April 27, 2012

NO soda left behind

Over the Easter weekend my son and I went by Erik's room.  He was his old teasing self.  When I saw this picture of the two of us I thought that I looked like a giant standing next to Erik.  He's always been a short, stocky guy but lately he seems shorter somehow.   I know I haven't grown taller.
Anyway I was a little worried about him as I left for a week-long vacation with my hubby.  I called and checked on him and heard that he was doing well ... except for one day when he kept pointing to the front doors with a sad expression on his face.  The receptionist there was wonderful.  She asked if he missed me and gave him a big hug.  What a blessing the staff has been to him - and to me.

Well, we returned from our trip and  I had to go see Erik right away to get his laundry AND to let him know we hadn't forgotten his birthday.   He turned 52 while we were on our trip.   Erik used to anticipate his birthday for months, always reminding me of it whenever we talked, I mean EVERY time we talked.   Now after speaking to him about his birthday when I got back I'm not even sure he knew what I was talking about.  
Anyway we had a plan to celebrate the occasion - whether he understood what it was or not.   We (hubby and I) went by his room with a gift from mom. Inside was a new shirt and cap.  He wanted to put them on right away.  Doesn't he look great?

So handsome for a 52 year old.
We told him we were taking him out to dinner.  That got him excited!  We got into our van and drove to Appleby's.  He was thrilled to be going to a restaurant.   When we sat down we looked at the menu and I pretty much knew what he'd like, a cheeseburger.  So we ordered that and he was smiling and winking at us, so happy!!  He got his soda and then his burger and fries.   Toward the end of the meal he made a motion to me like he was drinking a soda and I thought he was telling me he wanted to take the rest of his soda back home so I asked the waiter to bring a to-go cup.  The waiter said he'd bring a fresh soda in a to-go cup.   He did and it was time to leave.  But Erik was not leaving without finishing his first soda.  He gulped it down. There would be NO soda left behind.   We left and got into the car with his fresh soda.   Hubby and I were a little concerned that he not have too much to drink because lately he's had a hard time making it to the bathroom in time, especially when he's had lots to drink.  So I kept the fresh soda in the backseat, thinking he'd forget about it - hoping he would.  I know, horrible sister.   

Well, we got back to his home and, then guess what!   He refused to leave the van.  He sat there, arms crossed, grinning, listening to our pleas to "come on, Erik, time to go".  He just sat.  Nothing would get him to move UNTIL I retrieved the to-go soda out of the backseat and held it outside the van!  Then he got out and we went in, all while he was laughing at us.   That stinker!   We went to his room and got him situated and we started playing with his Dallas Cowboy football.  He was acting so tough, throwing it very hard at my hubby and then looking at him with a tough guy look and laughing.

We never know what out visits with Erik will be like.  This visit was confusing on many levels but that's kind of 'what it is' now.   The following night a family party was held at his home. Entertainment and refreshments.  They're always fun.  So we went.  Erik absolutely loved the singing, he sang right along, loudly, with tears in his eyes.  He tried to eat a cupcake. I rescued the paper part of it right before it went in with all the rest, his fingers, clothes and face totally covered in cupcake.  Oh my goodness.   One day I saw him with the snack they gave everybody, some banana bread cubes and orange slices.  Before I could prevent it, he took the orange slice and ate it, rind and all!  

Today I got a call that his belt broke and he was pretty upset about it.   I'll be buying him a new one first thing tomorrow.  Life with Erik is not boring.

April 11, 2012


Hi everybody.  Greetings from Texas again.  

How are things with my brother, Erik?  The happiest news I've had lately is that on 2 occasions I've gone into E's room to visit him and found him napping on his bed and NOT struggling with sleep apnea.  He was breathing peacefully.  I cannot tell you how glad I was to see that.  I don't know if this is happening all the time and what brought it about but thank you, Lord! 

See that key around Erik's neck?  Well, it goes to his room and it was given to me when Erik moved in.  I was unaware it fell off my keychain onto Erik's floor.  Well, Erik found it and latched on to it.  Then he kept losing it. (Erik doesn't keep track of many things well, except maybe sodas or his beloved blue pajamas.)  One day I found it stuck in a drawer.  Then it went missing again, for about a week.  Until today. The staff finally discovered it, don't know where.  I had looked all over his room for it.

 This picture is of Erik and his favorite furry friend.  I've been told he sometimes spends up to 45 minutes gently petting her.  What a blessing for both of them.

 A few weeks ago there was a big family party at Erik's home. They have them every month.  My hubby and I went and it was a blast. A musician was invited to come and entertain everyone.  He sings all the oldies and everyone loved it, especially you-know-who!  He kept smiling, clapping and singing.  The entertainer did an Elvis song (Hound Dog) and, if you know Erik, he was very happy.  He even got up and danced.
 They served cheesecake at this party and that's one of Erik's favorites too. He polished off his plate and before I knew it, he took my plate and finished it off too!   I'm so glad we got to attend this party with Erik.  He'd been a little grumpy day that day so it was a good ending.  And the fact that he was wearing his black wind pants backwards that evening just made me chuckle.
 Several of the residents at Erik's home have stopped me and told me things that have made my heart rejoice.  One lady said "Erik came and shook my hand this morning".  Another said "Erik comes and sits with me when I play solitaire".  One lady knows Erik loves to tease and she gives it right back to him.   Another woman told me Erik brought "his book" to her to share.  She liked it because it was about his previous group home.  I've seen Erik with some of these ladies.  He's soaking up their attention.  I saw him, surrounded by a group of them, actually point to his cheek and hold it up to get a kiss. That sly guy.  

Last weekend my son visited Erik with me and Erik was in the mood for fun.  He pointed to a corner in the room to get his attention over there all the while preparing to blast him with his tricks.  Look at that face of determination.

Hey Uncle Erik, you tricked me again!
I've grown very fond of Erik's teasing.  I know I mention it often but I'm just so grateful to have this interaction in our relationship since Erik is non-verbal.  It shows me he's in a good mood, gives us something to laugh about and brings us closer.  Haha, I wonder what he'll do today.