Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Andie Update

If you happen to be at the TGI Fridays in Allentown and your waitress can’t exactly get words out quickly, back off and have some patience - that’s my sister Andie. Once she was well enough she went back to waitressing. Since the place was familiar to her it wasn’t bad since she works the slower shifts but there were days that she felt overwhelmed and like she couldn’t keep up and that she should quit. Seems like the rest of the staff thought she was doing fine but she wasn’t confident in herself. Weird that when she first went back she could remember an old list of salad dressings but the new one she’d have trouble with. Her short term memory is still not so good, but she’s learned to make a little notebook of things she wants to remember.

So… now it’s been just over 2 years since she survived a brain aneurysm and things are about to get a little closer to what they had been before she was hospitalized. Since she came out of rehab at Good Shepherd Allentown she’s been living with our parents, and she’s now 53 years old! She just found out that an apartment is available in a building that we applied for on her behalf back when we had no idea how she’d do once she was released from rehab.
Now she’s doing well enough to be independent, though she realizes that she’ll never be quite the same as before her brain injury. She struggles with expressive aphasia (the same thing Gabrielle Giffords has from her gunshot wound) every day… she knows what she wants to say but can’t think of the words to use to get ideas across. She calls herself a window-licker when she’s having difficulty and there are lots of times she gets frustrated in a conversation and just stops talking cause the effort isn’t worth it. When she struggles for words we’re not supposed to fill in the blanks for her – to help her mind do the work but it’s hard not to help when you get the gist of what she’s telling you
My husband Chris says it’s obvious that her sarcastic wit is still there…just lots harder for her to express herself. Once in a while she still feels a “breakthrough” like something gets little easier, and she knows what other people are saying but communication will always be a struggle for her. Now I find myself having more patience with people because you never know what they’ve gone through. I think this new apartment will be a good thing for her.