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Thursday, November 3, 2011

Seeing Him Through Other Eyes

Yesterday, my mom and dad and my aunt and uncle arrived for their yearly visit. It was so good to see them. The last time they were here, Bob was still in ICU waiting to be transferred to Kindred, the pulmonary hospital. After they flew in, got their rental car and checked into the motel and got settled in, they came to visit us here at the Pink House.

I'm afraid we are not set up for visitors these days--the living room being converted into Bob's room with his hospital bed pretty much taking up most of the floor space. In the old days, we would have sat on our front porch, but Bob and I had done therapy earlier in the day and he was bushed from walking 31 times on the rail (yes! 31 times!) and I didn't have the heart to drag him out of bed into the wheelchair. So, we all sat in the living room, crammed around the hospital bed. After the initial greetings, the how-was-the-flight? type stuff, the atmosphere grew somewhat awkward.

Bob, I must say, was quite valiant, trying his best to keep the conversation going, but unfortunately all that was coming out his mouth were sentence fragments and odd words strung together which didn't make a lot of sense and left everyone confused. Much of what others said to him seemed to go right over his head, though he answered "yes" and "no" questions he often said "no" when he meant "yes" and vice versa and I had to continually jump in as if I was an interpreter of a foreign language. And I tell you, each time he tried so very hard to speak and came up with gibberish, it just about broke my heart.

And I can't help feeling that my god, he's worse than I thought.

I guess we've been somewhat isolated here and I have grown used to his often meaningless chatter. Which is why I am in rapture every time he speaks a clear sentence. But just seeing him, yesterday, trying so hard..... well, it still brings me to tears.

Today, I plan to take him out to the beach resort where my folks are staying. I do hope everything goes well.


Grace Carpenter said...

Whenever I'm stressed out or tired or both, my speech is terrible. I'm sure he *is* better, but in right circumstances.

Anonymous said...

I agree with Grace. When my husband is nervous and there are people around him besides me he shows his stress. He gets confused easily and has alot of trouble with emotional lability also known as reflex crying. I expect I will see this at Thanksgiving. I know it upsets our three children but this is the way it is right now and like me they need to accept him the way he is. I hope your family is understanding. Please don't take on anymore stress then you are already dealing with. Take care Patricia

Anonymous said...

Glad to hear your Mom,Dad & Pauline & Don made it safe. Enjoy them while they are with you. Love Neta

Anonymous said...

I too agree with the comments above. I suspect he was nervous, was trying to impress, probably trying too hard, and as a result it just made it more difficult for him. What is important is that YOU and HE know his capabilities, his accomplishments over the past year, all the work that you both have expended, and how much he has improved.
Enjoy your family, but don't worry about impressions. You see them once a year so in the scheme of life, it's you and Bob that is important.
Congratulations Bob on 31 reps!!!!
Overall, just keep doing what you are doing. Caring1 (Dan)

barbpolan said...

Reading your post brings me to tears - I remember trying so hard to impress visitors who had stricken looks when seeing me for the first time. How many faces said,"Oh my God, how could this have happened to her? How can she have changed from that bright, lively woman to this person who can't get out of bed or follow a conversation?" As soon as I saw that, I was at my most incompetent, trying to prove myself competent. There's good news, though: Bob will be even more greatly improved by their next annual visit.