Hi Everyone,

Happy Friday! I will be signing off for the weekend but before I do we’ve got more progress to report.

PT/OT/ST has their goals and Corey has hers. She wants her feeding tube out and she wants to stop her daily Lovenox shots given in her belly.

We’ve mentioned she’s passed her swallow study and she is eating and drinking whatever she’d like. The next hurdle was taking her medication. Corey initially graduated from crushing, mixing it in water and administering through the feeding tube to crushing, mixing it in yogurt and feeding them to her self. Now she is consistently taking her medication in pill form swallowing up to 9 pills with four ounces of water. Tonight she showed off by swallowing some without a swig of water (even I can’t do that!)

Second goal; no more shots! The Lovenox is given daily to prevent blood clots from inactivity. They are not painful but they do bruise her abdomen. Dr. Long told her she had to be walking 150 feet per day before they could stop. Corey told us this week that she wants to walk every where…no more wheelchair = no more shots!

She’s not walking independently yet. She is still considered “a one person assist”. She does well with her right leg and her left leg is getting more movement but she still needs another person to stabilize her body as she walks. She is not standing independently quite yet either. I stand behind her holding her upper torso and right arm for stability.

We’ve measured her typical route through the house;
From her bed to the chair lift = 15 feet
From the chair lift to the kitchen table = 31 feet
From the kitchen table to the bathroom = 21 feet
From the toilet to the sink = 4 feet
From the sink to the chair lift = 40 feet
From the kitchen to the bed in the family room = 26 feet

It’s not as easy or fluent to move about the house, but Corey is getting stronger (as am I). She will soon achieve her goal of 150 feet on her non-Lokomat days as long as we combine the list above to include two bathroom trips, a nap and her return route upstairs for bedtime. At the moment, Corey and I are averaging 80 to 100 feet as we practice and develop our walking skills together!

Although I mentioned that Corey is not standing independently yet, tonight I tried something new. Normally as we prepare her for bed, we transfer her from the toilet to her wheelchair, wheel her to the sink, she reaches with her right hand to turn on the water, she washes her face, brushes her teeth (I spot check) then we wheel her through the kitchen to the chair lift and up we go to bed.

Tonight she walked from the toilet to the sink (4 feet). She stood at the sink, extended her left arm to use her left hand to brace her self, turned on the water with her right hand, I assisted with dispensing the toothpaste and (for the first time) she stood at the sink to brush her teeth. When she was finished she washed her face. She stood for 21 minutes without leaning against me! She cleaned the sink area, turned off the lights and together we walked her route to the chair lift.

You might be thinking ‘why is Marie recounting this simple ritual with such detail’? Please consider the detail…each individual step within the process is a tremendous accomplishment. When I watch Corey’s deliberate movements I am so grateful she is in fact ~ moving! I think back to just six months ago teaching her to swish and spit the toothpaste from her mouth. Watching her care for her self, beginning to show signs of living independently is one of the most exhilarating experiences I’ve had the privilege to witness in a very long time.

It’s not unlike watching your child learn to pick their body weight up to balance on their arms and legs. They then begin to move one knee and alternate hand as they learn to crawl. Soon after, they pull themselves up to a standing position. You hold your breath as they let go and watch them take their first step.

I have often thought, since the accident Corey is an infant again. She is relearning everything ~ for the 2nd time. I jokingly add that the recent challenge with her behavior is part of the Terrible Two’s!

Corey last week you told me you think about what you want to do and you keep trying until you do it. Your motivation; “I know I did it in the past so I can do it again”. I can’t imagine what it’s like to “Start Over” but you are showing us how to achieve whatever you set your mind to with tenacity and persistence. Your willingness and patience are just two character traits I know I try to emulate each day.

Thank you for inspiring me daily, xoxo