I was kind of nervous about how I’d find Vernon this morning, as he was so sluggish the past few days. But he seemed much more alert, ready to chat about dreams and music and also do some leg exercises. I had told the nurses I wanted them to cut back on the dose of drug that they had doubled the other day, and thankfully, he was more himself again.
However, when I went to meet with the Dialysis Center social worker, I was told that they needed him to be less agitated during his sessions there. They began to ask if they could have the drug given to him before dialysis instead of in the nighttime at the Care Home. If he doesn’t calm down, they told me, I’d need to have a friend of family member to keep company/keep watch over him when he goes there every other afternoon. Its becoming so complicated, everyone wants him at his most manageable, but I know one thing in my gut…he cannot be drugged very much. Or if he is, it must be at the right time. It is illegal for them to physically restrain him in these settings, so these injections are a sort of chemical tether. He is acting like a surly teenager lately, annoyed and agrivated, but as far as I can see, he is not aggressive or dangerous. I guess we all have our own limits of what we are comfortable being around. I’m (not so) secretly thrilled that he is starting to lash out a little. It means there is a fire in there…but then again, I love him. I can’t expect all these medical professionals to feel the same.
After my meeting at the Dialysis Center, I decided to drive up to Downey, another 40 minutes or so northeast….to what has been referred to as the Holy Grail of Brain Rehabilitation: Rancho Los Amigos. Actually, I only heard one person call it that (and that was on a quick visit to another recovery home yesterday on my scavenger-hunt for information) but the mystical phrase alone hit my heart in a way that I thought: “Yes THAT is where my husband needs to go!” I’d read about the hospital before, and I remembered it being a big name when we were dealing with Vernon’s neurosurgery. It is also the place that developed the Rancho Scale of Cognitive Recovery which I have mentioned several times on this very blog.
The place is huge…and really old (in a cool early-California way, not in a dated we-haven’t-needed-to-improve-since the 70s-because-our-patients-are-too-old-to-care-anyway way.)
I had felt last week that we were city kids who were placed in the town, dealing with provincial rules and attitudes that didn’t make sense with our progressive eperience so far, and now I just wanted to get back to the city. Well, this felt like a city. They had all kinds of patients. Wheelchairs and canes filled the hallways. I met this fellow sunning himself on a gurney in the parkinglot. He had a spinal injury and this was one of his first days out of bed in a month. He said the therapy was very aggressive there (in a good way) and that he’d read it was in the top 15 Rehab Hospitals in the country, and definitely the top in Southern California. My heart leapt to my throat. Could I dare hope Vernon could get something like this?
I went to the admission office. As I hadn’t made an appointment, I didn’t get a tour, but I met a lovely young woman who answered my questions and gave me some guidance. She gave me a number to call to request a therapist to come down to assess vernon at his current facility. And we will go from there. One kind of funny thing is that this woman seemed to remember Vernon Adams’ name. She couldn’t find it in the files, but perhaps she had read the blog at some point? Wouldn’t it be funny if Vernon’s name had proceeded him?
I don’t want to get my hopes up. But I do want something like this. Something major. Something different. People who are willing to push Vernon into the next stages of his recovery.
I talked to Lois a few times today as well. One thing she mentioned is that she thought the best place for Vernon would be at home with us. Obviously we are not equipped for this: among other things, we are looking for a new (wheelchair-assessable) home to move into by February, and I haven’t even looked into what that would mean as far as personal-nursing and therapy. But I am starting to be less afraid of the idea as I know at least we will be able to try a variety of alternative therapies and it is a place where LOVE abounds. And I know that is the healing tonic that can flow and reach between the layers where other medicines cannot.
No, I’m not ready for that. But my perspective is shifting quite rapidly. I can being to see him coming home to us. Not yet, but I am ready to prepare myself and the kids for that. I also am ready to send him to “boarding school” if that is what it takes. Rancho Los Amigos is far away, too far for me to visit as regularly as I’ve been able to. But at this point, I would rather him away with people who can understand him, who can be progressive and aggressive in their coaching him to recovery. I haven’t even taken the tour, but I’ve decided its what I want for him.
I pray that this is a Divine Desire…that its not another disappointment, but really a nudge toward the most excellent path.
‘ Whether you turn to the right or to the left, your ears will hear a voice behind you, saying, ‘This is the way; walk in it.’ Isaiah 30:21
I did mention they have an on-site thrift shop, right? That has got to be incentive enough. 🙂