16 November 2013
27 June 2013
Our dear family and friends,
Today was Grayson's 28th birthday. When I went in to check on him about 6:30 this morning I found him sound asleep on the sofa in his room. He had gotten out of bed sometime after midnight, grabbed a book off the shelf and sat in the dark until he fell asleep. While this has only happened once before, I am thankful that we have a perimeter alarm on his bedroom door to alert us if he leaves his room.
He had a delightful day with his caregiver Maria. She has been with us for seven months and takes him on three walks up the canyon every day. She brought him a personal sized birthday cake and they shared it together while they perused her National Geographic coffee table book. I am so grateful that she has stayed with us so long and provides a familiar face for him each weekday.
This evening Grayson and I did things that he loves. I gave him his choice of dinner selections and he chose cheeseburger, fries and a chocolate shake. We spent time reading birthday wishes from friends on Facebook. He struggled but was able to tell me where he knew most of his friends from. One close high school friend noticed he was online and sent a message suggesting that they get together soon and "maybe... put some citrus fruit in the road for old times' sake". I can only imagine what that meant but it sure made Grayson smile. Thank God for old friends. Grayson's long term memory can still bring him joy.
For the last hour or so before I put him to bed Grayson was cracking up watching reruns of The Big Bang Theory.
Life for the three of us is settled into a familiar routine. Grayson is never left unattended. We take him everywhere with us. He still needs cueing to accomplish the simplest tasks of daily living. He still can't manage even washing his hands without direction. His speech if anything is worse than in the months immediately following his injury 3 ½ years ago in spite of working with him daily. Today when I asked him to tell me how old he is he answered 21. I told him that he is 28 then asked him again and his answer remained 21 each time. Yet last night before bed, I asked him what the next day was and he said "my birthday". As we have said before, his memory is like Swiss cheese. Sometimes you get cheese and sometimes you get a hole.
Those of you who knew Grayson well know he always had a book in his pocket (one of the reasons he always wore cargo pants). He was a voracious reader – anything from constitutional law, to black holes to anime. Today is no different. If he walks past any printed material he picks it up - novel, dictionary, comic book, or junk mail catalogue. I know some of that is just habit memory. Sometimes he just flips the pages – frequently with the book upside down or one in each hand. It's tempting to think that he isn't really reading anything but even with the book upside down he laughs appropriately. That's easy to understand when it's a comic book. Last week we were waiting for someone at a restaurant and I gave him my Kindle to occupy him (no pictures). I opened a book that was pre-loaded called "Bossy Pants" by Tina Fey. He started laughing on the first page. Since I have never read it, I checked to see what he was laughing at. Sure enough, the first page was hilarious. HE STILL CAN READ! He just doesn't remember what he reads.
Brant (in Texas and Alabama last week, Seattle this week) and I are grateful that we have been able to share 28 years with Grayson. It is a blessing and a challenge daily and nothing that we ever imagined. We are firmly united in our mission to make sure he is not only well taken care of but that he feels loved and cherished – because he is.