Thursday, October 29, 2015

Acquired Brain Injury Day 6

Preparations were underway for Halloween, and my grandson and his cousins were excited, but they also were concerned about Colleen. To make her feel better, Ryder  who is four, got me to record him singing "Itsy Bitsy Spider" as he thought it would cheer his grandmother up. For those who don't know this song, it goes like this: 
The itsy-bitsy spider
Climbed up the water spout
Down came the rain
And washed the spider out
Out came the sun
And dried up all the rain
And the itsy-bitsy spider
Climbed up the spout again

Amber who is six drew and colored in a picture with a short story that she thought would make Colleen feel better. I promised to bring both the recording and the picture and story to Colleen.

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, internal strategies for example visual associations, and environmental adaptations such as labeling kitchen cupboards. Research has found that ABI patients use an increased number of memory aides to help in their recovery. Since Colleen believed her memory to be good, and would not keep a diary,  we hit on the idea of bringing her pictures of friends and relatives so she could see them and remember these people. My hope was that by seeing the pictures she would move ahead in her mind from the 70's to the present day.  

I contacted my son and asked him to go through the pictures on the computer and email us a selection of pictures of relatives and friends. He did and we went to the local K Mart and had the pictures printed out to take to Colleen. I spend the ride to the hospital writing the names on the back of the pictures along with who each person was in relation to my wife.

Colleen was in good spirits when I arrived,  but she was tired and we spend the day talking about whatever was on her mind. Colleen thought she was still in Canada, and wondered why her Dad, her Granny and Grandpa and her Mom had not visited with her yet. When I and the nurses told her that she was in Australia, she did not believe us and became agitated, but slowly over the course of the day she began to realize she was not in Canada.  I am not sure if she really believes this or is just agreeing so we would stop telling her where she is. However, she still was concerned that her Dad, Mon and her Granny and Grandpa had not come to see her. I could not tell her that her Dad, Granny and Grandpa were no longer with us, and her mom was in Vancouver, so when the topic was raised, I tried to change the topic. Lucky for me a person with Acquired Brain Injury has a short attention span at this stage of recovery. So the change of topic seemed to be working.

Colleen slept for a large part of the day, which gave me time to finish writing on the backs of the photo's. In the afternoon I showed her the pictures and she knew everyone in the pictures, although she did get a couple of people confused. The nurses said that was a very good sign.

For the most part it was a very positive day and I thought her short memory was starting to come into focus for her.  Her memory retention was still very weak.

I was hopeful as I made my way home. We still had one more day where there was a very high risk/danger of the arteries in the brain vibrating, but we were closer to moving out of that danger zone.

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