In a Moment of Time
In a moment of time, one's whole life and circumstances can change. Even when your children are adults, as ours are, what happens in their lives affects us. Last week, my husband and I went out of town with a close family friend so she could attend a training and not have to drive alone. Last Monday night, our older son called and said his brother was acting rather strangely. As a 35 yo with a history of alcohol dependence in the past, my first thought went to, "oh, oh...he started drinking again." Tuesday he was no better and the behavior was becoming more bizarre, so we instructed N (older son) to take P (35 yr old) to the ER. They did a CT scan and preliminary findings indicated acute demyelinating encephalitis...This is an illness that can follow a viral infection, like the flu...He had had a cold a couple of weeks before. He also may have inherited the autoimmune problems that are on my side of the family. The autoimmune issue may have also played a part. We returned from Kansas City the next afternoon (9 hour trip). A spinal tap was performed and an MRI confirmed the ADE. It is a viral infection and it was determined that there is no medicine to kill this virus. The treatment is IV prednisone for 3-5 days to reduce the inflammation so the brain can do its own healing work.
Fortunately there was NO swelling ever in the brain. There is a 70% survival rate with ADE and of the 70%, 2/3 will recover their mental capabilities completely. Each day was filled at first, with prayers for survival. After that was determined, our prayers are now for complete recovery.
P is an attorney with a mind like a steel trap....he is in the process of starting a unique law practice that will mostly be done on line. Like all of us, he has not always made the best decisions in the past and was dealing with those consequences. In the hospital, his mind was obviously affected by the disease. He had to be retrained in basic skills, but, thanks to God, those have returned. There is still some fine tuning yet, however.
We are seeing symptoms of impulsivity, agitation, restlessness, frustration, and an inability to make some wise choices. At this point in time, short, short term memory is a problem. He cannot be left unsupervised at all. He cannot keep track of the simplest things...he is frequently losing his glasses, his contacts, his wallet, his phone...he is not sure where he left his clothes. We are constantly reorienting him. It is very difficult for him on so many levels and us as well. One of the positives is that he figured out how to use most of the functions on his phone and that requires higher level thinking....so the brain connections are there...just not always functioning correctly.
My husband is in his final week of his employment. He is retiring after 47 years with the same company...so this week he has had to be IN the office, finalizing the training of his replacement....(it is taking 2 people right now to replace him!). I have had to be out of my office for almost two weeks now because of P's care needs. If I don't work, I don't get paid since, as a therapist, that is the process in our organization. I don't share this to whine in any way but to give indication of the depth of the stress we are all experiencing. We ARE trusting God to provide in every way for us.
Our church family and friends are upholding us in prayer and offering concrete help, and that is what we believe is making it possible for us to deal in a positive way with all of this.
P is very, very independent and it is very difficult for him to be supervised, questioned, and redirected. It is not easy for us either. He was a very stubborn 2 year old, a very stubborn and defiant teenager, and so some of the symptoms we are seeing are reminiscent of those earlier years.
If any of you pray, we would appreciate prayers for complete healing for him. Please also pray for strength, courage, and wisdom for my husband, N and his wife and our two grandchildren, and for me. I have always suggested to clients how beneficial journaling is. Now I know first hand. And thank you, to whomever developed blogging!
The road ahead is uncertain, but our Guide is beside us and has provided wonderful people to walk with us on the way.
There really has been no questioning of God as to why this has occurred. We are trusting in Him.