“What’s wrong with me?” Eric asked the nurse today. This was after he’d mention to several staff members and myself that his tongue felt thick. Eric was in a great mood today, laughing, did some football drills on his own accord to really push himself, plus he flirted with the staff. He claims he “still got it” and tried to get me jealous by flirting…. He was working out this morning when I got there so I never had a chance to do my morning routine when I tell him where’s he’s at, and why. So when the nurse answered him with saying that it’s probably his brain playing jokes with him since it’s healing and it just feels like the tongue is thick, he looked at her surprised and asked; “What’s wrong with me?” He looked at us in chock and started to cry when we told him that he has a brain injury after a drunk driver hit him. I gave him a brief update about his condition, and he couldn’t believe my words. I felt bad for not telling him this in the morning as I always do. Before this happened, Eric and I left the building and went to McDonald’s for lunch. Pretty sad that McDonald’s ended up being his first out-of-hospital-visit, but that’s what happens when it’s next to the facility and no time for breaks. He had a milkshake while he stared at the burger in my hand…. That’s what he gets for flirting!
I’ve realized I’ve been fooled by Eric and I can’t believe I feel for it. Perhaps it’s because I wanted to believe he’s healed up as much as he claims he has so I didn’t see what was going on. He’s been showing two strong signs for a typical patient in Rancho Scale level 6. His cognitive functioning is not a level 6 yet, but the last days he’s been going in and out of this level. Once you reach level 4 on the Rancho Scale, a patient could jump back and forth between all levels and progress at the same time. Eric thinks he’s doing better then he really is, and so did I for a while. A patient on level 6 knows that he is hospitalized because of an injury, but doesn’t understand all of the problems he is having, and does not fully understand the extent of his problems and the benefits of therapy. These are the two things I’ve noticed in Eric lately…. darn it; I’d hope Eric was a miracle or a unique case, instead he’s following the stages of recovery typically seen after a brain injury. He is progressing and I’m happy about that, but for a while there my mind was playing games with me and I thought, “Oh, this isn’t as bad as the doctors told me, old Eric will be back in no time.” Oh well….yet another lesson in how to be patience.