Wednesday, April 27th 2011
Calm Down and Listen to the Dog

Yesterday I sat on the living room floor with Ethan-11yr and played a card game he’d gotten for Easter. It… didn’t really go all that well. The post-concussion Ethan-11yr has a hard time with short term memory, numbers, and attention span. All of those mattered in the playing of that simple card game. Normally he would have been thinking several plays ahead and strategizing for both of us. Yesterday, I needed to talk him through most of his turns.

It’s supposed to be awhile before all this returns to normal. 6 more weeks, maybe. His attitude is cheerful… in fact, I’d even say that since his head injury he’s significantly more kind. Generous. Cheerful. Sweet.

That’s how I would describe Caden-7yr. And Seth-5yr.  It’s not exactly how I ever would have described Ethan-11yr prior to the head injury. Not that he was a beast or anything… but he was driven, creative, focused, opinionated and really caught up in himself a lot. Now he”ll stop what he’s doing to offer to help a brother with something. Or he’ll share without being asked. Or offer kind, thoughtful compliments to pretty much anyone.  He’s patient. Compassionate. Loving. The child is freakishly sunny.

So much so, that I am a bit disturbed by all of it. I think personality or mood changes after a brain injury are common, but most of what I could find online was about the negative changes in mood or personality. These are not negative changes.

Except I do miss my driven, ambitious, know-it-all, and I’d really like him back, please.  He started speaking in complete sentences WAY too young,  just so he could tell me everything that I was doing wrong as his mother. He started criticizing my driving and navigation skills when he was 18 months old, and telling me what roads I should be on instead.

Now he smiles sweetly and asks me where we’re going, because he forgot.

Or he’ll tell me I did something right.

And it makes me sad.

I just hope he’s okay, and will return to himself one day soon. If not, I could really get used to this new version.  But I don’t want to. And I feel awful writing that, because what if he never goes back to the pre-injury kid and I keep waiting and then… how unfair that would be to him. Even thinking it feels unfair and ungrateful and impatient.

So I guess what I’m saying is Ethan-11yr is recovering beautifully, and had a personality makeover, and I am freaking out anyway and sitting on the couch crying with a computer and a roll of toilet paper because my kid is so nice it’s scary and  i forgot to get tissues at the grocery store today.

Duke is sitting in front of me, silently begging me to go to bed. He won’t go without me. So wrap up the pity party, lady, and let’s go, please, I’m soooo tired.

Yeah, all right.


2 Comments on “Calm Down and Listen to the Dog”

April 28th, 2011
12:24 am

I’m trying to think of something to say that won’t sound trite or something like that. Nothing’s coming to me. But just wanted you to know I am praying for you, and Ethan, and hoping hard that all goes back to normal soon.

April 28th, 2011
9:28 am

Sending cyber hugs your way. Because really – that and prayers are really all we can do. Even if things don’t go back to before, you’ll just learn to adore the new unique Ethan. But most of all remember – God is in control, and he knows what he’s doing. Hang in there Kelsey.

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