Memorial Day Musings

So here we are, it’s Memorial Day 2012.  A day when we are especially cognizant of and grateful for the sacrifices of our military warriors…to all of you serving or who have served, and to the families of those who served but lost their lives, thank you for your service!

It’s also a year since Mike was (at last) discharged from the hospital after a 97 day long hospital admission.  There are no current changes with Mike.  His health is ok.  His neurologic function is not changed.  He’s alive, he’s reasonably happy.  Can’t ask for more all things considered.  I struggle to find enrichment for him…activities he will enjoy…be willing to leave the house for…have fun with!  I’d like to stimulate his memory.  Sometimes it’s spot on…other times not so good.  For example, in his house when he was a child, Ukrainian was spoken a lot.  His sister tells me it was the first language he heard.  Still, from the time I met him he told me he didn’t really speak any Ukrainian…merely baby talk things and a few “curses” which are something like may lightning strike you and you get a pain in the neck or somesuch.  Suddenly, he can converse in short sentences in grammatically correct Ukrainian with his sister (who does speak it pretty darned fluently).  The other day while walking he pointed toward our church and in Ukrainian told her “there’s the church.”    Contrast that with trying to get out a normal sentence in English..which at times stymies him.  He knows what he wants to say but the words won’t come and he says he would not be able to write them down any easier.  It seems like his long term memory is very reliable up through junior high.  After that it becomes sketchy.  And short term memory…fuhgetaboutit.  In the hopes I can stimulate his long term memories using something he loved/loves still, I just ordered an HP photo scanner.  It’s one that will scan slides.  We have about 4 boxes of slides downstairs that he took during the Navy.  Hopefully I can turn them into digital photos on the iPad and let him tell me what they are.  Hopefully it’ll get him thinking.  We’ll see.

I had a rather pleasant surprise yesterday from the VA.  On Jan 25 Mike had a Catastrophic Disability exam…and his PCP had qualified him.  Numerous subsequent approvals are required and it seemed to be taking a ton of time so this past week I began to hunt it down in earnest.  The file was located and it was moved through the process and yesterday the PCP called to tell me he was approved for Catastrophic Disability.  This means he has no co-pay for VA health care and while I have been using private health care primarily, our private health care will no longer cover speech therapy.  I couldn’t afford the $50 co-pay three times a week…but I can afford to take him up to Wilkes Barre for it.  So now I’ll be calling Wilkes Barre Tuesday to get him rescheduled.  YAY!  I think the cognitive aspects will definitely help him.  Meanwhile, his compensation claim languishes in VA Purgatory with 999,999 others!  Who knows when we’ll hear anything from that…but with the speech therapy covered I am pretty content.

I’m wondering if good luck is coming my way.  I’ve heard it said a sparrow in the house is good luck.  I wonder if a Robin in the house is likewise.  This morning I opened the back basement door to let the dogs out and a flurry of bird wings ensued.  I thought I saw a bird fly in the basement door but concluded surely I was simply not awake and was dreaming.

There is a Robin’s nest in the rafters of our deck, which is over the walkout basement door patio.  They nest there every year and so every year we are treated to the babies.  I knew there must be young in the nest because mama and papa Robin were screaming at some Grackles who were swooping into the magnolia tree just next to the deck.  I brought the dogs back inside and prepared to throw the quilts I had on the floor into the washer.  I grabbed the first to pick it up and hear the shrieks of a young bird.  Looking down I saw a baby Robin, snuggled into the folds of the quilts remaining on the floor.  Indeed, a bird had flown in.  The dogs, of course, thought this would be great fun and baby Robin was in imminent danger of becoming a chew toy.

Clearly he could not yet fly much, so between attempts at flight and hopping, he eluded the dogs AND me and ended up under the secretary back in the corner….behind all ilk of stuff stored there.  Finally we retrieved him, shrieking the entire time, and put him back into his nest…from which he promptly flew down and into the yard.  Mama and Papa Robin were still outside and began  shrieking at us the second we brought him outside.  I hope he fares well…escapes the Grackles, can find food and quickly learns to get up off the ground.  What fun rescuing him!

It’s quiet here this weekend otherwise.  If you’re picnicking…have a great one!  Enjoy your kickoff of summer….

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