Posted by: aceanderic | January 25, 2009


Last week Eric asked me “What are you doing during the days?” I’ve never been this stressed out in my life, so when he asked me this I almost smacked him with the frying pan. Who needs to work out at the gym when you have a disabled husband living with you in a house with a basement and a second floor? It feels like I’m running around all day long and probably loosing tons of calories, and still not getting everything done. Eric forgot that I don’t work at NEMO anymore and didn’t realize that I’m with him 24/7 as his Caregiver. Today he said, “It can’t be easy taking care of me so thank you for all your help”. That’s some progress I would say, and I answered him the honest truth; “You’re a pain in the butt and it’s not easy at all, but that’s ok, and thank you for acknowledging it.”

I’ve noticed progress is many areas since my last blog post. Two months ago Eric walked 40 steps at the dog park from the car to the park bench, and then 40 steps back to the car. Last week, he took a 20 minutes walk in our neighborhood with his trekking poles as help to keep his balance. Progress! His walker has retired to the garage and I’m looking forward to the day I can sell it; he’s currently using his trekking poles for walking outdoors and actually no support indoors besides walls and furniture. He’s also walking stairs without support. His balance and his strengths are coming back slowly but steady. He’s had a few falls but nothing major. Progress! Eric’s still really confused, and his short-term memory is still extremely poor and we don’t know how much of this he will recover but some days he remembers more then others. Eric is writing a diary almost daily to help remind him of the day’s activities. Eric is so fortunate to still remember how to use his computer and his iPhone. Since his friends has a hard time understanding him, the iPone is his gate to the world and it helps him stay in touch with friends, and he’s on that thing constantly. Progress! Eric’s speech still needs tons of work, but you know what; we’ve hade progress in this area too. During our first meeting with his new SLP we discovered that if Eric concentrates on HOW TO SAY IT, it makes it easier for us to understand him. You and I are only concerned about WHAT we say, and even then, we get it wrong occasionally. Eric needs to add on top of that, how to say it, which I have no doubt must be exhausting. But it’s working and I’ve seen progress even in this. One day Eric will be walking and talking like the rest of us, and it’s going to be difficult to see his main injury. Brain injury is called “The silent epidemic” because you can’t look at a person and tell he’s sustained a brain injury; but it’s there and will be there for the rest of his life. And it’s going to complicate our lives forever.

My advice to people is; if you see a man walking unstable, with help of trekking poles; don’t ask if he’s going skiing. Obviously, a young man would rather BE skiing then wobble in to the therapy room at the hospital. I can’t blame Eric for screaming back at that old lady, or the nice man in the elevator; I would too. The only difference is that Eric, due to the injury, can’t tell the difference from right and wrong so he’s really showing his feelings! Eric’s nickname is still Mr. Inappropriate!



  1. I have been following your blog about Eric’s plight and progress since hearing about it in the news. I really like your candidness and the way you convey your own feelings, and Eric’s reaction to it all.

    My wife and I have cerebral palsy. A different disability, yes, but Eric walking unstable…I can relate to that. I use a walker sometimes, a scooter sometimes, the walls at home. I think most people are clueless as to how people facing challenges, and caregivers like yourself, are forever looking for ways around and through challenges.

    Peace to you and Eric.

  2. I’ve been reading this blog almost since its inception, when I heard about it on Bike Portland.

    Recently my wife and I separated after three years of marriage. I only mention this because I very much respect your willingness to work through good times and bad. It seems like most people just want the easy route …

    This is all sounding horribly cliched and trite but I just wanted to say that I respect you and I wish you and Eric the best and obviously it isn’t true that “everything is going to be alright” but from reading all these posts I can tell that you and Eric are something amazing.

  3. Hello,
    I have also follow Eric’s blog from the very beginning. I like to know how his progress is doing. I too was hit by a truck from behind while riding my bike back in September. My injuries were not as harsh as Eric’s, but I just had several broken bones all over my body and tons of road rush injuries. I just got back from OHSU from the Dermatology to see if there is anything they can do for my scars, they said I would have to pay out of pocket $500 per treatment. And of course, I would have to have several treatments. It has been a hassle with INS to get things cover, and since I have been following Eric’s blog, the only thing you never mention is how you are getting insurances to pay for everything. I must say that you are a terrific caregiver and I can’t imagine being in your shoes. I wish you both the best!

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