[DWJ] Dorian

Hallie O'Donovan hallieod at gmail.com
Tue Oct 6 12:44:52 EDT 2015


A small *progress* report, for those who don't belong to the FB group.
(Apologies to those who do, as I believe Patrick and Dorian's parents have
been updating there, and this won't be anything new.)

I started going in to the hospital once a week around the end of April, and
for several months there'd be no real change in her condition between
visits. She did make small improvements even then, but her progress was
slow and late in starting, and that wasn't giving the doctors much reason
to be very hopeful about her long-term recovery. As well as that, there was
this sort of 'deadline' of two years hanging over her; the family was told
that any improvement she was going to make would be within the two years,
and after that, nothing could really be expected.

Around the beginning of August, she started to be quite noticeably more
alert - and if buses got more apparent interest than family or friends, it
was still good. After that, there was a real change in the rate of
improvement, with Dorian showing purposeful movements, like rubbing her
nose, or pushing hair out of her face, which were all completely new.
Patrick said that the occupational therapists were noticing these
improvements too. Their stand-by was tickling her face with a feather, and
that started getting repeated hand-swats: DO NOT WANT. She'll take things
and hand them back to you, push blankets off and even hold your hand down
on the bed if you keep doing the thing she wants you not to do. (That's
Patrick. I usually back down. And, yes, those hospital tissues were *much*
too scratchy. I brought soft ones!) The occupational therapist told Patrick
that typically the things she disliked would be responded to more quickly
than those she liked. No better woman for that! Patrick says he'll be the
happiest husband in Ireland when his wife tells him to F**K off in words,
rather than just disgusted expression.

I was quite excited the week before last when she dabbed her fingers into
the lotion I had in my hand and spread some on her other hand. There's so
much hope in the responses to things that irritate her, but this might have
been even more encouraging, as she was doing something that wasn't a
reaction *against*. You wouldn't say that she's following the story when
you read to her, but it is really obvious now that she's aware of changes
in tone - or snorts of derision, as may be the case. (To Say Nothing of the
Dog. Ned had said how perfectly quiet and relaxing the Victorian era would
be for his recuperation, with its sweet, submissive women. I snorted. She
looked at me intently.)

Not only is the rehab consultant very happy with her improvement, but even
more positively, he's backed away from the two-years-as-recovery-endpoint
stance. That's huge, because every time you were joyful about a big leap in
recovery, you couldn't help but worry that that time was getting ever
closer. Had the doctor known Dorian *before* the accident, he might have
understood that she'd take her own sweet time about recovering if she felt
like it.

There's still a long road ahead of her, but it's so wonderful now that you
can see her being firmly ON that road. All her family are amazing, and I'm
sure everyone will have good thoughts for them as well.

Hallie


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