As you know we commute to Bryn Mawr Rehab for out-patient therapy three days a week. Corey’s accident occurred one month into her senior year of High School. That is very sad but also fortunate for her. Because Corey didn’t graduate, the school district will provide PT/OT/ST, Cognitive, Behavioral and Academic services through her 21st year. Her district therapists and teacher come to our home two days a week. The combination of Bryn Mawr and our school districts services is how we’ve been able to get Corey the acute level of rehabilitation hours she needs for her recovery. I am so grateful to both these teams. We try to coordinate both the clinical and academic models to give Corey a comprehensive approach which we hope will assist her towards a full recovery.
Today was a great day. I believe her greatest accomplishment was her ability to express her frustration when we were talking to her teacher Beth.
Beth and I were discussing the goals that were set for Corey. I have been instinctually feeling that she has felt uninspired by some of the tasks we have been working on. She does not need developmental learning strategies. Corey’s accident wiped out her short term memory and we are slowly discovering what she has stored in her long term memory. TBI is very complicated. Corey had a full life of learning prior to the accident. She is an intelligent woman that is college age yet we often have to use some elementary exercises to discover what she remembers. Our greatest challenge is to find the age appropriate lessons that will direct us towards what she has retained versus what we need to help her rediscover. This is not an easy task. Corey has often said, “I’m not a baby. Why do people treat me like one”? I try to explain to her that we all recognize her as a 20 year old, but (as an example) sometimes the use of alphabet flash cards is necessary to find out if she knows the letters in order to read. She’s trying to understand and accept the process but it’s also maddening as she clearly has higher cognitive recall for certain lessons.
Beth and I were discussing her progress when she began an outburst of hitting and kicking. (Until she learns how to verbally express her emotions, the primal instinct of ‘fight or flight’ is the default reaction) I sat beside her to ask her what caused her to be angry. Initially she couldn’t label it. We explained that we were trying to brainstorm on activities that would give her the opportunity to show us what she remembers. For instance; shopping, we have been browsing through the newest holiday magazines looking at clothes, boots, shoes, and of course culinary accessories. As we browse, we discuss the retail price, what’s on sale and recently added what the percentage of savings is if it is on sale. Corey inconsistently recognizes numbers and letters however, given the information verbally she can do the math ~ and she’s quick!
Corey you are constantly changing. Your recovery requires constantly thinking of the next exercise, the next strategy, how to use what we have, how to adapt what others have found successful and on some days try to accept that everything we’ve utilized up to that moment is now passé and we need to find something new. You have days that cause you to struggle and so do we. The stamina to stay creative and motivated is not easy.
James Belasco and Ralph Stayer say in ‘Flight of the Buffalo’, “people overestimate the value of what they have and underestimate the value of what they may gain by giving that up.”
This is a great quote. I look back at where we were before October 2nd. We thought we could adapt to change and “go with the flow”. Since the accident we could choose to hold onto to our memories but that’s all we would have had. Instead we practice accepting the changes, letting go of what we knew to constantly think of how we can create what we need to keep moving forward together, as a team.
Honey, you have a lot of courage to let go and embrace your new life. Most people are afraid of change but you are always looking to move forward. You keep challenging us to keep up with you ~ KEEP PUSHING Corey, we’ll try to follow your lead! xoxo