This is Cassie, Eric’s cousin, down from Seattle to see Eric and Anna-Carin. As part of my “helping” (other than having my kid ravage their house) I volunteered to do the blog today. I wasn’t sure what to talk about after the visit we had with Eric yesterday – he was pretty sleepy and out of it when I first saw him – then he got very agitated and angry. To be honest, it was really shocking to see someone so energetic and vibrant in such a state. I kept thinking he was going to say “Hi Booza” (a bad childhood nickname only Eric still insists on using) and try to get me in a headlock. We found out today it was because his pain patch had come off. Basically, he gave Anna-Carin the double bird and she was quickly able to get him some relief.
Today was an entirely different story. When we came in to see Eric this morning, he was alert and making eye contact. It was clear he knew who we were and wanted to communicate. At one point he said, “I want”. We confirmed that he had said it by asking him to give us a thumbs-up that he wanted something. Unfortunately, we couldn’t figure out what he wanted, which must be driving him crazy. Eric is pretty used to stating what he wants to do and getting a response, or doing it himself. But it is clear that he is ready and trying to communicate. I think more visitors will just help him move forward.
Eric and Anna-Carin’s friend Paul is also here from South Africa. Paul is spending part of the day with Eric today so that Anna-Carin can catch up on some paperwork. They were talking about their trip to Vegas last year. Hopefully, they won’t decide to take off to Mexico or something. Paul is putting together some suggestions for visitors to the hospital about how to best communicate with and help Eric.
Things to keep in mind:
1. Speak slowly so that Eric can process what you are saying.
2. Talk to Eric, not about him.
3. Don’t discuss the accident, it just upsets him.
4. Give Eric time to respond to what you are saying before you ask another question.
5. Don’t treat him like he’s a child or unintelligent; he’s still the same guy, just on a slower speed (for now!)
This is going to be a VERY long road for Eric and Anna-Carin, but they are both working hard and are stubborn people. There will be tough days, but Eric is making progress. We (all of us and Eric) are looking forward to the day, hopefully in the near future, when Eric starts barking orders for what he wants or needs!!