Hello! This is Marty.
Here is a post of time that Eric and I spent together while Ace was taking a much-needed break.
This was the first time that someone other than Ace would be with Eric for an extended period of time. I don’t know who was more nervous, Ace leaving the country, or me, filling in for Ace, or Eric who was now going to have a new caretaker. Wow, what a job! Medicine schedules, dog schedules, rest schedules, doctor’s appointments, food intake, water intake, the ever changing needs of Eric. The Davidson’s are truly amazing for their strength to move forward everyday in a new world faced with the challenge of learning how to live again in a new life. I know I wouldn’t have been able to help out if it wasn’t for Ace’s meticulous notes, forethought into her husbands needs, ability to talk to us when needed (even at 9 hours difference, thank you Ace!), and to the dog walkers, neighbors, and other volunteers, thanks.
Through the summer I was fortunate enough to sporadically see Eric and Ace. It was a window to Eric and Ace’s recovery that was time lapsed. When Ace and I talked about her going on vacation, I thought it would be interesting to see the steps that would transform in an extended stay.
Many attributes will form over years of knowing an individual. Eric and I definitely have some unique ones. Being here was a gateway to seeing some of those attributes come forth again. Some were cloudy, and others were plain as day. Some brought tears to our eyes and the rest made us laugh or think about the past and future. We tried to include as much laughter as possible to get through some difficult times, and sometimes it backfired, sometimes it worked.
The start of this stay would be riddled with the uncertainty that Ace mentioned in the previous blog. There was a change in medication, the added days to the day program, you’re loved one leaving, someone else watching your schedule, someone else living with you, the food being prepared differently, sorry bro! How would Eric react to all these changes? Would he know the difference? Would he remember? To see Eric work through these changes and be able to adapt was frustrating and rewarding.
Each time I come out here, Eric amazes me. I look back to the five, ten, then 20 minutes of walking with a walker in the hall at the hospital, then hours of rest. Now he walks with trekking poles a couple blocks to local market and back with no breaks. Sometimes, “Mr. Inappropriate” comes out when crossing the street, but only if he picks up on the vibe that the waiting cars are in a hurry. If the vibe is good, you get a “thumbs up” of respect once he has crossed, Mr. Inappropriate turns into Mr. Nice Guy. In Eric you can see when he gets frustrated about situations in his head that he can’t control. It is read in his facial expressions and in body language.
Another item that has been interesting to be apart of is the “routine.” The routine is the daily and weekly schedule that is in place. Who would ever think that you would have to learn what time it was again and how that relates to morning, noon, and night or even what day of the week it is. Mornings with Eric have never been easy and now they are “not” easy. Most mornings Eric got out of bed with minimal coaxing, surprising to me compared to my stay before the holidays. Now, once he is up, he is up. A step that needed to be in place before Eric could get to his new day program. This program challenges him in a cognitive manner as well as physically. Best of all, he enjoys it.
Eric’s energy level is on the rise as well. This was a fun one for the week as he started to make his own agenda. After dinner one night, Eric decided that he was “going out.” It was good to hear him pronounce, “going out” enough to understand him. On the other hand it was after dinner and, where was he planning on going? Next thing you know Eric had walking sticks in hand and was headed for the door. Just like old times. Eric doing what he wants when he wants. We walked to a neighborhood restaurant so he could make reservations for Valentine’s Day. Unfortunately the restaurant was closed which took some explaining. He couldn’t understand why they were closed when he was there to make reservations. At least he got another walk in and stayed on task of getting there and back.
Ever have one of those days where all emotions, stresses, and feelings are hitting you at once. Now imagine only being able to express one of those feelings or emotions at a time and not being able to control another emotion. This is challenging in the fact that there is a routine to try and follow but the motivation is not there to follow it, and now you’re depressed and you can’t control it. Watching Eric this week deal with the fact that Ace is not here was tough. At first he was confused and scared, and later, sad and longing for her. They have been inseparable since the accident, Ace always by his side. As the week progressed and he made it past the halfway point, his spirit lifted, but then fell. It became easier to feed him, get him up in the morning, and watch him take more water by himself, if his spirit was up. As soon as he got down it would be almost impossible to get him out of bed, or fed, or to get any therapy done.
The day of remembering! After transportation dropped Eric off one afternoon, Eric said to me, “Reservations!” It was pretty clear what he said as I didn’t ask him to repeat it. Even more amazing to me was the fact that a couple days prior he was headed to make reservations for dinner and now he remembered the task again. He pointed his fingers towards the restaurant and starting walking. I told him to wait for me so I could get the house closed up. Eric’s reply was “I am not fast” as he kept pointing down the way. I cracked up laughing as he had this funny smirk on his face. A little attribute you pick up along the way to friendship is the ability to do a little mind reading. The smile on his face only meant one thing, go lock the doors and catch up.
Ending this post by abbreviating a quote from something Eric wrote to Ace long before the accident that reflects on what Eric and I have talked about regarding his road to recovery.
“I can’t wait for all this to be over and have things back to normal…I’ll be happy when it’s all over”