Hi Everyone,

Just in case you were wondering if GOD has a sense of humor, feel free to spend a week with us…and it’s only Tuesday!

When we arrived at Bryn Mawr at 10:50am, I smelled an unusual odor emanating from under the car. It caused a slight concern but I knew I had an appt with our mechanic next week. As I proceeded to unbuckle Corey from the left side of the van, opened the hatchback and lowered the ramp, I looked to the right side of the van and saw an orange fluid streaming down towards the rear of the vehicle. I quickly looked under the van and saw we were loosing fluid. I’m not mechanically inclined but I’m sure it had to be something important!

I called Andy, our mechanic. This man is like a surgeon. He can diagnose a car’s ailment based on the “sounds” I attempt to recreate. In this case; “Andy, I think I might need to see you before next week”? Regardless of the urgency in my voice, he always remains calm. “What’s up”? “There’s orange kool-aid pouring out of something from under the van” (That’s as technical as I get). Andy asked the exact location of the leak.
“Okay, you’ll have to get the car towed. Don’t drive it home, it’s the dual heating…” (Like a surgeon speaking to a first year med student I had no idea what followed, he lost me after get the car towed). “What if I drive home without the heat on”? The surgeon brought it down to my level, “you could drive it home but then you’ll be looking for a new van”. That I understood!

Here’s the issue…if the van is towed, how do we get Corey home when she travels in her wheelchair? The next hour was logistics planning;

Thank You AAA Plus; they towed the van to Andy’s
Thank You Ride-Away for educating us on how to rent a handicapped vehicle. They were at the ready with a rental they would have delivered to Bryn Mawr if we needed it.
Thank You Bryn Mawr Rehab for allowing one of your drivers to use your vehicle to drive us to Andy’s
Thank You Andy’s Auto Tech, Andy and Stephen worked on Corey’s van to repair the issue by the time we arrived at 4:30pm.

Last nights post included a paragraph, ‘Much of our resilience comes from community – from the relationships that allow us to lean on each other for support when we need it. That was a premonition!

Due to the chaotic morning, we missed our first session with OT. Corey did manage to take a 30 minute nap, we had lunch and then we headed to Kate’s session. Our posts generally focus on the highlights of a session or a moment in our day. Tonight I’m compelled to share a few more details.

Picture a small office, approximately 10’ x 8’, with a round table and 3 chairs. Corey stays in her wheel chair; I sit to her right, Kate to her left. The session was proceeding with Corey fixating her gaze on me refusing to acknowledge Kate or her questions. She refused to answer unless I repeated the question. After 10 minutes I insisted Corey acknowledge Kate and turn to look at her when she spoke. Corey screamed, “NOOO” and began kicking and hitting me. (The room is not sound proof; unfortunately, this outburst does not alarm the staff as they recognize Corey’s voice now). We worked through the outburst which led to several volatile eruptions.

I stood up walked around the back of Corey’s chair to sit to Kate’s left side. Kate separated the two of us. Corey continued screaming, “MOM” “No, Don’t leave me”!
Kate and I calmed her down. Once she was settled, I introduced a new analogy.

M – Corey, do you remember cheerleading?
C – She glared at me but nodded her head yes.
M – Do you think I could have taught you a double back handspring?
C – She allowed herself to smirk at the thought of that lesson. Half smiling she said ‘No’
M – Exactly! I couldn’t teach you a back summersault; in fact, I call the back handsprings the back flippy things.
M – Missy and Karla were your coaches.
M – Do you think Chef D or Chef Young would let me teach their culinary classes?
C – She broke a smile and shook her head emphatically, ‘No’
M – Granted, I’m sure I could do better than Peanut Butter and Jelly but my attempt at cooking wouldn’t get you into Culinary College would it. (She agreed)
M – Kate, Elaine and Natalie are your therapy coaches. I can not help you without them. They are the experts.
M – Now, remember when we went to competitions?
C – She nodded yes
M – Was I allowed on the matte? Where did I sit?
C – in the bleachers
M – Right! Kate is your coach when we are in this room and I’m going to sit over here.
C – She screamed, panicked that I was too far away.
M – Can you see me? I’m right here…in the bleachers.

Kate instantly took over asking Corey questions about the Beach. Her subject change was brilliant because it is one of Corey’s favorite memories. I sat in the corner and deliberately didn’t give eye contact to Corey. Eventually, Kate engaged her in conversation and managed to involve her in writing a packing list for a beach trip.

It may appear that the last 10 minutes of the hour session were the most productive in regard to the assigned task but the 50 minutes prior to our packing list was truly the most important. Today’s post recounts the steps to a behavior plan that evolves minute by minute on a daily basis. It’s difficult to work with TBI patients that cannot control their impulsivity or manage their executive reasoning skills. At times they are cognoscente of what is appropriate and in the next breath they don’t have the emotional maturity of a toddler.

Corey you are an amazing athlete. I have watched you push yourself, accepting nothing less then the best you can be on that floor. Did you get frustrated, YES! Did you give your coaches a hard time, YES! Did you quit, NO ~

You are talented, tenacious, disciplined and motivated. You never stop and now when you are working on the hardest exercises of your life, we will not let you quit. Yes you have to do the work, yes every day is exhausting and Yes; it’s not fair but you are NOT alone. We are all ‘sitting in the stands’ cheering you on, watching you get stronger, in awe of what you are accomplishing. You can do this and we’re here to help!

We love you and we’re very proud of you, xoxo