We made it through another day on the TBI roller coaster ~ it was a very good day. (I can actually feel some of you exhale a sigh of relief for us)
Corey had another positive day utilizing our conversational behavior plan. She began with a good session of OT. After exercising her left arm, she reached for a peg to place in a grid. I noticed the peg had a hole at the top and there were shoe laces in a box. I interrupted Corey’s concentration to show her the hole and asked her if she could thread the lace through the hole as if she were sewing. She picked the peg up with her right hand, placed it in her left hand, reached for the shoe lace with her right hand, began to thread the hole when she instinctually readjusted raising the peg to her field of vision and threaded the lace through the eye of the peg. It was effortless!
Elaine and I were shocked. Corey looked at us and asked, “What’s wrong”? We explained our surprise because we didn’t know if she could complete the task. Her response, “Why couldn’t I do it”?
The afternoon session included 20 minutes on the Lokomat and several hundred feet of land walking in the halls with Natalie. Monday’s session with Natalie was horrific. Corey was uncooperative and angry. In fact, her anger propelled her to speed up her gate as if she were either running towards me or running away from Natalie (we weren’t sure). Today, Corey was cooperative. After the warm up on the Lokomat her land steps were gorgeous ~ her body stance and steps were fluid and her right foot stepped heel/toe instead of the slap of a flat foot.
We also met with one of the behavioral therapists that has not seen Corey since we designed our behavior plan 4-5 months ago. We shared our approach to Corey’s plan introducing her to Forgetful Fran, Nervous Nellie, Crazy Corrine, Impatient Patty, Negative Nancy and Positive Polly. Corey’s ability to communicate her anxiety has been working, albeit inconsistently. We live each day minute to minute but we believe we are beginning to get some forward progress emotionally and cognitively. Dr. Janet was blown away! She told us that they could never have designed our plan nor believed it would work. Corey is inspiring them as they learn a new technique to teach other families.
Corey you keep asking me when we will be finished with therapy. Unfortunately, I don’t have that answer. Your recovery is almost like waiting in line for the most popular ride at an amusement park; it seems like forever. Finally you get on. It starts out fast and furious. You are distracted by the sound of wheels clanking on the rails as it climbs towards the sky. You are aware of the wind against your face; anticipation fills your stomach with butterflies. The trepidation of climbing the first hill takes your breathe and then the drop floods your body with adrenaline and anxiety. You hold on as it picks up speed and whirls around a sharp corner.
It slows down for a while, and then gets fast again. You climb up. You fall down. It gets dark, then bright, then dark and bright again. Water sprays your face, it’s cold, then hot, then perfectly comfortable then everything changes again.
I realize this is no amusement ride. There will be days we will “white knuckle it” and other days we can throw our hands up to let gravity give us the ride. Some days we’ll scream for joy and other days we won’t have the breath behind our voice. Despite the ups, downs or jolts side to side, we’re buckled in the first car and there are hundreds of people riding with us that have our back. We’re going to get tired, we’ll be excited and we’ll never know exactly what’s next but we can learn to enjoy and ride it to the end, xoxo