BARRY’S JOURNEY No. 20
Barry is getting stuck
Something new is happening with Barry. He is getting stuck.
The first time I noticed it, he was looking at a magazine when the subscription card fell out. Barry reached down to grab it. I was busy answering emails on my computer that I sometimes bring when I visit. I looked up a few minutes later and saw Barry still trying to pick up the card. I watched for a few more minutes while he stayed in the same position, bent over reaching for the card. Finally, I asked, “Are you stuck?” Barry replied, “I’m stuck.” I told him to sit back and helped him straighten up in his chair. This is new and really confusing. Is his brain not telling him what to do next? Can he not follow the steps to finishing what he sets out to do? How do we deal with this?
When I arrived at the care center a few days later, I found Barry in a plank position across his bed. His arms were shaking. I had no idea how long he had been like that. I said, “Are you stuck?” He could barely speak but said, “Yes!” When I helped him stand up, he was scared and exhausted by the ordeal. It must be frightening to realize that you have no idea how to move on to the next step. Poor guy!
I alerted the staff to check on him more often and asked if they had ever seen this before in patients. No one seemed to understand what I was talking about, but everyone agreed to try to check on him more often.
The next time I came to visit, I found him stuck trying to drink water with a straw out of an empty glass — and he had no idea how to stop. I asked, “Are you stuck?” He said, “I’m stuck!” The good news is that I can ask him a question and he can answer me. That is a good thing right?
But I can’t help thinking — what’s next?