In some ways, Vernon was the best I’d seen him in a couple of weeks. He seemed more keen to chat, his eyes more even and his voice clearer. My friend Sandy had sat with him yesterday and reported that they’d had a very bight and pleasant time together…for one hour. Then, for some reason, his personality flipped into anger at his discomfort, and the technicians had to take him off the machine twenty minutes early. At the moment, it seems, there is a dark side to his shows of improved clarity. He can become angry and mean on a dime. Still, I suppose I’d rather that with the moments of sweet connection than the Doldrums, when he shows little personality at all.
But he was clear when I went to see him today. He’d been out in the ER much of the night, having his g-tube replaced of course. Joe said Vernon was feisty and annoyed after he returned, which got them arguing with each other so loudly that the night nurses eventually had to close their door so the rest of the hall could keep sleeping. This morning, though, Joe had convinced a new nurse who didn’t know better to let him take Vernon outside in the sun for awhile. He’d been trying to keep him up long enough so that he’d get tired naturally and sleep better tonight. When I got there at 1:30, he’d had enough and was already back in bed. I took the opportunity to get the PEMF mat underneath him for a half hour.
He told me he remembered Sandy’s being there the day before, that he remembered Joe raising his voice, and that the nurses at the hospitals had helped him. Those sounded like highlights from a whole day— not a bad memory span for Vernon. I told him about some legal issues that are bothering me, and asked for his opinion. He always makes a sort of sense if he tries to answer from the heart. All the while, he rubbed my upper arm and shoulder with his good left hand. For the first time, it felt like a touch from the old vernon, something once so normal for him. It was remarkably comforting.
But when I accidentally touched his foot later, he lashed out at me, swearing at me for the pain I caused him. It was off and on like that, much like Sandy’s day yesterday. Nothing new here really, but that when his brightness shines brighter, his bad moods can be meaner, and it can change so quickly—the pendulum swings wider. It seems that this is mostly triggered when he either feels out of control about something, has to wait to long to have a need met, or if he feels that someone is looking down on him, patronizing him. It doesn’t take much for him to read someone’s tone of voice. I’m learning to be more careful of when and how I laugh, for example.
The Logies came today—at least some of them. I hadn’t seen them for awhile, as they’d been caught up in their own hospital journey with their son, Hudson. They have recently, however, gone to visit Mesa Verde on their own a couple of times—they said they missed him. What wonderful friends he has! It was great to bask in their gifts of music as well as the May Day sunshine. Another couple, Ethel and Jim, wheeled up nearby to enjoy the goodness too. I’d never seen them before, but was told that Ethel had a stroke about a month ago and has been here since she was released from the hospital. I knew she didn’t feel like her old self, but she seemed to be doing great. It’s encouraging to see people there that won’t stay forever. They’ve been married 30 years and have no children. I told them I thought it was a pretty good nursing home because the patients move around and interact. “It has spirit,” Ethel said.
The Logies are messengers of Love. Can’t help but smile to this song. And Vernon couldn’t help singing…
“Homeward bound, I was I was homeward bound.” Vernon sings out the desire of his heart. Even though it shows in extremes at the moment, I am so thankful that he can express himself. I think he means this one…