Bradley is a fairly new resident of the Care Center where my mother lives. I had the unique experience of visiting with Bradley today during my visit with my mother. Bradley is a nice looking, 57 year-old man, confined to a power wheelchair due to a stroke. Bradley is soft-spoken, kind, and gentle. He has piercing blue eyes that seem to look right through to your very soul. He has a crooked, boyish, smile (mostly caused from one side of his face being pulled due to the stroke he suffered).

I visited with Bradley once before when he sat at the same arts & crafts table as my mother. On that occasion, Bradley quoted the most beautiful poetry complete with author name and date the poem was written. When Bradley is speaking with you, he commands your undivided attention, in part because of his total recall of the details of whatever it is that he is speaking about. When I first met Bradley, I thought to myself how sad it is that he looks so young to be a resident of a 24/7 Skilled Nursing Facility. At that time, I didn’t know the circumstances surround his condition.

Today, as I visited with my mother, Bradley came into the activity room and parked his power wheelchair right next to my mother. He smiled his crooked, boyish, smile, and asked my mother how she was doing. My mother responded that she was doing fine and dismissed him saying she had a visitor…Bradley looked at me, then asked my mother if I was her daughter…to which she responded yes. I could tell Bradley didn’t remember that we already met each other once before. Bradley moved his power wheelchair in front of me and asked my name. I said “my name is Virginia”. Bradley looked very confused, smiled that smile, and said “your kidding me aren’t you.” I said “no, my name really is Virginia. Then, Bradley looked at my mother and said “is that right?” My mother confirmed that my name is Virginia. Then Bradley shook his head and said “but your name is Virginia, why would you name your daughter Virginia?” Of course, my mother blamed my name on my Father, saying “her father wanted her named after me, but we always called her Cindy, because he said she would be like Cinderella”. Bradley looked at me, with his soul piercing blue eyes, and said “is that because you had to do all the work?” I just smiled and nodded my head in agreement. Bradley asked me if I had any evil step-sisters. I told him I didn’t have any sisters, I had three brothers. Then my mother spoke up and said “we all had a good life” Bradley looked at me and said “is that right?” I responded “well, I guess that depends on who you ask and how they remember it”. At that point, my mother said she didn’t want to talk about that anymore and told us to change the subject…

Bradley very quickly switched gears and started telling us that he is going back to school. He said he is all set up to start school real soon. I asked him what he would be studying, and he told me he was a computer programmer, but he needed to go back to school to get another degree so he could get a job in Texas that would pay him $10k a month. Then he said he would be able to buy old houses, fix them up, and flip them for a profit until he made at least $100k. I asked Bradley what he needed $100k for and he said “I really believe I will walk again because of new technology that is like a robot type thing that attaches to your legs and allows your legs to move so you can walk on your own. He said in order to get on the list for one of these robots, you must have at least $100k. Bradley told me he already has two other guys that want to go with him to Texas to buy and flip houses. He said he will hire those two guys to do the manual work on the houses while he works the job that pays $10k per month which he will continuously put back into buying more old houses…

I was so very impressed listening to Bradley speak about his very detailed plan that would allow him to make the money he needed to get on the list for the robot that will allow him to walk again…Then, just when I was about to ask Bradley how long he thought it would be before he would have enough money for the robot…a nurse came and said “Bradley, it’s time to go back to the unit now”. Before Bradley left he told me his mother is coming from Yuma tomorrow to visit him. He said “my mother is going to bring me a subway sandwich when she comes”. Then he asked me if I would be there tomorrow because he wanted me to meet his mother. I told Bradley, “no, I come on Monday’s and Wednesday’s.” Bradley smiled that boyish smile and said “that’s too bad because my mother would like you, you’re the only one, besides her, that will listen to my dreams…”  Then the nurse walked with Bradley back to the unit, the lock down unit, where residents with dementia live. Apparently, some patients in the unit don’t really have dementia but they have brain damage…due to strokes etc., and are a little more functional than others so they are allowed to leave the unit to go to the activity room as long as a staff member is in the room at all times.

After Bradley left, one of the residents said “I’m glad he left…he just keeps talking about how he is going to leave here and get a job…but the truth is we all know he has brain damage, and he is never getting out of here, never…I just thought to myself, I sure hope she’s wrong…

Stay Tuned!

1 Comment (+add yours?)

  1. gotham girl
    Feb 12, 2013 @ 03:34:55

    Love this post…if we don’t have dreams…what do we have? Love you MORE!!!


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