That is a question that I get asked everyday... and a question that I ask myself every single day.
The truth is... we are unsure on how awake he really is. The brain is a very unique organ.
He is not in a deep coma.
He keeps his eyes open for hours at a time. He can see. He can thumb-wrestle. He can blink his eyes if he wants more ice and shake his head no, if he doesn't want to go back to bed.
However, he is still being scored in the minimally conscious state. Sometimes when his eyes are open, he is just staring blankly. Sometimes, he wants to look to the right more than he looks to the left. Sometimes, he won't open his eyes when we ask him to. Sometimes, when you are telling him something that you think is really important, he just shuts his eyes. (That may also be because I talk too much. Come to think of it, he did that to me before the accident)
The kind of injury he has is called a DAI, a diffuse axonal injury. The first day they told us that, I googled it... it said it was the most common type of traumatic brain injury. I remember reading something that said, 'persistent vegetative state' and then I read that 'over 90% never regain consciousness'
That would be when I stopped reading.
I'm not positive that I'm quoting wikipedia correctly because I read it one time. on November 30th. And I haven't read it since.
The brain is still trying to heal. Lance's accident happened on Cranston. We all know how dangerous this road is. However, we still drive 55-60 mph on it all the time. Lance was probably driving that fast, and the other car was also. Most of the impact was on the drivers side door, that is a lot of impact for a brain to withstand. Lance may lose some of what he had once known. I have said from the beginning, that even if Lance only has half of the knowledge he had before the accident, he still would be smarter than most of us.
Its confusing to me that he can still be in somewhat of a comatose state and be able to see. its strange. But its happening.
Lance was always good with extreme facial expressions. This is one of them >
My dad can get close to Lance and make this same face and Lance will mimic it. The other day, when we had some visitors, I just showed him this picture on my phone and he did it.
I have had excellent luck with writing him things on a dry erase board. He studies it for a long time. But I know he is reading it, and taking it all in. I have written that he was in a car accident, that it wasn't his fault, that he was alone. I told him that he is breathing on his own. And that we came to Atlanta to get the most awesome therapy in the world to make him better. All of these things I know Lance is concerned about, even though he can't voice them.
I also am convinced he can read... this is something I wrote for him a couple weeks ago:
and this, was what I got: