S Clay Wilson was trying to get home from a friend’s house November 1, 2008, the night his life changed forever. We will never be certain if he fell or was attacked, since he has no memory of it. The numerous injuries on his face and head made him look like he was beat up. Two good samaritans found him unconscious between parked cars, face down in the rain, and called an ambulance. (I have tried to find them in order to express my gratitude for saving his life, but have had no success.) He’d suffered a Traumatic Brain Injury, bleeding in three hemispheres of his brain. He spent three weeks in a coma, and we had no idea how severely impaired he was for many months. Once he began to speak again we realized he hadn’t just “awakened” to resume life as it had been before.
Can’t believe I am posting this the day AFTER, but here we are outside yesterday, posing in front of our traditional Ceremonial Dead Cat and Mouse, following a brisk walk around the block. It’s been rainy off and on the past week, making it a bit muggy in the Bay Area, and warm enough for costumed Trick or Treaters to cruise around without any cumbersome coats. Just an umbrella would do. We heard lots of comments about our window, but only one knock at the door. CHICKENS!
Last Saturday, our friend Jim McCrary came from Lawrence Fucking Kansas with this fabulous t-shirt. I forgot to take photos of him, so I’m posting one from his last visit, a few years ago. (The handsome devil hasn’t aged a day!) love you, Jim. Here’s W. In his T-shirt!
Wilson came home from the Tunnell Nursing Facility last week! It has been so great having him home where I can look at him anytime I want . The nurses and therapists come a couple of times a week now, and will for about the next two months.. It has recently become a bit daunting to take care of him, since he is getting older and more frail. I’m hunting for a weekend caregiver, since doing it all by myself from Friday to Monday is more challenging now that I’m in so much pain. Once I’ve had spine & hip surgery, I’m hoping to be ambulatory once again. I’m just having trouble with finding the right doctors, and being cleared for surgery. What a nightmare….but enough about me…
He is walking almost too fast for himself! Today, Rena had to stop and push him up against a building on the corner, and soothe him. He had got out of breath, and was panting. She said people walking by were staring at her, as she rubbed his belly and tried to calm him down. Probably thought she was mugging him, molesting him, or committing some bizarre sex act on the elderly! He had been trying to go too fast. He has some muscle spasms, too, as he is weaned off the dementia meds that gave him a repetitive muscle disorder. So he is slowly getting better where that’s concerned. It is great to see those symptoms fall away as he is increasingly more capable of relaxing. It was horrible to watch him spaz away for hours, like Joe Cocker, unable to just lie back, relax, and watch a movie. It’s much better now, and I hope it will disappear completely one day. He was suffering.
Here are some photos of him going out for a walk with Rena. Also, wearing his new shades. They’re not really new…I’m just sharing mine with him! These lenses aren’t dark. They relax your eyes, but they are very safe. His others were a danger, since they were so dark he could trip over something. He likes these a lot, being a collector of shades for many years, like me. So I am happy to give these to him. Looking grooovy…..
I will be decorating the front windows again soon, for Halloween! Come back and take a look in a week or so, as its almost time for the dead cat & mouse to make their annual appearance.
It has been an eventful month. Wilson was doing well learning how to walk again, and even climbing a few stairs. Until about ten days ago, when he fainted upstairs in the gym. It was hot in the direct sun, under the skylight, and they suspect he was dehydrated. He was taken to the ER on Parnassus, where I met him from home. After six hours, though, my legs swelled and turned red, so I was admitted to the ER as well! They brought in a reclining chair so we could be together, which made things much better. After a fourteen hour siege, Wilson was finally admitted to the hospital at 2a.m., and I was discharged to go home. He stayed for three days for tests. I bought him a tiny cuddle buddy in the gift shop. It was a tiny giraffe with floppy arms & legs which I perched on his pillow holding a miniature York peppermint patty and a tiny love note. We named him Mambo, and Wilson holds him constantly. I pet and coo to them both in times of stress, and it brings Wilson some unexpected solace.
We are hoping to bring Wilson home on Friday, September 23rd! I have been sick with a cold for five days, and sound very much like an old man in a trailer park again today. But I hope to be well by then. It’s a bizarre cold I must have caught in the ER. I just hope Wilson doesn’t catch it! I slept all day for the whole weekend, and am not quite over it yet…..I do long for him to come home. Yet I’ve been too sick to interview a new caregiver for the weekends. I can’t do this by myself any more, so a second caregiver is needed now. I just don’t want to be Typhoid Mary in the process. I hope to find people willing to work two days a week very soon! I’ll call the list tomorrow, and see if anyone is interested.
ill try to attach these other photos now. I’ve tried to write this THREE TIMES now today, and have lost the whole thing each time. So maddening. Wish me luck.
