November 27, 2004
Thanksgiving this year was a difficult time for us this year. We are approaching the 2nd year since Russ had his accident. By any measure we should be ecstatic with the progress Russ has made. †Every doctor who has ever looked at Russ told us to expect a lot less than he has achieved already. The problem is that Russ is not ecstatic at all. As a matter of fact he is not happy at all. Several things have combined to bring Russ down.
First and most importantly we are at a turning point with speech therapy. His therapist is suggesting we slow down or stop. He is still making progress but he doesnít admit that he is making progress. Being unable to speak really bothers Russ. He gets very angry at times and depressed at other times. However, despite the fact that he is angry and depressed he is still not giving up. He has all his exercises written down and he practices them at home by himself. He also went to a website recommended by his therapist and bought a computer program to help him with speech drills. So one minute I see him moping around the house or screaming at me in frustration (yes he can scream, you canít understand any words but he can produce a loud scream) but then an hour later he is stubbornly doing his exercises.
Secondly he doesnít like being home all the time. His summer job at the club ended and he misses going to the club. My brother in law Tom saw an ad for Fedex so Russ applied online and went to an interview. Nothing yet but weíll see.
Thirdly Russ is lonely. It is not normal for a 25 year old to spend all his time with his parents. He very much wants to have a girlfriend but I think his communication problems have caused problems with the girls he has spent time with recently. His friends still keep in touch with him and visit him but they have their own lives and families and donít have time to visit him frequently.
Finally Russ does not admit to having other problems besides speech. I think down deep he knows he has cognitive problems but he adamantly denies them. He is also very sensitive to comments made to him that might relate to brain injury. For example, if we ask him if he remembers someone or something he frequently overreacts and makes a comment that he doesnít have memory problems. But that isnít what we meant we only asked if he remembered something.
Russ is right that he doesnít have memory problems but he does have other problems that are not so obvious. He is susceptible to neuro-fatigue. For example this shows up when he drives. He can only concentrate on driving for about 30 minutes at a time. He also misses details. It is hard to explain it any other way but when he does a project he gets it about 95% right but misses small details that are sometimes important.
I am talking to Russ every day to make sure he recognizes how much progress he has made and I try to give him encouragement that he can still make more gains. We are contacting a referral from his speech therapist to someone who might be able to help him. We are investigating other medical options that may be able to help speech and we are investigating other options for cognitive therapy.
Thanks for your continued support.