It was an interesting day. It feels like things are shifting all around us, although we are still in the same little nursing home room in Newport.
Lois came up again, this time with Nancy, a family friend and Physical Therapist, who hoped to get her own general assessment of Vernon’s current physical state. She had visited Mission Hospital about three months ago, doing the same. Since she isn’t hired by either hospital, there is only so much she can do. But I’ll tell you this lady is force of nature. She got the number for Vernon’s current PT and asked the Nursing Director for a better schedule “to give him a chance.” It’s great to have another pair of specialist-eyes on his team.
Our dear friend Nicole came down from LA to hang out and visit. It wasn’t her first time, but each time, she can see more improvement. He remembered her well as she and her husband are close friends of both of us. He forgot names but he was able to describe some memories. He did the same with my Aunt Sue who was in town, doing her thing as an event speaker. (She also keeps an active blog…check it out here.)
Thanks, Aunt Sue, for taking me to a great lunch…and thank you, Nicole for staying with Vernon after he expressed his disappointment at not being invited. You can see he felt pretty chuffed to be hanging out with Aunt Sue while she was there.
But for me, the Vernon highlight of the day happened earlier on, before all the company and activity. I was so pleased to see that after down-grading his sedatives, he was pretty alert again today…probably the most alert I’d seen him for a week. I started talking about the accident, as I do every other day or so (mainly to check his reaction, to see if he is ready to accept it yet.) He usually gets angry at me. He gets frustrated because he can’t understand why he wouldn’t remember something so major. We argue a little about it and then I let it go. But today, for some reason, he took it in. I could see his eyes widening as he listened. I had him touch the scar on his chin, which he was at first convinced had been there before. I showed him the scar down his forearm and he seemed to understand a little more. After that, he wouldn’t let me show him any more scars, but he listened closely as I told him about the accident.
He said: “I’ll only believe it if I have photographic proof.” (We’ve been through this before. Jen even wrote a post about it a month ago.)
So I showed him a couple of early pictures posted on this very website, and he seemed quite humbled by them. I don’t know how much he could see as I only had my little phone screen with me. I also let him know that the photos posted here were the most flattering ones I had…I hadn’t posted any of him looking as terrible as he did the first few days. I don’t even know what happened to my pictures from the first night…maybe the police have them in the accident report that should FINALLY be released to us tomorrow. (Don’t ask!)
I walked him through his broken bones, and I told him how I’d been told that if his skin had broken through skidding on the ground, he would have surely died, how one more organ breaking down would have been too much. I told him how he hadn’t been breathing, but the paramedics had saved him by providing oxygen in the ambulance. I told him how the kids and I had all gone to the door when the cop rang the bell to tell us the news. I told him there were 5 hours of surgery that first night and we didn’t know if he would make it. For the first time, he let me keep talking.
Then I read an early SansOxygen post to him, something about another surgery I had already forgotten about. He quietly listened, and then I asked if I should read the comments. There were 25 on that one…and he was amazed. He wanted me to read each and every one to him, even if he didn’t recognize the names of the people leaving them. He could only handle hearing one post: this was quite a lot to take in. I imagine the shifting past DENIAL is a tiring thing. Its a big wall to break through.
I asked him if it was scary to realize all this had happened and to not remember it. Still wide-eyed in a kind of surreal awe, he agreed it was. “But,” I added. “You’ll go through the rest of your life with an amazing story! Not everyone can say they should have died, but didn’t.”
He agreed he would have an amazing story, but then he added that perhaps he didn’t want to be the guy with the amazing story as people might try to avoid him, saying: “There is that guy with the amazing story. Let’s not bother talking to him. Don’t want to hear that again.” Or something to that effect. He said it better, of course. You can hear a little of it below. Classic Vernon.