I feel your dark feelings. For six months, I have been living with Hope by my side. Hope has been like an invisible friend … you can’t see her or touch her but you feel comfort from her presence in your life. Now I am finding it hard to even feel hope. How can anyone feel hope when they are depressed. You feel hopeless and there are moments that I am starting to feel hopeless too.
My rational mind is appalled at my thinking. How can I not see hope when I can see you walk with a cane? The fact is … even a physically healthy person can not be hopeful without their mental and emotional health. A person’s mental state trumps everything else.
I am desperate to get help to you. I can’t offer any more help myself. Nothing that I have done has helped you. On my walk to work with Annie, I decide to call your NSRC doctor and found out about the psychologist consult. To date, you are sure you haven’t seen a psychologist, only a social worker.
Dr. Mendez came to visit you today. You said he was very nice and said that you had to keep up the hope. The future will hold things that might help you. No specifics, just vague promises of hope. His area of research in neurology is stem cell therapies. It’s still early. Too early to speculate what can be done. But we can still hope.
This afternoon, Your NSRC doctor returned my call to her. I told her that your emotional state is getting worse. I feel that it is starting to affect me and the children. I asked about the seemingly phantom psychologist. “Oh she has seen him twice now.” Your doctor says.
I told her that I don’t believe that you know who your psychologist is because you told me that you hadn’t seen a psychologist yet. Your memory is good. You know the names and positions of all the key team members as well as most of the nursing staff who come and go, depending on the shift. Yet for some reason you didn’t know who the psychologist was. Your doctor promises to ensure that you understand who your psychologist is.
I am meeting with my own psychologist on Thursday to try and sort through the crap that is going on in my head. I hope to learn some strategies from her to help you through the dark times. Your NSRC doctor said that thoughts that circle around and around are a common result for brain injured people. She felt that we could learn ways to help you ‘re-frame’ your dark thought.
She also mentioned a therapist at the NSRC who is working towards being a family counselor. She felt that he might be of some help to us as a family. She had heard that Dr. Mendez had come to visit you. I guess that Dr. Mendez can’t sneak into places like the NSRC.
We talked a bit about stem cell therapy. I mentioned that I imagine the onset of stem cell treatments is going to change how rehabilitation medicine is done. She agreed and said, in fact, that the annual meeting for rehab medicine this year was about that very thought. There are some exciting times ahead for brain injured people. I hope that you will benefit from it.
Since our family meeting a few weeks ago, I have tried to educated myself on left neglect and various therapies for it. There are some drugs that can be used with mixed results and some other mechanical therapies. I wanted to know more about what works and what doesn’t. You have been started on a new drug for left neglect that is used for Parkinson’s patients.
We talked a bit about strategies for coping with left neglect. A therapy called the Lighthouse strategy was discussed. Your OT had given me a copy of it to read. Your NSRC doctor feels that this is a worthwhile undertaking.
Today, you had a great session with your PT. She knows just what to say to motivate you. You did more walking with the cane and did the stairs twice! Tomorrow, your PT suggested that she might set you up on a treadmill! You are quite excited about this idea. The treadmill that we have at home could be rigged up with a harness to support you so that you can practice walking safely.
This afternoon, Ann and Paula from Truro came to visit you. Individually, they both are positive and spiritually grounded people, but when they are together, their positive messages almost send you into orbit. This visit was the real pick-me-up of your day.
Tonight’s phone call was the easiest one in a week. No tears! With all the positive messages coming from all directions … Dr. Mendez Hope for the future, PT’s hope for the present and Ann and Paula’s Hope from your community… With all this light being shone on you, how could you feel any darkness?