The Boy Who Couldn't

Unfortunately this story is true.


There was a little boy who was in a very bad accident. His skull was fractured, causing him to fall into a coma. After brain surgery he was transferred to Intensive Care. Because he was a very lucky little boy, and he had a good neurosurgeon, he regained consciousness. After a long while he was able to speak, could recognize his family, and with TLC from the nurses, was finally able to go home. Everyone commented about what a lucky little boy he was. He hadn't been expected to live, yet he was not only alive, he was able to go home, and one day was given a clean bill of health.

The little boy's parents were so happy to have their son back, and all in one piece, so to speak. His grandmother was very happy too. She loved her grandson so very, very much. She loved to go to her daughter's house just to see her grandson. She especially loved to see him now, after coming so close to losing him. She too was very grateful that he was alright. It seemed too good to be true.

One fair day the grandmother went to see her grandson, and visit with his mother. While the women were having coffee, and chatting, the mother told the son to pick up his toys. A short time passed and the mother realized that she did not hear a sound coming from her son's room. She yelled for her son to pick up his toys. Still no sound.

The mother got up from the table and went into where her son was. By now she was angry. The grandmother heard the mother berating the boy for his laziness. The mother told the boy, "just because you were waited on hand and foot in the ICU doesn't mean that you can come home and expect to get waited on here. GET YOUR TOYS PICKED UP, NOW!"

As the mother returned to the room and her cup of coffee, the grandmother pondered. Her grandson didn't have a lazy bone in his body. This kind of behavior was so unlike him.

Still there was no sound from the boy's room. The grandmother put her hand on the angry mother's arm as the mother rose while saying, "He has been like this ever since he got home. He expects to be spoiled just like he was in the hospital where everyone waited on him." The grandmother gently replied, "Let me go. I'll go see about him."

As the grandmother walked down the hallway, approaching the boy's room, she heard some disconcerting noises. As she entered the doorway she saw her grandson on the floor in the center of the room with tears streaming down his face. He was beginning to sob just as his grandmother reached him and put her arms around him, holding him close to her.

"What's wrong?" she asked. "Why are you crying?" In the midst of his tears, the little boy told his grandmother that he was trying. He was trying so hard to pick up his toys. He wanted to pick them up, and he didn't want his mother to be angry with him. "I can't pick them up, Grandma. I don't know why. I want to pick them up, but I can't pick them up." And he cried some more.

As the grandmother comforted her grandson, she wondered what had happened to him. She knew that he was telling her the truth. Something was very wrong, yet the Doctors had said he was now fine. He wasn't fine. With a sinking in her heart, and a knot in her stomach she knew he was not fine, but she did not know where could she get help for this little boy she loved so much.


The grandmother asked the boy's Doctors what was wrong with him. They agreed with the boy's mother that he had probably had gotten used to being pampered while in the hospital, and as children will do, he was trying to prolong the "pampering," and had gotten lazy. The grandmother felt very strongly that the boy was trying very hard to do what his mother asked of him, and was highly distressed that he could not do it. The grandmother was distressed that no one seemed to understand that the boy's distress was real. No one would listen. Finally she told a friend of mine, a woman I had met in TBI rehabilitation, and asked what she could do for her grandson... where could she find help? I don't know whether or not she ever did find it.

Her grandson is now a teenager.


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Attorney Gordon S. Johnson, Jr.

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