Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Acquired Brain Injury Day 5

My daughter was planning to go back to Sawmill after Halloween, so that my grandson could get back into a routine, and she would be coming down on the weekends.  The fact that I have a two and half hour ride back home from the hospital, allows me to get my thoughts together.  When I went home last night I told her that her mother had had a slight setback but the Dr. were hopeful that she would be back on track soon.

When I worked I had never used public transportation as it was not suited to my job schedule. However, I am finding an new appreciation for people who took public transportation. I am staying in a town called Rye, which was about two hours by car from the hospital. I am staying with caring extended family, but they could not drive me in every day, so I am taking public transport. I get a ride into the train station (about 45 to  55 minutes from Rye) get on the train for just over an hour, then hop on a tram for another 15 minutes and arrive at the hospital.

When I came in today, Colleen was awake and responsive, the nurses had taken the bandages from her hands because she was responding to directions, to not take out her tubes, but they were still watching her closely.  The medication and the fluids had done their job and the vibration of the arteries had been put under control and had stopped, just after I had left yesterday. Colleen recognized me, although she thought I was her brother. I was thankful for small steps forward.


I do not look like her brother, but one of the nurse had been talking to Colleen about the fact that she (the nurse) had a brother earlier in the morning. There is often partial recovery of memory functioning and Colleen, who was still trying to make sense of the situation had recovered some of her short term memory so in her mind, I was a brother, since the nurse had been talking about her brother.  


My hope was that her short term and long term memory would return sooner than later. I found out from reading the booklet supplied by the Nurse, that following the initial recovery phase; permanent handicaps are often reported with ABI patients reporting significantly more memory difficulties when compared people without an Acquired Brain Injury.


One of the coping mechanism, the nurses suggested was that I try to get Colleen to keep a diary,  In order to cope more efficiently with memory disorders many people with ABI use memory aids; these included external items such as diaries, notebooks and electronic organizers. 


The most popular aid is the use of a diary, and studies have found that the use of a diary is more effective if it is paired with self-instructional training. Self instruction was related to more frequent use of the diary over time and the diary and the self instruction proved to be more successful as a memory aid than some of the other aides.

So I was hopeful that Colleen would start to keep a diary; she totally rejected the idea when I first brought it up as she said her memory was fine. We spent the day talking about the importance of keeping rules and we talked about her mom, and her aunt. She also asked me if I had seen her grandmother (she had died in 1989) and asked about her dad (he died in 1985), so I had a good idea of where in time she was in her mind. 


We have been together as a couple since the January of 1966 and so I was able to place events she was talking about and remembering in context.  I left her feeling good about her recovery after the relapse yesterday, but the nurses reminded me that their was high risk of new attacks over the next two or three days.


Back home in Rye, I updated my daughter on the situation and explained that her mom was getting some memory back, and we needed to see that as a positive. Positive thoughts do help win the battle between depression and sadness that can and do overwhelm those faced with the loss of a loved one, through death, or dementia or Alzheimers or in my case through loss of memory  of self due to Acquired Brain Damage. So far, I was finding it hard some days to maintain a positive focus, but my wife was probably have a harder time than I was at this point.


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