I find it interesting that whenever I stop to ‘work through’ some personal stuff and do it as honestly as I can, the next day will most likely be better. I saw some great breakthroughs today with Vernon (and Joe too) but they would just as likely have happened if I hadn’t taken on my anxiety yesterday. It still might have been a good day, but I wouldn’t have been as free to enjoy it as I did. My heart can only hold so much energy, and with the release of the most current negative thoughts and emotions (even temporarily) I had more room in my heart to experience that joy more fully. And oh, I did!
I’d asked for the doctor’s permission to take Vernon out again today, but I drove up alone, so I wasn’t sure if they’d let me take him out without another person to help me. When I got to his room, he was working with Lisa, the Speech Therapist. Apparently she had assessed him yesterday and had asked to meet with him three times a week (half hour session each.) We’d worked with Lisa last year, but due to Vernon’s condition, she didn’t get far. Then we had all those disappointing months without the benefit. And now, I guess he’s back in the therapy game, a little at a time.
Joe was in the room too, encouraging Vernon and keeping him calm. Lisa had given him a list of word and sound exercises that he could guide Vernon through on their ‘free time.’ She seemed grateful to have Joe there (aren’t we all?), and she was obviously happy that Vernon was responding so well. He’d tasted vanilla pudding (didn’t like it) and had done some singing exercises that they repeated for me here:
He didn’t want to stop! I think he was hungry to work. Now…for Physical Therapy to get on board with him!
After this, I decided to try to take him out for a drive on my own. Once we got him transferred into the passenger seat of the van, I turned on some tunes, rolled the windows down, and slowly started down the street. I expected to maybe go around the block once or twice and then return, but once we headed west, we kept going until we reached Pacific Coast Highway. We sang out loud to the music (well, I did) and enjoyed simply cruising up the coast. We drove the few miles up to Huntington beach, during which time he said he was comfortable. When he’d had enough, he asked me to return to the care home. In the end, we we drove about 10 miles over 45 minutes (must have been the little one-way streets of Balboa that caught me up.) He was definitely more relaxed this time than the last two outings. We talked about the idea of his eventually tolerating more time in the car and that perhaps eventually I could drive him home. He liked that idea.
Joe greeted us on our return and chatted with us for the long while it took to get someone to transfer Vernon back to a wheel chair. Joe had good news of his own: while we’d been gone, he had stood up in the gym by pulling himself up with his upper body. Everyone was shocked how tall he actually was! As far as I know, this is the first time he’s stood up in years. I didn’t even think it was something they would bother to try. So he was quite pleased with himself, as he should be.
This is the song that comes to mind when I think of my date with Vernon earlier. It was a beautiful day…our first time alone together, free of any facility since this ordeal began.