the bike. I’d already talked him into working out, which he was afraid would hurt his poor leg more, but the RNA (a different one today) told me that if he yelled too much, she couldn’t take him. So I kept talking to him about his attitude, and trying to convince him to do this for me, if no one else. “Being nice to these people is the only way you are ever going to get out of here,” I told him. “Only then will they give you the exercise and attention you need if you are going to walk—or get yourself around at all. If you want independence, you have to be nice to them and you have to challenge yourself.” Of course, he then felt terribly remorseful for yelling and swearing. But I doubt he remembered my words an hour after I had to leave and he was due at the gym.
Something did happen today that I hadn’t noticed before…I see it as a glimmer of increased awareness, but it may make things potentially harder for a bit if continues. When he was cleaned up and his trousers were changed, he was absolutely incensed! He looked at all of us in disbelief, and tried to cover himself as his diaper was removed. Now, he’s been in his condition for almost two years, dealing with this every single day, but today it was like the first time. He looked mortified, turning away from us all. This happened twice when I was there. And he was just as shocked and offended each time.
I recently met someone who’s father had had early-onset Alzheimer’s. He said that once the family got used to it, the hardest parts were when his dad would have a time of clarity. Then he would freak out, wondering why everyone was treating him with such strange and strained attention.
I wouldn’t have shared that detail if I didn’t think it was significant. Something different was happening in his brain today. In disgust, as the CNA helped redress him, he spat out: “What a cripple!” I admit, my breath caught in my chest at the word. “Who are you calling a cripple, Vernon?”
“ME!” he groaned.
It’s a strong word I haven’t heard in years, certainly not since the accident, and it came out of Vernon’s own mouth. Is this a moment of acceptance? How many does he need to have for it to settle into his memory?
He does remember painting though…and he was in the mood for it, thankfully. Here are the two he made today. (9″x6″ each) He definitely had improved his focus from the last time he painted, a couple weeks ago. He was also more interested in choosing the paint himself, once he got started—and squeezing it onto the palate by himself as well.
And a little video. I could watch him paint all day.