I want to tell a few stories that might give examples of my brother’s intelligence.  Sometimes I worry that when I translate his words he sounds cognitively impaired.  He isn’t.  He has just learned that because he is difficult for others to understand he usually keeps things simple.

Three quick stories….when Eddie was first coming out of his coma he could not speak.  He communicated only by blinking or squeezing our hands.  After a while he could point to a laminated card that had the alphabet on it in the order on a keyboard.  He could spell out his thoughts.  His finger had found its function before his mouth. One day I was watching as an occupational therapist asked him orientation questions…these are big with the head injured.  She asked what day it was.  He didn’t know.  She asked what year it was.  He knew that.  She asked why we eat.  He spelled out “hunger.”  She asked why we have houses and waited for the answer she expected…”for shelter.”  Ed’s shaky fingers did not point to the S or H or E or L or T or E or R.  No…he found the E and Q and U and I and T and Y.  The occupational therapist was young, and obviously a renter because she looked bewildered. 

A few summers back my sister and I were cooking some meal for a family gathering. Ed asked if he could go sit on the patio.  We happily wheeled him out and left him there, because he tends to turn into a prince when he is visiting our homes.  He sits and yells our names…”Beth!” or “Vickie!” and then demands something right as we are in the middle of cooking.  We often ignore these bellowed requests which only make the bellowing louder.  So a push to the patio seemed perfect.  Within a few minutes there came a loud crash the yard.  When we got there Ed was laying on the ground, Goldie-Lockish, in a pile of splintered wood that had once been a gorgeous Adirondack chair.  Before we could say anything Ed said, “Beth, it wasn’t my weight. It was the velocity!”  It was an astute answer though I still believe it was both his weight and the velocity of that weight that destroyed my chair.

Lastly, I recently asked Ed, “When you die do you want us to bury or cremate you?”  He looked at me and asked, “Why the hell do you think I will die before you?”  I laughed, then said, “Well Ed, you don’t move that much.  You are over-weight and you have bad circulation.”  He said, “Beth, I have no worries.  I will outlive you!”


He called me intelligent the other day…I thought I would set the record straight on his intelligence.