It’s been a volatile few days on the Maple floor. Corey has reached her ceiling for patience. She has her good moments but then her evil twin (we’ve named her Corinne) arrives to say enough is enough. Thank goodness we are here because the staff is used to a patient being admitted with their twin visiting from time to time.
Bryn Mawr’s therapy and nursing staff are excellent when it comes to working with TBI patients that hit their level of agitation and/or disorientation. They also have several safety standards to protect the patients from hurting themselves. If a patient consistently attempts to pull their feeding tube and or physically hurt themselves, they have mitts that are placed and tied on their hands. If they consistently try to climb out of their beds, they place a mesh, locked tent over the frame of their bed. If they try to get out of their wheelchairs they have a seat harness that wraps around their waist to reinforce their seatbelts. Today, Corey almost added mitts to her wardrobe!
She does not like the feeling of being confined in her casts. Corey becomes fixated. She does not want to wait for her follow up visit with Dr. Ruggerio and is working very hard at trying to figure out how to remove the casts herself! This includes banging her leg to try to crack them open, pulling at the padding to remove the cotton lining as well as taking a bite of her dinner then trying to stab the cast with her fork. Since she can’t remove her cast she then tries to remove her feeding tube. Fortunately for her, she was not successful with any of the above attempts.
At one point she looked at me completely exasperated and stated; “MOM, I just can’t handle this anymore”! Normally this statement would pull at my heartstrings. After trying to redirect her for several hours (over the last 3 days) I couldn’t contain my reaction. I was elated, “Corey, did you just hear what you said”? With even more enthusiasm I added, “That’s a great sentence”! I was so excited and animated, it broke Corinne’s behavior and Corey began to laugh. For a few minutes I had her. She looked at me confused, she broke a smile then got very serious and said, “No Mom, I’m serious” “I want these shoes off”!…with that comment we laughed (most likely because we both know at some point one of us will end up in the bed tent if these casts don’t come off soon!)
When we can get off the crazy train; Corey is doing very well in the gym. She continues to progress with her walking a minimum of 40 feet per session. The therapists are also using small step blocks to work on Corey’s ability to lift her knee. She is beginning to lift the left leg as well. This movement is developing the hip/thigh muscles to assist with walking. Her left leg is now consistently “kicking” forward as she steps.
Dr. Long has been on vacation for two weeks. Dr. McDonald is covering his patients. Today, Dr. McDonald gave us some very good news about Corey’s left arm. After a thorough examination he told us that Corey has an excellent range of motion (ROM) but more importantly, she has isolated control of each part of her arm. Corey cannot control the movement of her arm independently, however, with a therapists help they can “feel” her response to movement from her shoulder down through her hand. This is big news! This indicates she may regain function in her left arm and hand with continued OT therapy.
Dr. McDonald suggested we try to get an appointment at Moss Rehab for a Poly EMG. Moss has a movement analysis lab. Electrodes will be placed along Corey’s arm. Based on the recording of movement, the test will show which muscles are in control and responding. The Doctor then will give a series of botox shots that will help isolate the weak muscles enabling the stronger muscles to develop the gross motor movement.
Corey in the midst of your frustration it’s very difficult to see past the moment but let me assure you, you are in fact making amazing progress! There is a saying, “be careful what you pray for”. Well kiddo, there are thousands of people praying for you to talk and walk. Your ability to express your frustration, anger and discomfort comes from answered prayers. You’re walking, taking steps, writing, reaching, including the failed attempts to remove the casts that bind you, is proof that prayers are being answered.
The words ‘casts that bind you’ are very significant. If it weren’t for your stubbornness and strong will you would have remained bound within yourself. You never allowed this from the beginning. You were determined to cast off any self-imposed or self-imagined limitations. Your tenacity is our gift. Selfishly we all are thrilled for your progress because it means you’re coming back to us!
Thank you for working hard every day, xoxo