Corey’s short term and long term memory not only fluctuates daily, it changes by the minute.
We had a new nurse today. My plan for the day was to give the ladies some time to get acquainted and I could begin to clean out Corey’s room in preparation for the big move in two weeks. Corey’s plan was not to allow me out of her sight all day. We came to an agreement and another first…Corey went to her room with me.
She walked to the bottom of the staircase. We both looked up. I don’t know how it looked to her but I swear its length seemed to instantly triple! I have not been trained by Natalie or Ted to assist Corey on the stairs. In fact, I am not physically strong enough to help her up the flight of stairs but there’s more than one way around every challenge!
I sat two steps above Corey. She sat between my calves. Our nurse faced us ready to help manipulate Corey’s legs. Corey would push against the step with her right leg lifting her butt up as I pulled her upper torso to the step just below mine. Our nurse moved her left foot to meet the right. We climbed the stairs one cheek at a time and we made it! Once we hit the landing at the top of the staircase, Corey and I stood up and she walked into her room. We propped her up in her bed and we all took a long exhale from the workout session.
I was hoping that moving Corey up to her room would help her with her disorientation. Unfortunately, our test run was not as successful as I had hoped.
When you ask Corey how old she is her age will vary from 14 to 19. On a day that she is 14 she can not remember some of the newer friends she met in High School. If you share stories from that time in her life, she appears to recognize the story and a name referenced and acknowledges the connection.
Today Corey was 14. At fourteen she lived in the room at the end of the hall. JohnPaul had the big room over the garage. As we lie in her bed she looked around but didn’t look comforted or happy. I asked her what was wrong. She pointed towards the hallway and told me “this isn’t my room, I live down there and Caitlin is in the middle room”. I reminded her that she moved into this room when JohnPaul went to college.
I thought coming up to her room would be a positive experience. I definitely was not expecting her to have such an emotional reaction. She told me she was sad, began to cry and asked me to hug her. We talked about how much fun she had decorating her room. She and her friends painted part of the room and Corey wallpapered half the walls with hundreds of photographs of her friends. She called it a collage mural. We looked at several of the items on the shelves and recalled the memories associated with them. She seemed to relax and began to reminisce with me. Fortunately, Shelly arrived for a visit shortly after we made it upstairs. The girls sat together in her bed (just like old times) and chatted as I cleaned around them (just like old times). Corey mentioned she was going to be 20 on her next birthday…she was back…for the moment.
Corey’s physical progress has been amazing. I am so grateful that she is advancing physically. Cognitively, she is making connections everyday but I find that this progress is the most difficult for both of us to persevere each day.
Corey, close your eyes and picture what you want to achieve. Whatever your minds eye can see will be your target and there are no limitations or barriers except for your imagination.
Now picture a mountain. The side of the mountain resembles a rock climbing wall. You are wearing your helmet, knee and arm pads as well as a rope around our waste threaded through a pulley connected to a spotter that has your back.
Next look at each rock strategically placed on the side of the mountain. Can you see they are shaped differently, some with sharp edges, some with smooth surfaces but all are placed in a haphazard pattern? Part of your climb seems effortless. You move rhythmically gaining confidence as you ascend towards your target. Just as you stabilize your footing you realize your body is not in position to reach for the next available stone. The pattern is skewed not revealing the next obvious choice. You straddle the wall in a precarious stance. Your muscles begin to shake from fatigue. As you look down you are surprised unaware of the distance you’ve already climbed. You’re too high to turn back.
It’s difficult to keep looking up towards the target when you’re focused on finding the next rock. Don’t forget you have a rope secured to your waste. Take a minute to rest. Breathe. You’re not on that climb alone; someone’s got the end of the rope when you feel like you’ve got nothing left.
After the pause you reach for the next stone. That’s perseverance! Be confident that as you continue to climb we stand firm with just enough slack that you can move freely to maneuver your own direction but tight enough to keep you from falling back. You will reach your target. Whatever you dare to dream, you can achieve it! Keep climbing Corey, xoxo