As I watched Vernon work on a simple jigsaw puzzle today, I thought about how nice it would be if there were carved guides on the tables before us (or even picture boxes) as we attempt to piece together the bigger puzzles in our lives. Vernon’s had indented guides on the cardboard frame, but he wasn’t seeing them. He just felt the edges, kept turning them around and around until they fit. It was only a picture of the numbers 0-9, with only a handful of pieces, but he had to struggle his way through it, not understanding what the final image would be.
I thought about our situation, how so many of the edge pieces have fallen into place over the past months, hemming in the bigger picture. The frame is there. But sometimes all I can see is the huge pile of mismatched shapes, the forest instead of the trees. I can’t feel the invisible guides and there is no picture—not even a box. But that doesn’t mean the picture doesn’t exist. Its emerging with every piece that fits into another.
Today, “the Three Muses” paid a Visit to Vernon. Here they are putting together another cardboard puzzle. Sometimes, we need a little help to solve these things. Fresh eyes, extra hands.
All three of these ladies are special friends of my mother (and therefore, me.) Nancy is a Physical Therapist who has been occasionally looking in on Vernon’s progress and offering knowledgable suggestions to me for several months. Lois, I have mentioned before, is like an aunt to me and is also a nurse who has been helping me make sense of the care Vernon is/is not getting from a medical perspective. And Marcia, such a dear lady, has provided her unique support all along the way. Vernon was treated to their company all at once today. He was all smiles and conversation with them. Of course they were all charmed, and why should’t they be?
As I have mentioned before, the biggest gap I’ve been puzzling over lately is where to get Vernon placed next. I know he has generally improved, but I still feel that physically (and perhaps mentally) he should be further along than he is. I don’t think he’s being given the chance to really work at his recovery. It’s something I struggle with inside myself as I wonder: Am I just holding the bar too high? Will I ever be satisfied? Will ANY place be good enough? But asking those questions is pointless, because no one was signing up to take Vernon’s complicated case anyway.
A little over a month ago, my friend Talar (who is a nurse and hospital case manager) gave me the number of her friend at another Newport Care Home. She recommended his help as well as his facility. I have been texting and talking with him since then. He’s been patient in answering all my questions, and I’ve learned a lot more about the system. It has been encouraging to have someone so knowledgeable help us out at our level. He was also willing to take on Vernon as a patient. I’ve met some of the physical therapists at this new place and I really like their approach. Still, a lot of things had to come together: insurance, timing, paperwork, available beds. Like Vernon turning the pieces in his hands, I turned this problem over and over and it just didn’t resolve.
Yet this afternoon, it finally fell into its slot. Vernon has been approved for the move and he will be transferred on Monday to this new care home, only a few miles away from the current one. This weekend, which marks week 35, and the beginning of Month 9, Vernon will start the next chapter of his recovery. Together, we’ll figure out the next steps from there….