Monday, November 23, 2015

Acquired Brain Injury Day 30

One month and things are looking better. 

I want to talk about support today. Over the past month I have been told many times by the Nurses and the staff at both hospitals that Colleen will not remember and that I do not need to come in every day to see her. I know these people are not heartless and probably have my best interests at heart. But I am a big believer in supporting those in need.

When my mother was dying of Cancer, I went in to the hospital everyday for over nine months to see her, I believed that my visits cheered her up and made her suffering more tolerable. When I see Colleen, I know she will not remember the day to day exchanges that we have, but I know that for the time that I am with her, she is better. 

We, as human beings, are social creatures, we need to be with others that we know and trust. When we are with those we know, and trust we feel safe. The two outbursts in the ward this last week, were, in part, caused because the people wanted to leave and go home. 

Home was a place where they felt safe and where they believed they would be cared for by those they loved. The hospital setting is a safe place, but you are not surrounded by people you care about n a meaningful way. The staff is caring but in a professional manner, not a personal manner. 

When Colleen was first at the Alfred her unit was on the second floor and to gain entry you had to talk with a receptionist who would check with the nurse and then if it was okay you would be buzzed into the ward. The waiting room for the ward was quite big and was always half or three quarters full. 

For two weeks as I walked through the waiting room, I could hear snippets of conversation. When people came in, it was because a loved one was in very serious condition and could die.  What stuck me was the conversations and the pain was the same for everyone. I started to notice patterns in conversation.  The conversations centered around a few topics: "How or Why did this happen?" "I need to let (fill in the blank) know, how do I do that?" "Everything will be fine, (fill in the blank) is in good hands" "Are you okay, is there anything I can do for you?"

When faced with the prospect of the death of a loved one, people needed support and they received it. I began to see the same people every day, and one day I had a conversation with a woman whose son was in the ward. She was hopeful about his recovery. I saw her for about three days in a row, then she no longer showed up and I hoped for the best. She saw me about a week later and told me her son had been moved to a new ward and was heading to full recovery. She also said her prayers were with Colleen.

During the last month, I have been in constant contact with my brother and other friends, and they gave me the support I needed to overcome some of the doubts I had. I also had support from my family and extended family in Australia without which I would have fallen apart. 

Because of the support of family and friends, I  am able to face the challenges that we are currently undergoing. I know that Colleen is stronger and getting better because of the support she is getting from her family. We are also grateful for the prayers and good wishes that people back home are giving to us. The support means a great deal to the both of us. Thank you

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