Thursday, March 31, 2011

March... maddening for both of us

March was a maddening flurry of activity and I was feeling real overwhelmed. I didn't know at the time that nothing was going to slow down either any time soon. I had started working again 3 nights a week 11-7, and with doing that, trying to get adequate sleep, the grueling routine of the trips an hour away to therapies three times/week, plus other doctor appointments, and then keeping a routine set for Nick with schoolwork and studying...well, I was getting "burn-out." I wasn't prepared for how busy I would be, and where it was exhilerating at first, I was now starting to feel the candle melting on both ends. Trying to keep house, and then dealing with Danny and his preoccupation about his lost cars, was taking it's toll. I had no time for quiet and myself. When I did have a spare moment I was consumed with "busy work" like countless applications to brain injury associations, state waiver programs and funding sources for better doctors and treatments. I also was trying to have Danny do at home all the things he was being taught in his therapies. No easy task. His attention span was short and he had little motivation.

I was still trying to get him to eat better and gain weight. He would eat one or two things on his plate and leave the carbs. He also was asking for salad alot, but there wasnt much to fatten him up in that. The rehab nurse said to try to push pasta, potatoes and such.

Danny was becoming clingy toward the end of March. He was very emotional, and wanted me to hold him all the time. He called me sometimes at work begging me to come home, and a few times he called and left voice mails on my phone but was calling me the name of his old girlfriend in Germany. As the month wore into April and May the mistaking me for other old partners increased. I found it hurtful, even though logic told me he couldn't help it. 

Life was a true juggling act, my segments of time revolving through the air as I tried to balance more than I felt I could manage at times. I cried a lot. I cried sometimes for no apparent reason even. My days were peppered with spurts of anxiety and depression.

Mid month we stayed the weekend at his cousin Sherry's. She tried to work through the car thing with him, and we had to continue what I did at home...telling him he could not drive and hiding my keys. Saturday night Danny went outside saying he was going to drive my car. We knew he didn't have the keys so we weren't worried. Imagine our surprise when we heard my car start! Sherry ran outside to the driveway like a bat outta hell, reached inside, and out of the ignition she pulls a PUMPKIN CARVER! You know, the ones that come in those little carving sets you can buy to make your jack-o-lantern!!

I took Danny and Nick for haircuts at Walmart at the end of March. I was surprised he tolerated it well. A day... a week later, he had, and still has no recollection of it.

Physical, and later occupational therapies stopped at the end of the month, the therapists saying he'd reached all his goals with balance, strength, and mobility. Speech (cognitive) therapy would continue, indefinately as this was Danny's severe disability.

My journal entry from my Brain Injury Support site...detailing my desperation that month....

bad days are hard for me... Mood
Sunday, March 6, 2011 | A Frustrating story
I dont feel so wonderful. I feel sad and confused. I think Ive been neglecting myself and my nerves are shot. 
The therapists say to redirect Danny to reality when he talks....but its non-stop. I cant do it 24/7 and its getting to me. Im just having a bad day.
 He wont eat and thats upsetting me. His weight is dropping. He is starting to give me a hard time abt taking his pills too, again. Sometimes he doesnt know who I am. I let it hurt my feelings even tho logic tells me it shouldnt. I have so much paperwork to start and to finish, and I feel like a scatter-brain. I havent been taking my celexa consistantly, sometimes i just forget. I know thats part of my mood problem too. Ive been crying at the drop of a hat. I need to make a dr appt for myself. I have to get on an ADD med somehow. I need energy. 
Weekends seem to be worse cuz the constant routine of therapy during the week seems to keep him better oriented. And when theres a day of visitors like yesterday he seems to be worse later. IDK. Im just hangin in. I have so much to do in the house and suddenly no one seems to be helping out. Everyone has their own shit going on. 
I need to get away with just Danny and Nick this weekend coming, either to Sherrys or Barbs. I need a break. And the agency that is supposed to help assess us for eligibility for outside help has been nothing but red tape and a run around. I just keep going on and hoping it gets better. 
Dannys getting very emotional again cuz his self awareness is returning and he's upset abt his confusion and inability to remember things. I just need more prayers from everyone...please....I know all anyone can say is that it gets better....slowly, but it helps at least to vent where you all understand.

