The last several days have been quite stormy, literally and figuratively. Rather than fight against the wind, we pulled the oars in, tightened the belts on our life vests and white knuckled the ride through the weekend…
As you know, Thursday was horrible. Corey’s new Craftmatic Bed was delivered on Friday. She has been telling me for a few weeks that her room is upstairs not in our family room. This was one reason we installed the chair lift. My hope was the relocation back to her room would help with her disorientation and spark some memories that would give her the security she needed to ease her anxiety.
She rode her chair to the 2nd floor, successfully cleared the step up to her room, walked across the carpet to her new bed. We admired the new bedspread, played with the controls of the bed and had her all settled when she became extremely agitated and insisted that this wasn’t her room, it was JohnPaul’s room. Her room was down the hall. She was inconsolable! My plan completely backfired. In fact, the rest of the afternoon and evening was some of the most difficult episodes to redirect to date. Caitlin couldn’t even calm her down…now what do we do?
Corey and I slept in the family room Friday night. She did not sleep well at all. She woke frequently screaming out for me wondering when we could go home. In the morning, she began asking many questions about the accident, the hospital, her injuries, and the timeline of her injury running parallel to JohnPaul and Caitlin’s life and where her friends were. The conversation circled for hours.
After breakfast, she wanted to go up to her room again. She laid in her new bed for a morning nap; she was visibly upset. She repeated her litany of questions and became very defensive when I contradicted her memories. Rather than continue to explain what happened, when it happened and detail the renovation/location changes I asked Corey questions. What were her last memories? How does it make her feel when she is in a room that looks different from her memories? What scares her? What worries her? What is the hardest part of her day? What does she think when she hears stories and can’t remember the people or the places?
At first she could only respond “I don’t know”. I sat in silence and allowed her time to process the question waiting for her to answer. She would repeat her question but I would rephrase my original inquiry trying to draw out the emotion not retell the facts. She eventually began to describe her feelings. She was visibly upset and I assured her what was welling up within her was normal, “try to let it out”. She looked at me and told me “it makes me sad when I can’t remember”. She took her fist and placed it on her heart, “it hurts me here”.
We talked for several hours. We sat in her bed looking around her room at the pictures and her creative wall paintings. I went to her closet to pull out a sampling of the T-shirts from hundreds of cheering competitions. Of course we looked at her shoe collection and chatted about her amazing bargain hunting shopping skills (she knew how to stretch a dollar better than I can). Our “girl chat” calmed her down. We decided to get out of the house and go meet JohnPaul and his girlfriend Jackie for dinner. We had a great evening.
When we got home, she asked if she could go to bed up in her room. I asked her where her room was. “Top of the stairs and turn right” “John Paul’s old room”. Last night Corey slept in “her room” for the first time in almost 2 years. She slept from 10:30 – 4:30am (she didn’t wake once to call for me).
Today the emotional seas are much calmer. I wouldn’t say we have an accurate reading on the compass and we certainly can’t see land yet, but at least we managed to ride the waves so we weren’t thrown overboard!
Has anyone seen Wilson? xoxo