‘Whoever gives the least of these a cup of cold water in my name, he will not lose his reward.” —Matthew 10:42
One thing that shows us that Vernon’s boat has u-turned back toward health is his fixation with things that come up in conversation. He was like this before Christmas, and finally nine months later, we are recognizing this element of his personality again. He is extremely suggestible: once he latches on to an idea in his head (maybe something he imagines or something he picks up on from the conversations around him) he holds on to it like a rope, returning to the thought again and again to get his bearings.
My dad, who sat with him for Dialysis on Saturday, mentioned how he kept bringing up the idea of “going home,” annoyed with his wife for not sorting out the details to get him there, and going so far as to ask if Dad had any handiwork around the house that Vernon could do. Making oneself indispensable is a always a good tactic. Of course when my dad asked how they would get there, Vernon said he’d walk if he had to and tried to get out of the chair.
It’s funny, but sad. British humour at its best.
The other day in random conversation, Mike mentioned ice cream and pizza being his favorite foods as a teenager and how he couldn’t eat like that anymore. Vernon’s eyes opened wide and he said: “Wow, ice cream—that sounds GREAT.” I could see Joe in the doorway, parked in his jumbo motorized chair, shaking his head as if to say…“no, don’t get him started on foods he likes, I have to live with him all day and night.”
Sure enough, Vernon brought up ice cream through the next hour. Could I get him some ice cream? Who else could get ice cream? He’d really like some ice cream soon. I’d change the subject, and it found its way back in. My favorite was when he suspiciously pointed at Lee, chain smoking on the corner of the patio as usual, and said: “What’s that guy doing over there? Is he eating ice cream?” No, its fine, Vernon…its just his cigarette.
But its when he asks for water that is the hardest to handle. What human shouldn’t have the right to a drink of water if they can get it. Isn’t it the simplest thing…a drink? But the truth is, even though we were giving him thickened liquids this summer, the speech therapist has decided to discharge him from any drinks whatsoever. The doctor is looking into this and I’ll stay on the case, but the reasoning I was given is that he is too vulnerable to take infection risks with, and because his PT, OT, and ST benefits ran out without much improvement when they did work with him, its not financially valid for Insurance to give him more hours now. (Oh, the irony that he was jacked up on Ativan the whole time and we never realized it was a problem.)
I’d given him some natural medicine the other day and he didn’t like the taste of it. We often use sugar packets to help disguise the taste, but I didn’t have them with me. He really just wanted water, of course. Imagine the ice cream story all over again but this time substituting water. He asked nurses. He asked techs. He got mad at me for not calling the doctor to get him some. But the best was when I tried to distract him by playing a song on my phone.
“Do you like this song, Vernon?” I asked.
“Yeah. I could really drink some water to this song.”
Again, if it weren’t so sad, it would be funny. I do giggle over these antidotes. I imagine he is surely more frustrated than I understand. It must feel like a bad dream…asking for the most normal things over and over to people who won’t deliver.
Now, there is one thing he seems to like that I can bring him—the PEMF mat. He’s been using it for almost a month now and he really enjoys it. He can clearly sit still much longer and seems more relaxed and comfortable. He is being detoxed and energized at once by the extra oxygen pulsed to his cells. And its non invasive. But it is expensive. I do think its a good investment, especially if we can also use it to help others in the home (like Joe!) and Vernon can use it more regularly (every time I visit, at least.) At this point, there has been nothing that has come along that is both practical and helpful that he actually looks forward to. So of course I’m going to buy this for him. I can’t get him a drink of water or bring him home, but I can figure out how to get him a mat. Next best thing, hopefully.
I will most likely do a GoFundMe page in the next couple of weeks. So many of my readers have already donated a lot to our family and I don’t like to keep asking the same people for money. This may not be the last time I need to raise funds for Vernon’s recovery, but its the first time I have a specific purchase in mind. What I would like from you is for you to share the link online, once we get it up and running. I’m hoping to raise wider awareness as well as funds. Maybe there are people out there who would benefit from this information in their own recovery process. There is surprisingly little information online about PEMF therapy and severe Traumatic Brain Injury…although it seems to be good for speeding the recovery process of all sorts of issues.
I’m sure I’ll be talking about it more in the coming weeks, but here is a video I found that gives a little idea.
If any locals are interested in experiencing PEMF mats for yourselves, Dr. Luchich or Mike Garrett can give you a free introductory session at Wave Balance Wellness Center in Dana Point. Call (949) 240-6422 for an appointment. If nothing else, you’ll understand better what I’m talking about.