Neuropsyched up!

We went to see Shade’s new Neuropsychologist today, Dr. Westerveld. Shade’s therapists have been recommending for ages that we take him to a neuropsych, so we made the appointment, but we really didn’t know what he was going to do.  And today he didn’t do much except ask us questions about Shade’s entire history from the womb to that room. The good doctor wanted to get a full medical picture of Shade before his next appointment, which is in a week and a half, during which time Shade will do a battery of tests that will take a good 5 to 6 hours. They’re fun stuff supposedly. No dodging electrified swinging barbed wire or trying to outwit a chicken at tic tac toe. (Although those both sound fun to me. Sounds like the Savage Race. You guys ready to run that with me?)

The goal is to pinpoint what exactly Shade is capable of neurologically and where he falters. Then they can devise strategies around those weaknesses. Furthermore, Dr. Westerveld said they will teach Shade how to cope with his situation and how to teach others to deal with it, too. In other words, Shade will acquire better mechanisms for educating the starers and standoffish, those who look at a kid in a wheelchair and think he’s not a normal kid. (Though, to be fair, Shade was never normal. He’s always been a freak, just like Daddy. And that’s how we both like it.) But I like that Shade will have some strategies in his back pocket to counteract his annoyance with people who don’t get it.

Dr. Westerfeld used as an example the situation when Shade is talking and people cut him off because he speaks slower than the average bear. The doc said it is perfectly fine to hold up a hand and say to the person, “Hey, I’m not finished yet. I talk a bit slower, but I want to complete my thought.” Damned straight! (Even I’ve been guilty of finishing his thoughts, so that kicked a little reality into my empty bucket of a head. The boy has a creative mind and plenty of ideas and he should be allowed to speak his full mind. Another lesson in patience for me and everyone else.)

After one visit, we don’t know a lot about what Dr. Westerveld is actually going to do, but both Aitza and I felt good about the visit. He was very forthcoming about information and he seemed genuinely excited about helping Shade. He said that Shade’s injury is very unique because every patient has a different response to traumatic brain injuries and to rehabilitation. However, he knows of another patient of his, a 15 year old boy, who had a very similar bleed at about the same age with similar problems as Shade. The boy is now walking with a cane and driving a car (restricted license I suppose). The doc said he’ll ask the parents if we can chat with him. That could answer a lot of questions and give us more hope for the future.

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