Everyday is an adventure!
Today Corey had OT and PT. During the OT session we noticed Corey’s left arm was slightly swollen. (Truth is; we noticed Corey looking a little puffy all weekend but thought it was the heat and/or the possibility of a little weight gain)
She worked out with Elaine and me; she took her usual nap, then lunch. We joined Natalie at 2pm in the Lokomat room. Corey was in her harness and began her session when we noticed her left arm significantly more swollen and changing color ~ it was PURPLE. We stopped the Lokomat immediately, raised her arm to see if repositioning would help the blood flow. Corey was very upset. She wouldn’t let us touch her arm; when we did she screamed (we are not sure if it was pain or an outburst). Her blood pressure was elevated. We took her off the machine to further evaluate her arm and inspect the rest of her body.
When Corey was sitting, her blood pressure stabilized and the color in her arm faded. The team at Bryn Mawr thought it would be prudent to get her checked out. We headed to Christiana’s ER. My girlfriend works in the ER. She alerted the staff that we were coming in.
As I drove into the parking lot, I remembered my initial visit only this time I was much calmer and Corey was with me. We checked in at the admissions window. Because Dianna called ahead, she alerted the staff that Corey had a TBI and could not join the general public in the waiting room for risk of catching an infection. They escorted us through a door to a side hallway ~ the same path I took 2yrs and 8 months ago. Ironically, they asked us to wait outside the very room Corey was admitted in the night of the accident.
I stood outside Room B thinking of that night but tonight Corey was sitting in front of me asking to play on the IPad while we waited. I was haunted by the room down the hall; the room I was asked to ‘meet’ the doctor in. There was a family at the end of the hall crying. I felt their sadness. Memories flooded my mind; standing outside her door in shock, knowing I had to call my family but couldn’t remember any phone numbers.
Corey’s voice broke through the flashback.
C- “Someone’s crying. Do you hear them”?
M – “Yes, the person they love is probably very sick”.
She looked concerned, “were you scared when I was sick”?
M – “Yes, I was”.
C – “No one thought I would be ok but I proved them wrong”.
Who would have thought I would once again be standing in that very spot but tonight as I looked at Corey a surge of love, gratitude and joy filled me and all I could do was smile. Her eyes met mine, she smiled and with child-like innocence, she returned to her IPad game.
The ER doctor suspected a blood clot despite daily blood thinner injections. The Vascular Ultrasound did not show a blood clot; however, the Doctor wants us to be very guarded keeping a close eye on her. It may be floating. If she has increased swelling, her extremities are discolored or cool to the touch or if she has any pain, we must go back in ASAP.
One of the ER nurses would occasionally come by to check on us. She would casually stop to talk to Corey. After the Doctor discharged us, she walked us out towards our van. Before she said goodbye she told us, “I thought I recognized you but wasn’t sure if I had the right family”. “I looked back in the records and confirmed my suspicion.” Her eyes filled with tears yet she smiled as she continued to speak; “I was on the night of Corey’s accident”. “I am so happy to see you”! “We don’t get to see what happens to people when they leave here but when I saw you tonight and saw how well you are doing, it reminds me that what we do every day is worth it”!
She fanned her face to dismiss her tears and added, “I pulled up your original admissions record to show your history to the nurse working with you. I had to show her where you were and how amazing it is to see the person she treated tonight”.
It’s surprising the emotions and memories that come back when you least expect them. Although this hallway brought back painful memories, it also provided an opportunity to heal and give us closure not only to me and the ER nurse but to Caitlin as well. Here is her facebook status;
~After some swelling and pain in Corey’s arm we had to visit the ER today. She’s alright, we have to keep an eye on her (like always) but it was a real eye opener for me. We waited for a Dr. in the hallway, chatting and giggling, right outside the room where she was the first time we saw her after the accident. Where she was, unconscious, attached to every type of machine, and barely alive. Today, we leave and treat ourselves to dinner where Corey will sit at the table, order for her self, and feed her self. Thinking of every step we’ve made in the past 2.5 years and how hard it is every day. Not taking anything for granted ~
We are in a much better place now. Memories are from the past, not a reflection of our present or future, xoxo