Corey’s leg is still sore and a little swollen. She had a short session with Jen today but is still hurting tonight. Tomorrow I will ask Natalie to give her an exam and offer any suggestions to help her over the next few days.
Speaking of suggestions; our carepages are filled with the physical strides Corey is making. My recent quest is to focus my research on the cognitive, emotional and behavioral treatments/strategies that might help us cope with Corey’s current anxiety levels.
Research is very difficult to find as most survivors progress has limited documentation past the first two years of recovery. The information most valuable comes from the families I work with. Fortunately, I’ve been networking with many survivors and their families from across the country.
A young woman recently shared her story with me. She was in an accident 9 years ago with similar injuries as Corey. Like Corey, one day she could identify letters and numbers but still could not structure or decode a sentence. One random day in her 4th year she happened upon a book she remembered, picked it up and began to read.
The mother of a young man injured 6 years ago confided that he has recently shown more cognitive growth with his short term memory loss in the last 3 months then he’s shown since the onset of his injury. In fact, he can now beat anyone that challenges him to any memory card game. They began his memory exercises with music!
A man 36 years old has been recovering in a nursing home for the last 17 years. He has severe anger issues causing significant behavioral outbursts due to disorientation from his memory loss. Coincidentally, his 8th grade teacher is now a resident of the same long term care facility. They were reintroduced and the man reconnected the memory of his relationship with his teacher. His parents report that although he is “stuck” in 1991 he is recalling family facts and experiences that appear to be bridging to some current events.
Family strategies to help their loved ones are varied and very creative. TBI affects the family and friends as profoundly as it does the survivor. Without family and friends the survivor has no chance of recovery and the families become fractured as a result. The key and consistent message is repetition, reassurance and respite. The respite is for the family members. Stress and fatigue is the leading cause of set backs; not for the survivors but for their families stamina.
I am working with Corey to focus on responding, not reacting to her anxiety. She has the choice, as do I, to think of how we can talk through our anxiety. This is easier said then done during some outbursts but focusing on the negative or reacting to the stress will never extinguish the rage.
Repetition, Reassurance, Responding with love and a calm positive tone will present the opportunity to diffuse the outburst and help bridge future appropriate responses…Since I said this out loud and wrote it publicly it’s supposed to work now right? As Dori from Finding Nemo says, just keep swimming, swimming, swimming…..
Keep those prayers coming friends, xoxo