Ced Snyder has know Blair for 56 yearsby Jon Blackmon on 06/25/11
From: ced snyder
Date: June 25, 2011
I had the opportunity to visit with Blair a couple of times, so I thought I'd update you on his progress. I stopped by on Sunday afternoon and again on Tuesday before and during the lunch hour. The reason for the trip was to meet Jean at Blair's place at the Villa and haul back some of Blair's things to Alpine/Marathon. Jean pointed out items to move north and I made a pretty good donkey, minimizing her time away from the bookstore and Blair. Besides, my SUV holds a lot more stuff than Jean's little Toyota Echo.
Let me emphasize that Blair has not moved out of lower Brewster county; his place is still intact for weekend outings for Blair and Jean. Yet because it is not regularly occupied, Jean felt that some of the items in the cabin might be too attractive to an uninvited visitor, even though Steve added a hasp and padlock to the front door; additionally, surrounding Blair in Marathon with some of his personal items might make him more comfortable. So I loaded up his computer, the new flat screen HDTV and DVD/VCR, a selection of his framed photographs, his camera equipment, his Mexican masks, and a few other items.
Now -- the real reason for this little note -- how's Blair doing? I've had the opportunity to visit with Blair several times since the accident: a couple of times at the hospitals, transporting him from Odessa to Marathon, and two or three times at Jean's neat house in Marathon. With (usually) weeks between visits, it is easier for me to note progress than if I were with him daily. The overall impression -- amazing progress.
When I first visited Blair at the hospital in Odessa, I was frankly frightened for his future: the physical and mental damage was extremely disheartening. He acted out a lot, was a terrible patient, and didn't cooperate with his therapists -- he was his own worst enemy. I think that inside he recognized that he had a serious problem, and he was frightened to death, responding by acting out. He did not understand what was happening to him and why he was being "tortured". After the incident of ripping off the "halo" and the medicos' opinion that the thing was not really necessary, things settled down a bit, but he was less than an ideal patient at the nursing home. When it came time to move him from the nursing home to Marathon, I hadn't seen him in several weeks. We traveled together in the car and talked continuously about all sorts of things, including past shared experiences ... impressive progress, but once in Marathon he was still acting out, especially against Jean (which pissed me off, so I told him so).
I have since been in Marathon a couple of times - visits on two successive days with Greg Smith a few weeks ago and the coming-and-going trip this week. Each visit shows marked progress. He's still obsessed with being on oxygen, but less so. He only uses his wheelchair as a comfortable place to watch TV, not as a carrier around the house. He's good at using his walker to get to the bathroom or the dining table (speaking of which, his appetite seems to be fine). Sometimes he even totters off without the walker or any other assistance [which rather frightens me because he's not too steady on his feet; I understand that the walker is awkward in close quarters, but he ought to get into the habit of grabbing the cane when he walks from room to room -- I flagged Jennifer, the local girl who sits with him during the day, to keep the cane in a visible place near him and encourage him to use it.]
Anyway, his progress is better than I expected when I first saw him in the hospital. Greg calls him "the Energizer bunny -- just keeps on going". I'm certain the reason for his progress is Jean. Blair and I were talking when I delivered the stuff from the Villa.
He said, "You know, I married her."
I responded, "I know, Blair; I was there".
His comment: "Best thing I ever did". Their love is holding this terrible situation together and making it work, though I pain for the stress Jean is under.
Blair is not out of the woods mentally, but every time I visit, his progress is substantial; I've observed no backsliding and no plateauing (is that a word?) ... just steady progress. Of course, the primary reason is the love and patience of Jean, but the regular visits by Cynta working with his reading and computer skills has been extremely valuable, as is the visits by other friends (Jim Carrico comes immediately to mind). The continued communication of his friends, whether in person, via cards in the mail, or a brief telephone call, is appreciated by Blair. [Please coordinate any calls or visits through Jean.] He has pecked out a couple of brief emails, but he's not ready for electronic communications, yet.
As soon as the weather turns a bit and it's not 114 (the temperature as I was loading my SUV), I wouldn't be surprised to see Jean and Blair having a 2-day "vacation" at the Villa some weekend. If, in the meantime, you decide to call or visit in Marathon (again, check with Jean), remember that his mornings are best -- he begins to get tired, physically and mentally, after lunch.
Let's all pray for Blair's continued recovery.