Corey hasn’t complained of her mouth pain in almost a week. We were beginning to think it was subsiding but last night and today it appears to be back with a vengeance. Diane couldn’t hold her speech session due to Corey’s discomfort.
Unfortunately we had no nurse today. In some ways it was great to spend the day alone with Corey. I wrote that I wondered what she thinks about and hoped that one day she could express it. My nana used to say ‘be careful for what you ask for’; that statement was never truer than today.
I have been sensing a change in Corey but haven’t had the chance to be alone with her when she’s awake to ask her how she’s feeling, what she’s thinking and how she’s coping with her world. Without a nurse or morning therapy we had the one on one time which allowed us the opportunity to “talk”. I read her the carepages daily along with all of your responses. Some days she smiles, laughs and usually responds with bright eyes and a big smile. This week she’s been very pensive as I read to her. Today she was extremely frustrated banging her hand on the bed in anger.
I asked her what she thinks of the pages. She said she was ‘sad’.
I asked her what makes her sad. She wrote ‘me’.
I asked what about ‘me’. She wrote ‘I’m here’.
I asked her where she’d like to go. She wrote ‘home’.
I asked her where she thought she was. She wrote ‘home’ ‘I want my old home’.
I knew what she was inferring.
We have met some TBI patients that were injured in their late teens. They are currently in their mid to late twenties. Each of these survivors has suggested that I work with Corey on journaling so she can express what she is internalizing. I asked Corey if she liked the carepages and she confirmed she did. I took the opportunity to ask her if she’d like to write her own page. She could write whatever thoughts or emotions she had as a means to release some of her frustrations. She could write to herself; a way to talk to herself so one day she can read her progress in her own words. She would write and I would transpose it to a folder marked Corey’s Pages. She liked this idea and started writing instantly.
It was a great idea until I began reading her words. There were moments that were very emotional. Her greatest frustration is the lapse of time. She feels herself getting stronger but she doesn’t understand where she is in the timeline of recovery. Losing a sense of the calendar is normal. It’s just another piece of the puzzle that hasn’t been found yet.
I have a few video tapes of therapy from Bryn Mawr as well as periodic updates of therapy sessions since we’ve been home. We watched the movies and Corey smiled as I showed her the progression. I felt for a brief moment she understood where she was and where she is now. She looked down at her left hand and tried to lift it in an upward motion. She turned to me; I knew she wanted help. I assisted her to raise and brace her arm. I reminded her she initiated the motion, “look at your hand and arm…you can make them move now”. She smiled, looked down and slowly each finger began to move. I thought I was watching a flower bloom in slow motion. She was beaming with pride and occasionally glanced over at me to make sure I was watching. I assured her the tears in my eyes did not blur my vision!
I asked Corey a final question.
Pretend you were your daughter. What would you tell her especially on the days that were really frustrating?
She wrote; I love you, you look good, Keep Going…