Allies Among Us
The Party Continues

I got a voice message from Mesa Verde yesterday morning: “Vernon doesn’t want to go to Dialysis. He says he wants us to talk to you.”

I laughed out loud before calling back. This was the first time the care home has ever called because Vernon wanted to talk to me. (I got a call from the Speech Therapist at another place last October, but I could barely understand him then.)

Also, I loved the fact that he had decided he wouldn’t go to Dialysis. He remembers what it is, and he hates going everyday. It’s nice to see him trying to fight for his independence.

When I called back to speak with him, I was able to explain that my mom was waiting for him there, so he had to go. It didn’t take him long to agree and settle down. I promised to be there tomorrow.

The other big moment I had yesterday was when I looked at my passenger side rear-view mirror, which had been pushed toward the window and reflected the clouds above somehow. It was the most amazing day for clouds, by the way. All day they were showing off the way they do in the Bigger-Sky states.

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It’s hard to tell in this photo, but the words are there: OBJECTS IN MIRROR ARE CLOSER THAN THEY APPEAR. I first noticed this as I glanced right while driving. I immediately thought: “HEAVEN is closer than it appears, right? That’s got to be what it means!”  And I’ve been thinking it so ever since! Hey, I’m just reading the signs.

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(This is through though the sunroof at a light. It only got better through the day.)

Today, while visiting Vernon at Dialysis, when he wasn’t trying to “get up, just to get a better view” (in other words, “I’m not REALLY trying to escape…yet.”)

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he was obsessing over going home. It’s tough, I tell you. With his enriched awareness of being so dependent on professional medical care, he acts more and more like a wrongly-accused felon.  “I’ve done nothing wrong. Sure, I can walk and eat and drink. I am totally fine. What’s wrong with YOU?”

Here is an example:

 

 

I know better than to take these things personally. I know he loves me and it’s not like he has a say over much these days anyway. Honestly, I keep thinking: “Wow, Maki is the easiest kid in my life right now. Justine and Vernon are both into intellectual/emotional manipulation toward me at the moment. I can handle Vernon: my five year old is teaching me. If she’s not teaching me, she’s toughening me up. Vernon doesn’t stand a chance.

And thought that sounds mean, perhaps, I am also grateful. I’m thankful that Vernon is being so feisty, that he is trying to  climb out of his own pit at last.  He seems to be increasingly aware, able to follow directions, and even remember things from more recent past.

One blessing of going to Dialysis at this particular center is that it is just down the street from one of my favorite OC coffee-shops, Portola Coffee Lab.

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I’m glad I went in because this sign caught my attention on my way in.

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(I guess Baristas need to wake up too!)

This is the sign I saw on the way out…why wouldn’t I believe it?

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Well, that’s the kind of fortune cookie I’ll take, thank you very much.

Indeed, lately this does seem to ring true. Vernon is healing. And though I hate getting my hopes up too high anymore, it sure seems like its moving quickly.  And of course…despite everything, my hopes are escalating quickly as well. But I have no real goals. It would be great to get him on one less day of Dialysis, so he can get more mat time in, and eventually some physical and speech therapy again.  And I’d like to see him working on getting some more food and liquid down his throat.

As you may have read, Vernon has been discharged from all food and drink at the nursing home by the Speech Therapist, based on Vernon’s risk of asphyxiation.  So annoying. The Doctor knows that I would prefer him to try to eat for the cognitive value, even though I recognize the infection risks involved. But I recently realized that the Dialysis Center doesn’t get those same orders and have actually given him small cups of water when he has asked.

IN the hour and a half I sat with Vernon today, he drank down 8 little cups of water. He drank slowly, perfectly following my instructions, free to take sips as he wished.

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Oh the irony. I’m not allowed to give him “safer” thickened liquids where he lives because the kitchen has no order for him anymore. But I can give him water anywhere else. I don’t know if this is the safest thing to do with him, but heart won over the rules today. And he hardly coughed at all. When he did, he quickly pleaded: “that was a mistake!”

I think we left on good terms. He was no longer asking for me to take him home…or divorce him. He recognized the EMTs when they came to pick him up. (They are the BEST people, by the way…they always treat Vernon like a brother. Always.)

“You look tired,” he greeted the tall one.

“I am tired.”

The truth is, the kid did look tired. Vernon has always been intuitive about other people, but he lacks the filter now, I guess.  It’s not a bad thing.

He told the EMTs that he had been drinking cups of water and then asked me if I would go get some more cups so that they could partake as well. They made their excuses why not, but it was fun to watch Vernon making hospitable commands, as if he wanted to buy the lads a round of drinks, please.

Of the new things I noticed about him today, I’d say the flow of his connections and communications is more fluid than ever. He seems to be less jerky, even in his smile. Amazing Grace.

It was a hot, hot day, so I took the kids down the beach to cool off in the evening. We could hardly tolerate being inside.

The air was more thick than yesterday.  Heaven was more heavy.

And then it broke.

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“Clouds come floating into my life, no longer to carry rain or usher storm, but to add color to my suset sky.”

—RabindranathTagore

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Allies Among Us
The Party Continues