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

The CARS...and other lost items

On the balmy day of March 11, Danny casually asked me a question, which I chalked up to another confused delusion that wouldn't amount to much...."Where are my cars?"
"What cars?" I asked. What do I MEAN, what cars? He went on to say that he had 6 or 7 cars which he gave to someone to sell when he left for Germany...or did he just give them to this person to watch over, or fix? He went on and on about it later in the day. He named the types of cars they were...his dad's Bonneville, a Camaro, a Mazda RX7, a black Jeep Eagle and several others. Some of these I knew had existed in the past, and some I hadn't heard of.
The next day he started up again about it. He thought 2 of his  cousins, who he incidently never had any relationship with, had them and had agreed to sell them...but he was given the first 400 bux and never a cent more. He was angry about it.
As the days wore on, he talked about it more and more. It became an obsession. He became radical about it. He started following me room to room ranting about it all day long. They wont give them back. They are hiding them. I am telling them not to give them back. I have the keys to them, etc.
We made calls to his aunt, uncle, sister, mom, cousins. They explained what happened to the cars they knew of...smashed, broken and junked etc. Danny wasn't accepting the explanation. 
As time progressed and we moved through the month of March, more and more cars were added to the list, until there were about 13 to 16 of them, and ones that I KNEW he never had. A Lamborgini, TWO RX7s, two camaros, a TransAm, an Eclipse etc etc.

Danny went on from morning til night about this, only letting it rest sometimes for a day here and there, and when he was sleeping. He was becoming irate. He wanted to call the local police, the state police, his command post in the army, the CIA and FBI. He was on and off with his coat, ranting and complaining. He called other relatives....the ones he actually said HAD all the cars. They of course were clueless.

After awhile it became so that Danny would pile us into the car and make me drive all over the countryside looking. Maybe they were at his boyhood/teenage house...he remembered seeing them there. Or some garage where he used to live. Or on a mountainside near the "camp zone" (another mythical place from within his juggled memory). We visited more people asking questions. I felt so embarrassed for him as he told people about this. Most knew he'd been in a wreck and was injured, but they had no clue that he was this way. I would try to shoot them "looks" so Danny couldnt see me, to try to get them to realize he was so very confused, but that he actually believed what he was saying.

This went on for almost two months straight...daily. So many car rides to look for them, so many discussions and debates. I began to realize that altho his cognitive therapist and doctor said to try to "orient him to reality", this would only anger him and escalate the situation. I decided it best just to agree when possible. It wasn't like I was going to make him believe something that wasn't true...he believed it anyway! I was sooo exhausted and irritable from the constant search. He wanted to drive my car to look for them and I had to start hiding my keys all the time.

There were other items he was missing as a credit card he insisted he had given me to hold for him that had a tiger on it...or sometimes he said plants were pictured on it. At times he thought it was an army debit card, at other times it was just a regular credit card. Then he came to the conclusion that he had used this particular card to purchase all "the cars" over the internet and that he was now so in debt because they were withdrawing the payments from this (apparently bottomless) card.

He wanted to know where his big black box of cds was (I never saw any of these things), and his military ID card...where was THAT? And his black cell phone...not the one he had at the time of the accident, but another one he insisted he had since the accident.

He eventually got so radical about the cars that I had to schedule an emergency appointment with a doctor. I was near nuts. I could imagine the folks in his family, shrinking when they look at their caller ID, KNOWING it was Danny to go over the whole car thing yet again. Family would ask "Has Danny been asking about 'the cars' today?"  THE CARS, as it became rather affectionately called....well, I guess thats the wrong word. 

As time went on he mentioned the cars less and less. He would discuss it more and more calmly. About two months ago (July) he was mentioning it barely at all. In August he would ask me when he started asking about cars that he had, and just today I asked him if he still believes he had a Lamborgini. He said "no"...I asked if he thinks its POSSIBLE he had one...he said "Yes...I'm still wondering if I could have bought them."