Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Amnesia

Retrograde Amnesia -- a person's pre-existing memories are lost to conscious recollection, beyond an ordinary degree of forgetfulness. The person may be able to memorize new things that occurs after the onset of amnesia, but is unable to recall some or all of their life or identity prior to the onset.
I've been struggling with weather or not i should blog about this, but this is something that right now is really most definitely affecting me. Chances are i won't publish this post because more then anything i'm venting, but i kind of need to throw this out into the void so maybe not, so humor me today.

This handsome man is my father.
I'm absolutely a daddy's girl. I love my dad. Not that i'm putting him on a pedestal, but my dad is one of my favorite people i know. He's a good man, and a great example. He has his faults, some more then others, but he admits them, and one of the good things about him is that he's humble enough to make the efforts to right his wrongs. And that great example part about him, the part where he loves his family and appreciates everything that he has and everyone around him, and would give the shirt off his back if you asked... that's the part that i love about him. He can seem like a bear sometimes, but he's really a gentle giant. All the good things about him are the good things i was looking for when i found Husband.
This past week, while my dad was rotating the tires on my step-mom's car, he fell in the garage and hit his head. My step-mom heard him cry out and found him on the ground with a huge welt on the side of his head which she thinks he got from hitting his head on a propane tank. He was taken to the hospital, scanned, tested and monitored while he was in and out of consciousness, and initially was diagnosed with a concussion. There was nothing bleeding or broken and his scans were all normal. But after he woke up, when anyone tried to talk to him, he kept pointing to his ears saying he couldn't hear anything. The kicker was when he got to focus on his wife Cindy and asked who she was. It was the same thing through the afternoon whenever he woke up: "I can't hear you. My head hurts. Who are you?", so amnesia was added on to his diagnoses. Once he started getting his hearing back a little he said he was hungry. He was sent home and told to do nothing but rest for the next 3 days and was scheduled to see a neurologist in Salt Lake on day 4.
When he got home, he didn't recognize it. He asked his wife to show him where he could lay down. Nothing is familiar to him right now. He doesn't know his home or his family, and doesn't recognize anyone that stops by to see him. So far, its embarrassing, confusing and frustrating for him when he knows he can't remember something. He's still has his basic living skills though; walking and talking and reading and all that. But he's not able to express himself as articulately as he usually does. He takes his time thinking for the right words. For him, usually when he's frustrated and tired, he's a grouch, but i've been talking with my step-mom and she says he's actually being very pleasant and patient. He just excuses himself and asks for a little space. I got to talk to him today for his birthday, and he sounds like himself for the most part, he still thinks the same way. He was saying me a lot of the little jokes he says when we talk about his weight or something, and he was proud to hear all the good things that are going on for everyone, so he's still the same person. When my step-mom gave him a driving tour of their town the other day, he knew he loved Arctic Circle and wanted to stop there for lunch, which is something very typical for him to want to do. When they went to Salt Lake for his neurology appointment, Salt Lake being where he grew up, he recognized parts of it. The house where his mother lived, and those kids of places. He kind of knew his way around, and while he was talking to a Air Force vet at the VA hospital that served in Korea, he remembered, on his own, his favorite uncle who also served in Korea. Also on his own he has been able to remember that he has 3 sisters and a brother, and Cindy fills him in when he asks for it. But usually he only wants little doses of information before its too much to comprehend. He's been shown pictures, and he recognizes himself in them, and he thought he knew who his uncle was in the same picture, but my brother and i were new to him. People and places are still knew to him, and its going to take some time. He's very positive about all of it though, so i think that's really good. When i was telling him tonight about places we've lived, he was very excited to hear of all the things he's done (like living on Guam, and Scuba diving), and he thinks its very interesting that he has so many guns ans SO much stuff for reloading bullets. I think he was kind of laughing at himself the way he was talking about it. He's positive about everything, and that's the part that matters.
When i found out what had happened, I cried. I admit it. There wasn't anything else i could do. The last few days, just thinking about him makes me tear up. I cry for him, and the thought of how hard it is for him through all of this. And, selfish person that i am, i cry for me knowing my father, the man i deeply love and am constantly turning to for advice and comfort, the man that helped raise me with my mother...that mad doesn't know or remember me at all. So this moment --

the one where we dance at my wedding, is lost to him right now. All my special memories with him are lost to him. He doesn't know me, his first born. And there isn't anything i can do to help him right now. Nothing is going to help him but time and faith right now.
About 2 years ago he started writing his personal history down, made a whole book about his life and things he could remember. This December he got all the way up to the part where he started dating my step-mom Cindy, which is something she remembers very well and can definitely fill him in on, so he has that to go to if this takes a while to get over. And if i can't be there for him, the person i trust more then anyone to help him through all this is Cindy. She's a blessing to our family, and most absolutely to him, and she has been for 10 years now. I know how hard it is for me, all the way in California, so i can only imagine what this is doing to her, having the man she loves not know who she is or how much they really love each other. But she's being strong, and positive, and he is too, and she's there for him all the time to help him. He wants to remember, he just knows its going to take some time. He's looking through pictures, and he's reading the books he keeps by his bed (about his guns and reloading), and he's retaining everything about all of it really easily, which is very typical for his type of amnesia. He was spouting out all kinds of information he read today like its second nature to him, which it is to him really, so these are all good things. More then anything its hard knowing he doesn't know us right now, but after talking to him today finally, i have a lot of hope that things will come back to him in time.
So family and friends, i'm asking for everyone to remember my dad Mario in your prayers for the next little while. We all feel like things are going to be ok in the end, that this is just a temporary trial and that he'll get his memories back. But until that happens, we're asking for some Divine comfort and help from Heavenly Father, and a little extra happy positive loving thoughts sent our way.
And thanks, for letting me vent today ;]

7 comments:

Jenny said...

Call me if you want to talk... I've going through basically the same thing. My grandpa fell off a ladder about a little over a week ago and has been in intensive care. He doesn't remember me. It sucks and I've cried a lot. I'll pray for your dad. I have school off today because of snow, so we can chat, even if you don't want to talk about your dad. If you don't have my number, FB me.

Portia said...

Cassie, I'm so sorry to hear about this. Your post made me cry. I will be thinking of you guys and your dad.
Love you,

Portia

Tasha said...

Wow, that would be soooo hard. We will remember him in our prayers, hope you are doing ok.

Natalie Jo said...

Cassie,

We're praying for your family. We'll add your's and your dad's name to the prayer roll at the temple. Let us know if we can do anything! I hope the doctor's can figure out what's going on and find a way to help your dad!

With love,
Jacob and Natalie

Anonymous said...

Cassie, Im so sorry to hear this about your dad! I will most definitley keep him, and your family in my prayers! Let me know if you need anything!!!
Marie

diaryofaredhead said...

I have been thinking about you all week. I just want you to know that I am sending prayers your way, for both you and your family.
Heather (Harty) Clement

nicwoo said...

I'm so sorry, sweetheart! I understand, don't think you are being selfish. What is making it the best it could be is the good nature of everyone. You're not wasting any time with channeling that. Take Care, to you and your family.