I’m getting very good at receiving those “late night” calls. 10 months ago I received a call about Corey’s accident. Immediately after Monday nights post, Caitlin called from Philadelphia. She was heading home from a girlfriends house in Old City around 10pm carrying several bags of groceries when she stepped out of her friend’s apartment and fell off the stoop…Our forefathers brick and mortar are not as structurally sound as they first were. She thought she just twisted it but realized it was a bit more serious than she thought. Reluctantly she called me to take her to the ER.
I headed into Philly at 2am to take her to Thomas Jefferson. After 2 ½ hours, she was discharged with crutches and a diagnosis of a sprained ankle. Caitlin doesn’t have class on Tuesday’s so we decided to take her home so she could rest. I on the other hand caught an hour’s nap and headed to work. When I returned home I was teasing Caitlin and Corey that I have two of my three children using alternative means of transportation to get around…JohnPaul better lock himself in his apartment to be safe…doesn’t everything come in three’s?!
We had a special appointment for Corey Tuesday night. When we were in NY swimming, the lifeguard that helped us carry Corey into the pool shared that he was a College student studying Physical Therapy with a minor in Behavioral Disabilities. He hopes to become a Physical Therapist and plans on working with patients that not only have disabilities but neurological disorders as well. I was intrigued by his major. It made me think of the University of Delaware just 8 miles south of our home. They have one of the best PT programs in the Philadelphia/Delaware area. I called a friend that is an alumni and a prominent figure in the PT world in our area. She made a few calls to help research the program which led to an appointment with the Director at the PT College. UofD is known for their Sports Therapy training. They have recently joined John Hopkins in researching and working with their neurologists to begin a division of their PT school that will focus on therapy for behavioral disabilities. Therapy for Stroke, ABI and TBI is much different than Sports therapy.
The director was blown away by Corey’s abilities. Their team tested her flexibility, range, strength and challenged several of her OT, Speech and Cognitive abilities. The director was very excited to see what Corey could do after “just 10 months”.
Their team also took the time to measure her foot drop. The foot drop has increased due to the lack of standing for extended periods of time on a daily basis. The foot drop is the most common and greatest challenge to prevent for most patients that cannot get the regular, aggressive therapy that is so critical. Rather than ask me all the questions, the Director wanted Corey to become involved in her evaluation. Her input was critical. Corey was writing her answers to communicate with the Director and her assistant. The Director told Corey that there are many different activities they could focus on with her. If she could pick one thing she would want to focus on, what would it be? She wrote, ‘WALK’. The director said, ‘Okay, let’s do it’.
The PT Lab has a special machine that is similar to the Hoyer lift. Instead of lifting Corey in a sling to move her, she is strapped into a harness that hangs from the top of the machine. (Picture hanging from a parachute) The lift is positioned over a treadmill. Corey is lifted to a standing position. One therapist is behind her at her waist keeping her trunk straight, helping her to shift her weight at the hips; and two therapists manipulate the left and right leg as she “walks”. Corey loved it! She looked over at me with a little grin as if to say, ‘Hey Mom, look at me’. She walked for 4 minutes, they took a rest and then she walked for an additional 4 minutes. (check out the photo gallery) The Director was amazed at her balance and stamina.
We are hoping that Corey will be accepted into their program. They have early morning and evening hours to accommodate my work schedule. She will be going twice a week for the next 3 weeks to be evaluated. If she passes the criteria required, she could be entered into a program long term. Keep your fingers crossed!
Corey today was another busy day. Each therapist that comes to work with you is so excited to see the daily changes. I listen to myself as I share the details of your progress with new therapists and nurses that require your history. It’s amazing to me to think of what you’ve achieved in 10 months, the last 8 weeks, especially the last two weeks.
You have had plenty of challenges and more are likely to be on the way. There is only one way to continue to face those challenges and that’s to keep looking forward. No matter what else is going on, life is what we chose to make it.
You show me how to live this important lesson everyday; with a smile! 🙂 xoxo