We arrived for our presentation at 1:30 to install the power point via flash drive. Caitlin saved it as a pdf. As with everything else on this journey, the unexpected should be expected. The computer provided by the conference was an older laptop that did not have Adobe installed and it kept freezing. Thank goodness for Caitlin and we thought to bring our own laptop. She was able to make the switch, retrieve the presentation and we were only 5 minutes late to start our talk.
Corey was sitting up front to the far right of the conference room. We had about 45 attendees. I was a little nervous for the first few slides but then found my groove. I began by qualifying myself.
“I’m not a Physical therapist, Occupational therapist, Speech therapist, Nurse or Neurologist. I do have a Bachelor of Science degree, a Masters in MOM and as of October 2, 2010 entered the residency program in Parent Pre-Med”. That broke the ice and we were off and running.
Each time I said Corey’s name throughout the talk, she raised her hand to wave at me. When I didn’t look towards her, she would whisper (like Stewie from Family Guy); “Mom, Mom, Mom…” Jamie our nurse would whisper back; “Shhh, mom’s talking” So she waved more to get my attention.
We discussed Home preparations (renovation), organizational forms to manage therapies, nursing staff and visitors. Supplementing formal therapy using everything including the kitchen sink. Caregiver Creativity…thinking out of the box to utilize alternative therapy strategies in our everyday routine (ie; Music, cooking, pets, technology etc)
At the conclusion of our talk, I shared with the audience that one year ago Corey could only move her right thumb and right lower leg. I walked towards her stating that she joined us today and wanted to speak for herself.
She was all smiles and said, “My brain was hurt but now I’m fine”. I translated her sentence and asked her if she’d like to say anything else. Very purposefully, she carefully enunciated, “I am very happy you all came today”. I didn’t attempt to follow her. We just both signed ‘Thank you’. The floor was open for comments.
One woman stood up to share her daughter was 17 when she had her accident. Today she is 24, walks with 2 canes but is functioning beautifully. She thanked Corey for her hard work and being an inspiration to those that have been walking this road for awhile. It’s a reminder of where they were and that it gets better but you don’t necessarily see that when you’re in the trenches. Corey should be commended…the attendees rose to their feet and gave her a Standing Ovation!
After the presentation several people approached Caitlin and me but several people went over to Corey. One person was the mother of a 16 year old. Her daughter had a similar accident and diagnosis a little before Corey’s date yet she is not currently as far along as Corey is at the moment. When she heard Corey speak, she told Corey that she gives her hope that one day her daughter will speak again too.
It is an amazing experience to watch Corey participate in these sessions as well as interact with others. It’s been a very good day, xoxo