We had an important discovery today.
Kate and Elaine (Bryn Mawr) and Beth and Brittany (teachers from the HS) work with us not only on Speech and OT but Cognitive therapy as well. In addition to working on Corey’s short/long term memory; we have been trying multiple exercises hoping to unveil what she recognizes and remembers in regard to letters, numbers, her ability to read, apply math, etc.
Today was unusual from the moment Corey woke up. She didn’t ask where we were going or where Caitlin and JohnPaul were (which she usually does repeatedly from the moment she wakes up until we arrive at Bryn Mawr…a sign Forget Fran and Nervous Nellie are rearing their ugly anxiety personalities). When we arrived at the Neuro Out-Patient center, Corey greeted everyone with a smile and a happy “Good Morning”; (typically the staff meets Nellie or Corrine). We rolled down to Kate’s Office and, without prompt; Corey greeted Kate with the same energetic salutation. (Kate was shocked – we always have to reintroduce her to Corey).
We begin the session with the monthly calendar. Corey recognized every date and the month but couldn’t pick out the days of the week. Our first exercise was a ‘flee market’. Kate puts assorted items on the table for Corey to identify and buy using an assortment of cash and change. We shared the ‘back of the bill’ story from last week. Kate asked Corey to pay for one of the items (verbally we told her it was 12.95). Corey picked up the $10 bill from the table and brought it closure to her face (about 6-8” from her eyes). She put it back on the table. She then picked up a $20, brought it closer to her field of vision and handed the bill to Kate.
Kate and I were shocked. We’ve never seen Corey deliberately move this way before. We pulled the Calendar back out, isolated a day of the week and held it within the “new” field of vision. Corey read that day and subsequent days correctly.
We excitedly pulled word cards to further test our discovery. Depending on the size of the letters, the cards placed on the table were only identified 30% of the time. When held within the new field of 6-8” she read the words without requiring our spelling them aloud. Corey was 70% accurate in recognizing letters, numbers and words! This discovery is going to launch a brand new direction for her cognitive therapy.
Now for the bad news…The morning of clarity came to a screeching halt by 1pm.
Corey takes a nap after her morning session and then we have lunch. Unfortunately, it wasn’t Corey that woke up it was Forgetful Fran. Corey had no idea where she was, why she was in this strange building, she didn’t remember Kate’s session, she didn’t recognize Natalie for our 2nd session and although we made it through the afternoon with a few minor outbursts; her disorientation remained throughout the night with me at home.
Corey’s memory loss can be so severe she forgets that she’s eaten and insists I didn’t feed her. When she uses the restroom, she forgets and asks to use it again 15 minutes later. If I remind her that she went, she insists we didn’t and fixates on the task and will repeatedly ask to go until we repeat the action. When I say repeatedly, it’s literally every 2 minutes…it’s not unlike driving with a small child that wonders if they are near their destination; “are we there yet”, “are we there yet”, “are we there yet” ~ (patience, patience, patience…) NO, (long sigh) we’re not…there…yet…(breathe)
This post is an accurate description of our typical day. The moments of clarity, albeit fleeting, are why we keep pushing forward. She is getting stronger. Connections ARE being made. Despite the disorientation, despite the long road, despite the fact that we’re not there yet…these brief moments remind me of the coming attractions before the featured movie begins. They tease you with a glimpse at the highlights of a new story line. They peak your interest and you can’t wait for the release date.
Corey’s Story ~ Matter of Time ~ is going to be worth waiting in line for! xoxo