I met with the men who run the program Eddie lives in.  Since I’ve been blogging I’ve decided I need to get more involved with his world.  Sure we talked about the history of the program…what has gone well and what has gone poorly.  We discussed how innovative programs can get stale over time and what it takes to reinvigorate them, how staff can get stuck in ruts, how easy it is to start rigid stories about clients and their family…and conversely about administration and staff.  How to work together to make the program better.

Whatever….what I really wanted to do was to plant a seed…and I did.

It used to be that the head injured clients were integrated into our community.  They had a presence.  The head injured are mostly a funny crew.  Just because they are head injured does not mean there is anything similar about them.  Where in the brain their injury occurred determines everything.  Eddie’s brain was injured at the stem…so his motor skills are greatly compromised though his intelligence and cognition are in the same sorry state they were before his accident….neither disabled or enriched by the trauma!  Others who live there have bodies that work just fine but their cognition, their memories, their emotions, their ability to communicate, the personalities….all these can be altered…severely.

So they are quite varied in ability and disability.  Many of them have been so for a very long time.  And…as they’ve settled into their new lives….and they often become characters.

Eddie is certainly a character. 

He used to make the paper a lot.  The other head injured folks did too.  There used to be an annual 5-K run that was so funny and dear…kind of like a sweet zombie run.  The runners mixed with the likes of Eddie…volunteers and family members assisted the lumberers…cameras clicked…video feeds whirled.  We all laughed so hard it lasted a year.

So…my secret plan…the seed…to get them out there again.  There is no telling what caused the slow sequestering of them as a group…but it is time to reintegrate.

I like the idea of re-introducing the 5-K.  I think it would be hysterical to have it near Halloween and call it The Zombie Walk/Run so the head injured would have an advantage of naturally moving like Zombies, but you never what might offend the head injured or their families.  Ed would think it was hysterical.

But my odd dream is to have them in our parades.  We have the dullest parades in this great country…and they are incredibly well attended.  I have no idea why.  There is usually just flatbed truck after flatbed truck with folks sitting and waving like manikins.  It is so very sad and uncreative it makes me want to cry.

The highlight are the Shriners in their little cars and motorcycles zigzagging….they are like rock stars in this town. 

So…move over Fez Heads….I want to start a marching band…okay…a wheelchair-sync band…it will only have to be mildly funny for it to win the hearts of this good, but dull community!!!   I cannot tell you the joy it would give my brother to have folks clapping and waving as he does something a little funny.  Between sitting in the middle of the Barnum and Bailey Circus…and his huge talent show win…Ed has come to adore the limelight….oh yeah, most of us do!

Seed planted….the Fourth of July is only 75 days away.