Today was an emotional day for Corey. The nurses think that although she’s not advancing with her physical command responses, she’s beginning to process emotions. You might recall an earlier post when Nick explained that this is when it starts to get harder. Quite frankly, at the time I thought this man was crazy! Harder? How could it get any harder than it already has been? Nick is a wonderful teacher/mentor. He not only takes care of Corey, he helps to educate us and prepare us for the next steps. Sharing his knowledge and experience is invaluable!
When I arrived today Corey was finishing her late afternoon session in the gym. Nick and I went to the gym to get her. I approached Corey greeting her with a smile and a kiss. As her eyes met mine she broke down and cried; sadly there were sobs but no tears fell. This can be common with brain injury. I was so taken aback, I wasn’t sure if something was wrong, if she was in pain or what to think? Natalie said she ‘cried’ twice today from what appeared to be frustration in communicating. Nick looked at me with compassion and reluctantly stated, ‘I hate to say it, but this is really good!’ ‘Crying is not reflexive. It’s a cognitive response to an emotion’. Intellectually, I understand. Emotionally, there are no words to describe the inner turmoil that rushed through me. We held her, calmed her down and returned to her room.
Shelly came to visit tonight. The girls sat together and chatted. Shelly went down memory lane and told stories of sleepovers, cheering; they discussed their favorite movies and she even sang some songs with her. At one point, Shelly was singing the lyrics to one of their favorite songs and Corey began moving her mouth as if she wanted to join in. The girls had a nice visit. Corey was relaxed and comfortable. She was tired but was fighting falling asleep because she knew her girlfriend was there.
At the end of the evening when visiting hours were over, we had our usual goodnight conversation that always ends with tucking her in and a kiss. Sadly, Corey began to ‘cry’ again. Nick was right…this is harder. My heart ached, my tears flowed for both of us as I stroked her face and head trying to comfort her.
Corey if I could climb into that bed and hold you all night, I would! Don’t cry honey. I know you’re sad. I’m sure you miss your friends and at times you’re frustrated because you’re stuck here. You want to do more but can’t make the movement. You want to tell us but can’t find the words. Remember this; your work in the gym has helped more than you realize. Your arms, legs, neck and stomach muscles are stronger. Feel yourself moving? That’s your progress! You weren’t doing that a few weeks ago. When you look at us when we talk to you, turn your head, respond to a question we ask you, it’s a sign that you understand. There is so much you have accomplished and each day you will add a little bit more. I know that you’re impatient but think about this; you wiggled your right toes first and tonight you are moving and lifting your whole leg! That’s BIG Corey! You are getting better honey. Patience (I know…not your thing) but each day something new happens. Don’t give up kiddo; you have a wedding to dance at!
PS – Sue says the heck with the wedding! She needs you back in the candy store…she’s got orders to fill and needs her self proclaimed “employee of the year”!
We love you Corey, happy dreams xoxo