The Bargain

It’s hard to be patient through this process of Ricardo healing. It’s hard to watch him suffer, and be lonely, and realize that there’s not a lot I can do to really make life better for him.

He has been recovering miraculously, don’t get me wrong, but I still cannot imagine how hard this must be for him.

Can you imagine going from being able to do challenging accounting, while listening to a book on tape, playing an online game, all simultaneously–and still turn out flawless work in record time, to three months later taking a test and being told you are moderately to severely impaired in many cognitive functions?

Ricardo is one of the most efficient people I have ever met. He works faster and reads faster than anyone I’ve ever met. He reads something once, hears something once, and that information is his forever. You know the scenes in movies where the mad scientist scribbles out equations on a chalk board as fast as their had can write–I have literally caught Ricardo solving finance equations that he couldn’t quite haggle at work the day before, on the steamy shower wall as he hurriedly got ready.

Fast learner. Check.

Efficient. Check.

Brilliant, great at problem solving, excellent memory. Check, check, check.

He is the complete package for an employer. His exceptional brain is one of his greatest assets and probably the single thing Ricardo prides himself in the most.

Then he wakes up one day and all of these things are a struggle, and not just a little struggle. In some of these areas Ricardo tested below the 10% percentile three months ago, meaning that he is severely impaired.

Severely impaired isn’t a word that’s easy for anyone to swallow, and for Ricardo to be told that many of his cognitive functions are severely impaired has to be like an Olympian, who has trained their whole life, being told they are physically severely impaired and it is unknown how much they will recover.

It has been 6 months!

That’s not an eternity, but it feels like it sometimes. We went to the Neuropsychologist today and,,,I guess I get my hopes up too much sometimes. Maybe I was hoping she was going to say, “Wow, Ricardo, we better test you quick because it looks like you might be ready to go back to work.” She didn’t say anything remotely close to that. He has made big improvements in some areas, and stayed consistent in other areas, according to his speech notes. Overall, I think she thought I was jumping the gun in wanting to talk about when he might be ready to go back to work.

And she’s probably right.

It’s just hard to deal. One thing I really struggle with is that because Ricardo is so brilliant and educated he has a hard time motivating himself to do things like make lists of all the animals he can remember in one minute (which is currently about 6). He needs his therapy, and it is challenging, but he hates doing it, because it seems pointless, and maybe a little degrading for someone as smart as he is. So, right now, he probably averages maybe an hour a day where he is doing something that is really mentally challenging. This concerns me because he needs to be stretching his brain to maximize his recovery!

And you know what is both motivating and mentally challenging for Ricardo?

His job.

The only problem is, he cannot return to work until a doctor can certify that he should be able to do his job with “reasonable accommodations.”

It will probably be months (not really sure how many)…possibly even longer than a year before that will realistically happen. And there is this fear in the back of my mind that tells me that it might never happen. Hopefully that’s not the case, hopefully it’s just a matter of time and hard work and he will gradually get back to his job, but the unknown is killing me here!

It just feels like Ricardo is wasting his time here at home. He wants to be at work. He hates having to do therapy. He hates housework and doesn’t have any desire to be a stay at home dad. He wants to work. And he wants to work at his dream job, where he has great friends, and was excelling and growing so tremendously and rapidly before his massively life changing brain hemorrhage.

He wants this time to just pass and go away. And so, during this time, which is the time he needs to be working the very hardest he has worked in his entire life, he is struggling to even get 10 minutes of speech therapy homework done each day.

Ricardo and I had a good talk about this and we made a deal. He promised to do 2 hours of strenuous mental exercise each day, doing his speech therapy homework, challenging computer games, and a program we are going to try called Lumocity. In return, I promised him I would get in shape, train for, and run a Ragnar Relay and/or a half marathon!

Hopefully then, he won’t be so alone. Hopefully then, he can see that we can still accomplish hard things, together. And hopefully, through this experience, we can both come to believe in each other and in ourselves.

Wish us luck!

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