Mike Day 17 Forward: This, That n The Next Thing

June 13, 2011

Family, Health, Mike

It’s Monday…our day off from Therapy, doctor’s appts, wound care center appts and the like.  Mike DID have to have blood drawn, and, since our priest is leaving for two weeks in Italy and has been wanting to give Mike the sacraments for a bit now, Mel took him to church for communion.  Right now he’s napping in anticipaton of our anniversary dinner date night later today. 

I took him to church yesterday for Liturgy.  As it turns out it was Pentecost Sunday, the day the Holy Spirit came down to the apostles and they spoke in their many tongues to all the tribes of Israel.  It’s a very long service that day and then there is the visit to the cemetery afterwards.  People were thrilled to see Mike and to see him looking so well.  He beamed with pleasure as he recognized faces but couldn’t put names to them.  He knew most of the creed when the parishioners recite the creed in unison and surprisingly, stood through the entire time we were there.  We did not make it for the whole service.  At the point of communion he said something that sort of made sense but it was a choice of the wrong words which indicated that he was not able to take communion.  Normally, not since he had not been to confession.  However, like the little children who’ve not yet had instruction, the very sick can take communion without confession.  However, very shortly after that comment he picked up my handbag and started inching me toward the aisle and let me know it was time to leave.  He was there about an hour…the service went on for another hour.  Melanie told me that Father’s sermon was about Mike.  No doubt he had something else in mind, but seeing Mike in church he remarked that it was wonderful to see him brought back to life, healing and well enough to be in church among them and drew parallels to the Pentecost theme of the day.  Today when he went to communion at the end of the service she told me he nearly had a standing ovation from the folks who attended.  Everybody prayed for him so hard and had their thoughts with him so often that I think that it was good for them to know that God anwers prayers…and sometimes in the way we hope he will answer them.  Melanie told me of one parishioner who has a recurrence of the brain tumor that they thought was gone…who was so uplifted that Mike was well enough to come to church.  Mel said it helped to give her hope.  As I said previously…there is much healing to go around.  I felt Mike and I had our thank you’s to say…and it was good to sit in church and drink in the beauty of the sanctuary, hear the choir and accept the serenity of the moment.  I hope I can get Mike’s schedule regulated sufficiently that I can get him to church more often. 

When we got home I decided to do some research into anoxic brain injury recovery.  The first site I came upon was one with information on a book called Professor Cromer Learns To Read.  Written by Janet Cromer it is about a physics prof, Alan Cromer, and the anoxic brain injury he suffered after cardiac arrest.  His injury and illness was eerily similar to Mike’s in many ways, and Janet’s struggles as a woman, a spouse, a caregiver…and a medical profession….so closely paralleled my own that I cried cathartic tears several times as I read it front to back in a single sitting.  She talks of how they recreated their love, their marriage, their relationship and architected his recovery.  She has advocated for brain injury and caregivers for years now.  Many AHA moments were there for me relative to strategies she and her husband used that I will try to utilize with Mike.  It was an awesome book.  Funny, sad, hopeful, tragic and instructive all at once. 

It was interesting that Janet Cromer felt her husband died and a new husband came back.  It’s true.  There are glimmers of Mike there…but in many ways he is so very different.  Take, for example, church yesterday.  In the past Mike had no patience for small children in church who could not behave like miniature adults.  Nor did he have patience for their parents.  Yesterday there were a few children…none of them behaving like miniature adults.  (some on the verge of getting on my nerves and I’m pretty tolerant of kids in church!) Mike smiled on at them benevolently and benignly.  When some young kids went up for communion he positively beamed.  Then there is his reborn attitude toward Kristin, Cameron and the rest of the kids.  Gone is the impatient cumudgeon he could sometimes be.  He’s thrilled to see them, tells them he loves them frequently, beams when they come around, tells them how proud he is, how good they are…it’s wonderful to see and so healing.  Today he was playing with Pauly and Alexa, his great neice and nephew.  He had a wonderful time…at one point having finger puppets on and entertaining  Alexa.    

For some days now he has been wondering if I love him, why I love him, will I be around. And, since he has no short term memory, I find myself reassuring him over and over.  I have taken to telling him several times a day…and though he can’t always remember that I’ve already told him on any given day, I’ve taken to asking “Who loves you baby?”  Invariably he knows it is me…though sometimes he says “you?” with the question mark or, “you…I hope”.   He has also asked WHY I love him…to which I have a litany of responses.  Surprisingly, Alan Cromer asked his wife the same things and had the same loss of short term memory.  She had a log book for him where they would write such things down that he could consult.  Mike used to carry a little notebook in the Navy where he’d write everything down… maybe this would work for us now.

Tomorrow is our 31st wedding anniversary.  I remind Mike constantly.  He varies between thinking we are married 18 or 21 years.  When I tell him 31 he says I am wrong.  I’m digging out the marriage cert to prove it to him later today!  Tonight I made reservations for us at Morgan’s a local (lovely) place to eat.  Son Mikey used to work there and they’ll take good care of us table wise.  I’m looking forward to it.  I told him we’re going on our anniversary date…the first one ever in the entire 31 years we’re married.  He’s excited…and me too.  One thing I’ve learned since February is that life can end in a matter of minutes.  I’ll not waste any more of our time together!  From now on, Mike’s and my marriage comes first.

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One Comment on “Mike Day 17 Forward: This, That n The Next Thing”

  1. Beckie Says:

    Congratulations on the anniversary! It’s wonderful that Mike was able to enjoy the church service, even if it were just half of it. Your description of Mike’s response to the children reminded me of a great uncle. He had brain damage, also. Every time that we were around him, he would give us candy and say, “so sweet, just so sweet”. He didn’t carry on any type of conversation, but my great aunt was able to communicate with him. He could, however, write what he wanted to say. In hindsight, I find that quite intriguing.
    I hope that you are able to get some a little rest each day. Praying for you and Mike.
    Beckie in Brentwood, TN


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