Things that might help Mike

Had some brainstorming this morning. (I'm feeling a little manic... Thank you DnD coffee.) So here's what I've got for you: A) hints to help maximize your visit with Mike and B) a few items that he might be able to use.

A) Hints to maximize your visit with Mike (he's still in 9308 Gibbon until otherwise notified).

The speech pathologist who visited a few days ago suggested that because of the pressure on the frontal lobe, Mike has a hard time paying attention and multitasking. We're all used to the old Mike who can talk about 7 different things at once while playing a game on his palm pilot, eating dinner, and watching TV. If you try to get Mike to engage in that many topics/activites at one time, he will go along with you, but I think it may be a little overwhelming.

So - If you show up at mealtime, help him with his food, talk to him about what's on his plate - and remind him what's where (drink, potatoes, fork) and what kind of fun yummy stuff he's got to eat.

When he's not eating, talk about whatever - joke around like normal, but if there are more than 2 people visiting, just try not to overwhelm him with information and too much chatter (i'm still working on that one myself... shocker).

If you show up and the TV is on, ask him if you can turn it off. The clicker is a big white thing next to him on the bed. If the TV is on, he can't really pay attention to anything else. Actually, come to think of it - he was always like this, even B.S.F.T.(Before stupid f*cking tumor).

B) Items Mike might make good use of

(If you're interested in helping get these items to Mike, please post a comment to that effect. The last thing I need is 19 magnifying glasses!)

Borrowing a polaroid camera and film to keep in Mike's room. My friend Jenna (speech pathologist) suggested that we could use a camera to take photos of each person who visits during the day. We can use a sharpie to write the date and time on the pictures (yes, just like the ComedySportz hall of fame!) and in the evening, whoever is with Mike at dinner could review who had visited. Also, perhaps if you're visiting Mike during the day, before you leave you could write a little note saying what kinds of things you discussed with Mike that day. Then, whoever is there at dinner can go over not only the photos, but also what kinds of things you chatted about or did together during your visit.

By the way, I don't think we should feel like these kinds of things are patronizing to Michael. I tell him matter-of-factly that he has been having short-term memory issues and we're trying to help him with various activities and tricks. He's very receptive to this and never seems to resent the help.

Finally, a magnifying page... one of those giant magnifying glasses like the one shown in the picture above. Not sure if it will help, but I know he can read some really large print and he seems interested in leafing through magazines. Thought this could help.

Thanks for all the encouragement and for embracing this situation and not shying away from us. The only thing that would really make this unbearably awful is if our friends found the whole thing so freaky that they backed away. We're lucky so many of you are so weird yourselves that you're willing to embrace our whacky friend Mike. I'm loving you all. So is Mike. Even if he is the president.


francine said...

Hey Danna:
Just thought I'd pass this on in case you're interested.

Brain Tumor Support Group
Hospital of University of Pennsylvania Hospital
3400 Spruce St
1Rhoads Conference Room
Time: 3rd Tuesday of each month, 6:30-8:00 PM
Contact: Stacy Oppleman (215) 746-7742

The Brain said...

Thanks, Francine!

Anonymous said...

Hey Danna,

I have a polaroid camera sitting in my apartment right now, but I'm out of town. If you don't have one already, I'll send Nicole to get it...Russ