A Visit With Patty

I know woefully little about brain injury. But I’ve lived through elderly dementia (AKA Alzheimer’s) with both my dad and my grandmother, so my visit with my now conscious cousin Patty wasn’t too far out of my realm of familiarity. The best part is that while Dad and Grandma deteriorated over time, Patty stands an excellent change of getting better.

She doesn’t show much emotion. Her voice is mostly monotone, as if groggy from medication, which I’m sure she is. She tends to give the wrong name to things, but she manages to stay in the right category. For instance, when the nurse asked who I was, she gave a name. Not MY name, but a name. Close enough I told her. Same with her sister who came to visit while I was there. Patty called her by their mother’s name. When asked what color where the daffodils I brought in for her, she gave a color. Not yellow, but a color. It had been a gray, rainy day and I mentioned that it looked like the sun was trying to come out. Patty said, “yeah, but it’s gonna snow.”

She rambled on somewhat, a stream of thought perhaps, some of it making sense, some of it not. But then, she was mumbling and I couldn’t make out a few of her words. Maybe it made perfect sense to her, but she just wasn’t communicating it well. She mentioned things like paperwork and business stuff, things that were always a part of her day-to-day life before the accident. Obviously, the brain is firing, but still has a few shorts in its circuits.

Two names that she spoke and clearly understood were her two little grandsons. Another name that seemed to strike a cord with her was her Aunt Helen, my mom, who raised her. I told her that Aunt Helen was thinking of her and she replied “I know.” I mentioned that I was going to try to bring Aunt Helen in to see her this week and she replied “That would be nice.”

So tomorrow I’m taking my mom into Pittsburgh to see her favorite niece. I think the visit will be good for both of them.


Judy Schneider said…
Oh my, Annette. This is such a difficult process with Patty. And it must be tough for you -- if your mom raised her, she is like a sister to you. I'm so sorry, but it does sound like she's making good progress.

Did you follow the Bob Woodruff story? His recovery has been absolutely amazing. But I remember seeing footage of him early on in the battle where he couldn't come up with a word for "coffee" but he knew what it was, calling it something like "his morning caffeine." So hopefully Patty's progress will mirror his!

Keep us posted, Annette. And we'll keep praying!

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