I don’t know how quickly the new drugs are meant to work or if they will do the trick for Vernon’s mood swings, but yesterday, he already seemed more relaxed (though his eyes and conversation were alert.) He wasn’t twisting as much as usual, for one thing, and he didn’t dip into anger while I was with him at dialysis.
It happened to be a cold, grey morning for May, and maybe that’s where he got the idea that he was still in England. He kept talking about going to America…and would I come with him?
“I’ll take you to America with me. If we do it, it will go excellently. It will go very well. It will go according to plan. I just don’t feel very well right now so maybe we should put it off for a few days.”
When I asked him why he wanted to leave England, he said: “Because it’s cold and the people here have been horrible to me.” (I assume he means the medical staff…although this could be a
This is severe traumatic brain injury, almost two years in, not much changed in this area for a long time. He has a hard time getting original thoughts, but his mind tries to make sense of things when he gets an idea.
Really, the only thing he cares about is his family. I have been able to sway his dark attitude at times by asking him who he loves. It’s always the kids and me. Always.
I showed him a photo of Justine and a video of her newfound hula-hooping skills. “She really does make my heart melt,” he said, staring. “When she grows up, she’ll have so much to tell me: her friends, her fancies.”
I showed him a picture of Maki. Interestingly, Vernon does always remember that he plays the guitar now. “I’m so proud of him, you know. He’s so good on that guitar. I don’t see him very much. How can we change that? I want to make more time for him.” Then he added: “He is special because he has a guitar.”
So he gets his thoughts mixed up still. Big deal. The truth of his heart still comes out loud and clear: he loves his family and he wants to be a good father. Vernon has ALWAYS wanted to be a good father, at least since becoming one over 14 years ago. I wasn’t there for the early years, but it was clear as soon as I met him that Maki was his number one. So I shouldn’t be surprised that even after his injuries, the main thing he still wants to be is a father—a good one, if possible.
I encourage you to take a moment to prioritize your thoughts, if you can. If you could do only one thing well, play one important role, what would it be? We have so much buzz around us, so many responsibilities and so many options that the path can get buried. But if you were at a point where only one thing mattered, what would it be? That’s probably what you should be investing in most. Note to self here…I’ll be thinking about this too. If Vernon can get to the core of his heart with all his disability and extremely dire circumstances, even away from home, I should think the rest of us can too. Take heart and run with it!
Photo taken June, 2013
“The heart of a father is the masterpiece of nature.”