Sunday, October 13, 2019

It's been a year

A year ago, Henry downed a few glasses of wine at Phyllis' home, got on his bike, and pedaled square into a Chevy Van. He suffered a shattered ankle, but the more immediate and life threatening issue was his traumatic brain injury. First we worried if he would live at all. Then, would his memory be OK? What about his motor skills?

It was weeks of not knowing. Then he seemed OK, but wasn't. TBI can be tricky. Henry was filled with rage about his condition. He was confused and terrified. He was full of fight and resistance.

He's had trouble distinguishing between reality and flight of fancy. He's suffered through morbid, paranoid fantasies that he has accepted as true.

He's come such a long way. He goes to church each week. He writes for the poetry guild. He misses as few days of work as possible. He still has trouble reasoning on occasion, still gets depressed, but good phone calls outweigh the bad. He's worked very hard, and his courage really is inspiring.

I have not always been as patient with him as I should be. I have fallen short on empathy, because I have no way of knowing what it was like to wake up from a coma and find myself different. I have been frustrated because I've found myself in a situation I am not equipped to handle.

But we're still us, me and Henry. We've worked through this. I am grateful. And we end every call with "I love you." Because his accident has emphasized that tomorrow is not promised.

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