It’s been a while since I’ve written specifically about Anne and her recovery. Frankly, it’s because writing requires thinking and thinking about Anne’s recovery is painful.
Don’t get me wrong…our lives with Anne are filled with joy. She’s a precious jewel, and we are so thankful for her. But the joy doesn’t alleviate the pain. Rather, the joy and pain mingle together – coexisting in this relentless “life after brain injury.”
Sometimes it’s hard for me to see the oh-so-slow changes in Anne, but they’re there! She’s getting stronger. As her muscles get stronger, they also have to re-learn how to move with other muscles in order to do the simplest task – such as standing up from a sitting position. Anne still can’t do this consistently. One day she will!
I think the biggest change has been because of a drug we started giving Anne in August. It’s not really a drug. It’s labeled a “medical food.” Vayarin‘s website calls it: “an innovative non-drug clinical dietary therapy for managing ADHD symptoms.” Anne did not have ADHD before the accident – it’s just one of the many effects of her extensive brain damage. She is unable to take traditional ADHD medication, so we’re trying the nutritional “medical food” route…
We’ve definitely seen a positive change in Anne over the last few months. She still has an extremely poor attention span and impulse control, but interestingly, her awareness of time has increased. Let me explain.
One of the effects of Anne’s brain injury was that she constantly lived in the present. For Anne, the future was too abstract to grasp and everything that happened in the “past” she thought happened “yesterday.” But now, Anne has a broader awareness of both the future and the past. She can describe with detail everything that happened earlier in the day and understands that some things happened that morning and other things happened the day before. She is also aware that she isn’t stuck in her present – and she can plan to change her present situation. For example, if she is in the living room by herself and doesn’t like it…instead of thinking, “I don’t like this, and I’m very upset,” she can think, “I don’t like this and how can I change this? I can get down off of my chair and scoot around the house on my bottom and go find my mom.” Which is exactly what she does!
This is all very wonderful but awareness of the future also has its downfalls… Now Anne is asking hard questions like, “Mom, I thought this brain injury would be ok, but it’s not. When will it get better?” And…”I pray for God to let me walk again. Why doesn’t God hear my prayers?” In other words, she’s starting to wrestle with a future which is unknown – and forced to trust a God she can’t see. Seeing Anne wrestle with her faith is both heart-wrenching and heart-warming. Much like the mixture of joy and pain I experience every time I look at her. Joy for what she is…Pain for what she’ll never become.
God, I pray for you to reveal yourself to Anne in a way that is unique and meaningful to her. I pray for your comfort for her when she is discouraged and your grace for her when she is angry with you. Please God, use Anne to bring joy to others – redeem her pain and suffering with a divine purpose. Give her joy. Amen.
8 thoughts on “Anne’s Future”
Beautifully written, Kathryn. Fletcher and Gayle were so encouraged by the progress Anne has made over the past year. I’m sure it is easier for us so see the changes since we don’t see her often enough. I’m just grateful she is still making progress. Key.
So sorry we couldn’t make an impromptu ‘date’ at our mutual favorite Mexican restaurant. We’d love to try again!!!
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Your words remind me of the line from the hymn “Sacred Head Now Wounded” that says, “…sorrow and love flow mingled down…”
That is one of my favorite lines of all hymns… the sense that within Christ’s passion on the cross there was a place where sorrow and love come together to create a scandalous kind of beauty.
Such good words! Thank you:)
Joy doesn’t alleviate the pain…the joy and pain mingle together. Beautifully put, Kathryn, and how apt for Anne, for you, and for all of us. Oh, the growing pains of re-learning how to move as muscles gain new strength, and oh the growing pains of testing faith in new knowledge of both pain and joy! Thank you for always pointing us to Christ. Echoing your words of prayer and standing with you before the throne. Xo
Thanks for the encouraging words and for your prayers!
Beautiful. Your love shines & your hope & faith & patience inspires. Prayers are being sent up.
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Lots of big stuff, happening inside our Anne.
Prayers continuing to flow…..
Kathryn, thank you for honestly sharing your joys and sorrows. You were lifted up last Wednesday at church prayer. We love you all so much!