Post Delay While We Heal Dave’s Big Brain

Thank you Heather S. for the amazing gift basket! Those pears were SO delicious! xo
Thank you Heather S. for the amazing comfort food gift basket! Those pears were SO delicious! xo

Often my writing is filled with angst-y, dark moments. It is true. For me, writing pain sentences comes easier than articulating light happy ones. Maybe it is because darkness literally fills me with pressure-cooker dread. Meaning, for my utter survival, I have to let those painful words out. Obviously, I am sure there is a direct correlation to my dark writing and my Seasonal Affected Disorder. And today would be the perfect day to go dark. See, it is our very first blustery autumn day 2016. It is like 40 degrees outside (actually 50), rainy, cold and grey. In my rearview I see Wednesday’s ninety-degree, sunny, short weather. In front of me I see cold snow covered mountaintops and big, gloomy clouds covering Wednesday’s clear blue sky. I could easily find my way to a warm blanket and a Netflix binge (chill or no chill). In the end, and even though the sky is spooky dark, I am happy. Life is good. Dave is great! We feel blessed!

As far as Dave’s big brain goes, well, Dave is healing well. Dave did what he needed to do to get himself better. He stayed off screens for a week, remained in a dark room, and slept and slept and slept. My guess is Dave’s obedience to the routine is the reason Dave is doing so well. And believe me, the last thing Dave is is compliant.

Dave sewing on Kyle's missing button. Homecoming 2016
Dave sewing on Kyle’s missing button. Homecoming 2016

The other day I talked to a psychiatrist friend. According to him, Dave is a classic textbook example of someone who has sustained a head injury. In fact, as far as T.B.I’s (terminal brain injuries) go, Dave’s injury is most likely low grade. And to me, a low grade T.B.I. is a lot easier to digest than the diagnosis Dave received of a high-grade concussion — even though low grad T.B.I. and high-grade concussion are pretty much the same thing (don’t quote me on that).

As a result, lack of self-awareness, better, self-monitoring and short-term memory anomalies are the crazy consequences of Dave’s concussion. I am not talking the typical lose-track-of time Dave or lack-of-volume-control Dave, or even completely-focused-on-his-iPhone Dave; I am talking about the Dave whose short-term memory is a little bonkers. Dave does not remember much about last week (completely understandable). For instance, I asked him if he remembers how upset he was when I grabbed his sore thumb?

“I was never upset!” He proclaimed.

After hearing Dave’s I-was-not-upset proclamation, I needed backup. I asked Kyle to come into the room.

“Kyle, remember when we were helping Dad out of bed and I grabbed his sore thumb?” I asked.

Kyle smiled and responded, “Yep.”

I gently (for real) laughed and continued, “Dave, not only were you upset, you scolded me. You said, ‘Beth, how many times do I have to tell you NOT to GRAB my sore thumb?’”

To which Kyle responded, “Dad, you did.”

“I never said any such thing.” Dave insisted.

Us, Giant's Causeway, Northern, Ireland
Us, Giant’s Causeway, Northern, Ireland

I imagine Dave is frustrated. He knows I am telling him that things are off, but he is not sure how things are off. He does not feel different, but knows I am telling him things are different, that is. Do you trust your wife or your big brain? Because Dave leans towards my interpretation of reality, my guess is he is a little scared (or is just indulging me). I imagine it is no fun to have your wife persistently say,

“Remember this? Remember that? Dude, you are blanking again. Dave. Sweetie, you said the same thing ten minutes ago.” Consequently, you might conclude that Dave he is a little annoyed with me. I am sure he is. Still, Dave takes it. Dave has done what he needs to do.

Dave and I at Eilean Donan Castle, Dornie, Kyle of Lochalsh, Scotland
Dave and I at Eilean Donan Castle, Dornie, Kyle of Lochalsh, Scotland

The pay off: Dave went to work this morning (and has for more than a week now). I drove him. He is still a little slow and disconnected.   If he tires or feels weird, I made him promise to text me. I know he won’t. I know Dave (pre and post-concussed). And because I do, I checked in with him instead. He says he is, “pretty good,” whatever that means? Truth be told, I am not sure he would notice anyway. I am crossing my fingers that he does not go all blank face or repeat himself repeatedly (perseverate). I also hope he finds a way to use the correct noun, or at least cleverly brushes off the gaffe (anomic aphasia), if he doesn’t [wink wink]. It was hilarious (fascinating) the other day when he demanded I hand him the “trash can” when he meant, “shopping bag.” Alas, I am reassured with his ability to talk around the word (a sort of circumlocution) until he is able to produce it. Meaning, I think Dave will find a way to make today work. It is now Wednesday – actually Friday, September, 23. I began this post on September 12. Sure, he is still circumlocution-ing his way to words like, vesting. And at this point I find it sort of amusing that he has discovered (three times over) that I found his black shirt. My mom says Dave reminds her of what it is like to get old, “you are getting a little taste of it now.” She told me.

This morning Dave told me his thumb is still pretty sore. His side still aches, but is so much better.  He can finally get out of bed without feeling significant pain.Most of his cuts and scrapes are healed. He tried to tell our neighbor that he would be mountain biking in a week. Of course we put a stop to that.  Some days I look at his blank stare and think he has paused or even drifted backward. He really likes to play a game on his phone. I remember getting addicted to a video game after my concussion. The game is called, “Peggle,” and yes, I share my worry with Dave.  I am sure I am being overly cautious, but I only have one of him. Mostly,Dave is good. Each day he is better. I know he is moving forward. Progress.

Go Dave!

Dave, Giant's Causeway, Northern, Ireland
Dave, Giant’s Causeway, Northern, Ireland