I often watch Scotty and think about the way his brain works now and try to come up with different ways to help him continue on his journey of healing. The easiest way to describe it is there are now roadblocks in his brain that stop those connections from happening. They stop the right word coming out , they stop him know his shoe from his sock, or the right size trash bag for the different trash cans. Things like forks, knives, spoons are very evasive.
These road blocks do not mean his intelligence is lost and certainly not his quick sense of humor. The brain has to learn new pathways to the information that is already there and I am trying to learn how to help him. It is not easy because somethings work for a day and not the next day.
Thank goodness for the color coded calendar although it can be friend or foe. It is good because it helps him to know what is going on each day because he cannot remember, it is a foe when he looks at it 82 times a day! It is a friend when the gym is on the calendar he looks forward to it very much.
Other times when talking his brain repeats the last word he hears or if the radio or TV is on in the background a word sticks in his brain and derails whatever conversation is going on. One of the hardest things for me is I understand him most of the time, but need make him repeat words correctly because this is part of the healing. It is hard to do and seems demeaning to him at times but he does not feel demeaned it is solely my feeling. I have to constantly remember that this is what helps reroute the brain around those roadblocks. Sticking with it not giving up our son and I spent 15 minutes trying to figure what we thought was a question …it was he had forgotten what he ate for lunch and wanted to know. Relief and laughter when we go it right no matter how long it took.
Another aspect of roadblocks is sometimes they are scary. The emotions can be all over the map with stroke brain and the person really as little to no control over them. This is where we rely on love and our faith in God to bring us through it in one piece.
Forgetting is another piece of the puzzle. Forgetting your underwear is on, forgetting what you ate for lunch, forgetting where your socks are and they are on your feet. I have to just go on and help correct or find not silently go into a terrifying thought it is another stroke or something else happening. So I make him look directly at me and smile big to make sure there is no sagging or other signs.
The upside is we have found music always helps it has helped from the beginning. We sing songs with short easy refrains and dance together or he dances for me. It is real, it is helpful and we are going to keep going. There is no alternative and we don’t won’t want one.