Hi Everyone, it’s Marie

Today represented the good, the bad and the ugly!

Corey had Speech and PT today at Bryn Mawr. Speech encompasses more then just the mechanics of speaking. The therapist also works on Cognitive therapy as well. One of Corey’s goals is strengthening her short term memory. Now that she recognizes words and is capable of reading, we are using short paragraphs to practice fluency and comprehension.

We learned several valuable pieces of information today.
1. If the paragraph is more then 6 sentences long it is too much information for her visually and is overwhelming.
2. If she is reading a sentence, the subsequent lines must be covered in order for her to stay focused on the singular sentence. Font size does matter to a degree.
3. Corey will read the sentence to her self silently (which takes approximately 3-5 minutes depending on length) then recite some of what she read aloud.
4. We encourage her to point to each word as she reads out loud. (We thought that would help her and help us guide her if she stumbled on a particular word) This in fact frustrated her more! She still has connection issues with the process of reading the word, pointing to the word then reciting each word individually as she reads a full sentence.

Corinne decided she had had enough! She became very violent, repeatedly screaming and hitting, “I’m done with this”! We calmed her down enough to try a different approach.

Corey can not tell us what causes her frustrations but she is able to express it in written form. I placed the Ipad in front of her.
M – write to me, why are you upset?
C – Mom, I can not read out loud, my words do not come out. I do not like it when people are waiting for me to answer. Reading is not a problem for me. I used to do it in school and I know how to read.
M – thank you for explaining this to me. Will you keep trying to work with me so I can learn what you already know?
C – I do not want to talk any more
M – not a problem, how about I read the paragraph and you type the answers telling me what you know. (she agreed)

I read 4 short stories (a paragraph long) 2 of the stories had multiple choice answers and 2 of the stories required YES/NO answers to summarize the paragraph. Corey was 5/5 given the multiple choice ques. She was 0/5 given the YES/NO choices. The Y/N selections were less descriptive. If she has to initiate the recall there is still a disconnection between the retention of information and accurate response.

This was an important session for a number of reasons. Corey worked through her frustration, used her Ipad to “verbalize” her emotions and we learned “how” she reads and retains information. We also were able to keep Corinne at bay for the second part of her session. Corey was exhausted after speech and slept well during her rest time.

PT closed today’s therapy. She kneeled on the matte against the bolster. Kneeling upright lengthens the pelvic, thigh and core muscles, which is necessary for standing. She sits 90% of her day. The muscles can shorten if they are not stretched. This exercise caused her pain in her lower back and pelvic area. We switched to a sitting position and tried some Yoga stretches. Corey then moved to the stationary bike. She successfully peddled for 10 minutes averaging 2.5 – 3 mph. Next was a stroll out of the gym, down the hall through the waiting room, into the main hospital hallway, headed towards the Cafeteria. Corey hit a new speed record ~ 6 minutes. More importantly it was a solid walk with her hips forward and her gait striking heel/toe with each step. She closed the session by climbing up/down the staircase.

Many of you know and understand how this journal has helped capture Corey’s accomplishments. It’s given us an outlet to share some of the daily trials and inspires us all to look beyond our challenges in order to move forward focusing on the possibilities yet to come.

Today was tough. Yes it had its good moments but it also had its bad moments. Tonight was down right ugly! There are moments within the Brain Injury world that don’t make sense. One minute everything is fine and the next Corey exhibits behavior of a personality we haven’t met yet. Believe it or not, the person in our kitchen tonight made Corinne look shy! Poor Caitlin was the brunt of Corey’s anger and violent outbursts. Even I couldn’t calm her down. We don’t know the trigger and couldn’t control the explosion. As we tried to calm Corey down, Caitlin and I were both shaken by the episode.

Corey is finally asleep but slumber only lasts for 2 hours at a stretch. When Corey wakes up she will have no memory of her behavior. Tonight is one of those nights we let ourselves cry in the silence. We use this time to release the stress so we can face the next moment without residual negative emotions (which Corey will intuitively pick up).

I don’t write about the ugly very often but it does exist, as it does for all of us. This is the moment, the reason this journal was created. We will get through this night just as we did the hundreds of nights before tonight. This is the moment we reach within ourselves to recall where we were and remind ourselves that we are no longer “there” but in a much better place on this never ending road of recovery; despite hitting what felt like a sinkhole.

We made it to the end of another day. Tomorrow we try again, xoxo