Wilson and Lorraine Chamberlain were married in the company of Spain Rodriguez, Susan Stern and Skip Ziobran on Aug 10, 2010 at City Hall. It was a glorious day, Calloo! Callay! We chortled in our joy……
However, instead of celebrating, we need to move him to Tunnell Center on Pine Street. He cannot walk, and we need a moment to hire more help, and get the proper equipment. Wish us luck.
Wilson was much improved today, as you can see by his peaches & cream complexion, bright eyes, and the sweet expression on his face. He had just been grinning from ear to ear! His attitude was much improved, with lots of mystifying comments
in his own special language……to which I frequently reply with “oh really? Well that’s good” or the like. He is happy when I agree with him, so I do. I really do!
Tomorrow I hope to speak with his doctors and get a plan in place for returning home just as soon as it’s safe, and he is really well.
It has been a challenge going up there to the hospital, since I’m getting profoundly crippled lately, and need to be in the hospital my own self!
Just as soon as Wilson is all squared away, I will then make a plan for some much-needed repairs on my own body. I am in magnificent pain, which cannot continue or I will go mad, very much like my grandmother did at age 52. At least I’ve made it twenty more years than she did. But I need to return to good health, so Wilson and I can truly return to having fun with the last few years of our lives, and enjoy each other, our friends, and this beautiful world.
I had to dial 911 yesterday,taking Wilson to the ER as guests were arriving for his belated birthday party. He couldn’t take a step, nor answer any questions. His blood pressure was ok, but He was running a fever. He has an infection in the brain shunt, and they are performing revision surgery on it this afternoon. I am very worried. I will let you know how he is doing when I know more.
Incidentally, anyone who sent cards to our PO Box might have had it returned. I didn’t realize it was time to pay for it again, and hadn’t checked it for two weeks! I’m just so crippled lately. It’s difficult to go there, and I had let it go too long. Instead of notifying me, they simply returned everything. It is still the same number. It’s all functioning again. You can send it back!
Wilson turns 75 today! Kevin Webster made him this fabulous mask which I will frame rather than cut out, it’s such a masterpiece. I’ll give him his ca
rds and read him his birthday wishes & snail mail….but the gathering of The Usual Suspects won’t take place until Sunday, the 31st. This breaks his CARDINAL RULE about celebrating birthdays on the actual day, but it’s a MONDAY, for one thing….and my own health issues are making it better to do later. So next Sunday it is. I’ll post photos of it next week, I promise!
Please send him some birthday wishes & anecdotes here or on his Facebook pages, and I will read them to him.
Wilson will soon be 3/4 of a century old. That’s a pretty big deal. Especially when you take into account the Traumatic Brain Injury he had nearly NINE years ago! I can’t believe it’s been that long.
I want to thank everyone who has donated to the Trust. It has made it possible for me to keep him here at home, where he feels loved and safe. It’s not easy, managing the ongoing care of someone in his condition. He stopped “gettin
g better” many years ago. His dementia has increased noticeably, and he spends much of the afternoon & evening watching movies streaming on the Telly. This keeps him entertained, since he can no longer draw. We take him out for a walk, or for a ride in the car as well, although that is becoming difficult now that my own health is also a challenge. I’m working on it….but things progress very slowly when you’re old and poor in America. Not only is it hard to get ahold of my doctors, Or get an appointment….but it’s almost impossible to get them to talk to EACH OTHER so a plan can be coordinated. I need hip & spine surgery now, as I’m in crippling pain and can barely walk. I need to stay strong so I can keep Wilson out of an institution.
I hope you will donate what you can for this birthday, so we can stay here, and get what we need for Wilson’s ongoing care here at home. It is a lot to ask after all these years, but it’s still possible to communicate with him even though he can rarely speak. I can still make him laugh, and he can still understand he is loved. So it is still vitally important to keep this incredible soul at the home he has lived in for 35 years. He is still IN THERE, even though he can’t tell you about it.
We are having a few of the Usual Suspects over for a little party, and will post pictures of the festivities later on. His birthday is July 25! Please send him a message for me to read to him, too. He loves that.