Sunday, April 29, 2012

Adapting

Since my last few blog entries have been rather somber in nature, I thought I’d try to hit a lighter note and share some of the positive and amusing things Alex has done or said while he’s been in the hospital. Even though being in the Behavioral Medicine Unit should be a culture shock for Alex since he has led a rather sheltered life by spending his time almost exclusively with Ed and me, he’s adapted to being with other people amazingly well. In fact, the other day when we asked him about various staff members we sensed he especially liked, he told us that he likes “everyone at the hospital.”

He has formed bonds with some of the nurses who have taken especially good care of him. LeeAnne told me the other day that when he saw her arrive to start her shift, he came running toward her to greet her. However, he knew that he couldn’t come into the nurse’s station, so he stopped on a dime (As she told us, he stopped as though there were an invisible line he knew not to cross.) when he reached the entrance and just smiled at her until she came to say hello to him. Later in the week, Laura called to ask if Alex could drink Silk soy milk. Apparently, he had seen her drinking it and decided he’d like her to share it with him, as she had given him the organic bananas she had brought for her lunch another time. I think he wasn’t as interested in drinking the Silk as he was in just sharing a treat with her. She also said that he came over to her at one point and gently pulled her hair in a teasing, affectionate way, probably to get her attention. When she asked him if he’d tugged on her hair, he grinned and told her yes. Another nurse, Jennifer, who seems to find Alex amusing, told us that he has figured out the security code to open the supply closets on the unit, which she thought was pretty clever. The other day, apparently he decided to use the code to open the linen closet, and the staff couldn’t figure out who had opened the door until they saw Alex grinning, feeling smug that he had done it himself. She also thought it was funny that he likes to play Yahtzee with her as long as he’s winning, but if she’s winning, he doesn’t want to play any more. We’re thankful for the wonderful care these nurses are giving him as well as the kindness and understanding they show.

When we go to visit Alex every day, we try to think of topics of conversation that will interest him yet not upset him. Most of the discussion involves our asking him questions that he can give a yes or no answer. Sometimes, we try to expand his responses by asking him open-ended questions instead. The other evening, we asked him who the funniest person he knows is, expecting him to give his standard answer of “Bud”—the name he calls my uncle, whom he finds really amusing. After mulling this question, he surprised us by naming Ed’s sister’s husband, Alex’s uncle Jack, as the funniest person he knows. Apparently, he remembers Uncle Jack as pretty amusing because he laughed just thinking about him. When we asked him about another funny guy, a clown named Corky whom we saw at the county fair several years ago, this also made Alex laugh. The next day we asked Alex about a funny person he saw at the fair, anticipating he would tell us “Corky the Clown.” When we asked him, “What was the name of the funny guy you saw at the fair?” without missing a beat, he told us Grandpa. Since he had seen Grandpa at the fair, and Grandpa is a funny guy, this was a good answer that made all of us laugh. Although Alex’s hospitalization has been a stressful time for our family, his surprising ability to adapt and adjust to the changes has been comforting to Ed and me. For someone used to only being at home and to following routines he has developed over the years, Alex seems content to allow new caregivers to help him, and he likes the activities they have planned. At the end of a recent visit, Ed asked him what he was going to do later, whether he was going back to the day room to watch tv or stay in his room and read books. Alex thought for a moment, smiled, and said, “Wait and see.” As we anticipate and question what God holds for our future, we see wisdom and faith in Alex’s comment: “Wait and see.”

“And David said to his son Solomon, ‘Be strong and of good courage, and do it; do not fear nor be dismayed, for the Lord God—my God—will be with you. He will not leave you nor forsake you, until you have finished all the work for the service of the house of the Lord.” I Chronicles 28:20

2 comments:

K. C. said...

Wait and see: that's all we can really do, isn't it? Thinking of you all and glad to hear that Alex is adapting well.

Pam Byrne said...

Hi K.C.,
I'm not very good about waiting, so I'm sure this is one of the lessons I'm supposed to learn from this challenge. I'm trying to follow Alex's philosophy of "wait and see." :) Thanks for thinking of us.
Love,
Pam