Tuesday, May 10, 2011

After driving 24 hours, I finally got home late Friday night. I walked in the door and immediately my mom wanted to show me the new bathroom vent. So I walked into the bathroom, saw this toilet contraption, walked into the living room, saw Trevor's wheelchair and had an anxiety attack.

I'm not sure why but I think having handicap accessible things in our home just makes the situation seem more permanent. During Trevor's first rodeo, he was already walking and talking on his own by the time we were home. But this time he still requires 24-hour watch and needs assistance walking. He tries to be independent and walk on his own, forgetting that his balance is not the most reliable. He sort of resembles an 8-month-old as they take their first few steps. His left arm (the mobile one) sticks out completely parallel to the ground whereas his right arm (the immobile one) makes an upside-down ballerina arm curving in a 'C' towards his body. He walks with his right foot pigeon-toed and his left one completely straight and wobbles like a penguin. It's like he's doing the "I'm a little teapot" dance whenever he's standing. He always has both a handle and a spout.

Trevor has to get really creative when it comes to communicating what exactly he wants. Generally it's just a big guessing game, which is frustrating for everyone involved. He does a lot of pointing and saying "alright," which helps nothing. Every time he tries to get up off the couch, we go through a routine asking him what he wants. "Do you have to go to the bathroon?" "Do you want food?" "Do you want to go somewhere?" Your guess is as good as ours at any given moment...


Sunday was Mother's Day and Trevor's 23rd birthday. All my mom wanted for Mother's Day was for all of us to wake up and go to church together. We were all ready to go but when we told Trevor to get in the car he yelled, "No, no, no, no!" So Walker had to stay home while my mom, Payton, my friend Megan and I went to church. We sat through the entire service hoping Walker would somehow convince Trevor to come, but it never happened.

Later Walker and Trevor met us for breakfast. I've determined that him being out in public settings such as this is the best therapy. It makes it so that he can't just lay at home on the couch, but rather has to practice normal modes of communication. I'm sure it's extremely frustrating and embarrassing for him, but I think there's nothing that will help him improve more.

We had Trevor's birthday party at our aunt and uncle's house, where he sat on the couch the entire time. When we were singing happy birthday to him, he laid his head down on the armrest and pretended to be asleep. He had no interest in his gifts, only said "alright" after opening each one, and then said, "welp" and pointed to the door when he was ready to leave. It's depressing how unenthusiastic he is about life, but I guess that's just a consequence of being unable to communicate.


All day I waited for the perfect opportunity to venture to a coffee shop to get started on my book. I finally told my mom and Trevor that I was leaving to go to The Strutt at around 2 p.m.. I went downstairs to get all pretty and as I was brushing my teeth, I saw Trevor’s reflection in the mirror. I looked over and he was standing there with my mom holding his arm and his finger pointed toward the ceiling.

“Whatcha doin’?” I asked.
No response.
“Is there a spider up there?
“Do you want to go get coffee with me?” I asked sarcastically, figuring there was no way he would want to leave the house.
Trevor nodded his head and said, “Alright.”

So I got ready, had my mom help Trevor get ready, and Trevor and I headed to The Strutt. I went about five miles per hour under the speed limit the entire way, which was more obnoxious than a father first driving his newborn baby home from the hospital. There is so much responsibility and liability having Trevor in the car with me. He’s like a 23-year-old man version of Humpty Dumpty. But scarier.

Once we were to the Strutt I helped him out of the car and got him settled at a table with Netflix going on his new iPad, and then I went up to the counter and ordered us coffees, his decaf of course. During the four-ish minutes it took the barista to make our drinks, I probably looked over a hundred times to make sure he was okay. But I didn't want him to know I was worried so I had to try to do it sneakily. I returned to the table, opened my computer and wrote a few paragraphs of my book. He watched the first two minutes of four different movies and then pushed his drink towards me, put his iPad in its case and tried to get up.

“Trevor, do you want to go home?”
“Do you have to go to the bathroom?”
“Do you want to go somewhere else?”
He nods his head.

Oh, great, now I had to somehow figure out where Trevor could possibly want to go. After battling for him to find the words and me to guess what he wanted to do, I gave up and decide to head back home, which was depressing for both of us. An afternoon trip to the coffee shop ended up only lasting 20 minutes. Tops.

If anyone has any ideas as to what a 23-year old man would enjoy that doesn't include drinking, smoking, going to a bar, or anything that seems childish, PLEASE let me know.


  1. Art. I don't work with people who've suffered traumatic brain trauma, but, right now, I work with adults with disabilities. Many cannot communicate in ways easily understood by mainstream society. It's AMAZING to see them participate in art, a mode of expression that knows no limits, bounds, nor must it adhere to any rules. Try it out? Contact me on FB if you want me to connect you with art therapists who can forward you some ideas, I work with several.

    Keep writing. Loves - Dani

  2. I love you Alyssa. You're truly inspiring...Trevor is so lucky to have you as a sister<3