This past week and weekend was so busy it feels like a month since I’ve sat down to write.
Washington, D.C’s trip was very encouraging. We met with a TBI specialists team. Dr. K is a physiatrist. A Physiatrist is a specialist in Neurology and Rehab science. She spent 90 minutes interviewing both Corey and me. Corey was asked to perform several physical exercises and cognitive functions. I was asked to give details about the accident, the ICU stay and Corey’s inpatient stay. We discussed all her medications, all medication changes as well as her therapy with the detailed timeline of her physical progression (talk about testing MY memory!)
Immediately following Dr. K’s appointment, we met with Dr. G. There was a communication error with their internal staff the night before we arrived which caused a schedule change for Corey’s Neuropsychological testing. I was very impressed with Dr. G and although the appointment did not go as planned, he spent 45 minutes with us discussing the format for how he would like to test and possibly work with Corey.
The team collaborated and is suggesting we begin with a change to some of Corey’s medication. One of her night meds which helps her sleep has a significant side affect causing slurred speech. We have been so desperate for Corey to sleep more then 1-2 hours, we had to choose; slurred speech with the possibility of 4 straight hours of sleep or clear speech and no sleep…we chose sleep. Dr K would like to prescribe an alternate medication that should not only help with sleep but could also help with Corey’s headaches and temperament. We are cutting the old medication in 1/2 as we build the new medication levels up over the next 3 weeks. Depending how Corey handles this change, in week three, Dr. K may add an anti-depressant medication. She explained that she doesn’t use this as an anit-depressant but when married with the night med, the anti-depresant actually works as an anti-anxiety medication.
The cocktail mix for brain injury is a delicate science! What works for the average individual often has the reverse affect for brain injury and they must balance dosage along with how they interact and/or conflict with each other. We will be noting every change we see. What may seem insignificant to us could be telling the specialists information that is critical to the medication balance Corey needs.
In addition to medication changes, the team has also ordered a sleep study, a follow up appointment with her neurosurgeon, another CT scan and another field vision test. I’m hoping to get all of this accomplished before our next visit the end of October!
When we return, Corey will also participate in a four hour neuropsych evaluation; this is a 1/2 day exam. She will have 2 hours of testing, lunch and an additional 2 hours of testing. She does not have the stamina to participate in a full exam which usually is a solid 8 hour high intensity interactive exam. Dr. G believes the 1/2 day exam will help disclose enough information to begin working with Corey on her cognitive, emotional and behavioral therapy. This is exactly what I was hoping for!
On a personal note, these appointments were much more emotional for me then I expected. I have become somewhat desensitized when it comes to Corey’s clinical summaries. I have reported and explained her injuries, treatments and progress thousands of times in both defense as well as adoration and yet this meeting broke through the detachment I thought I so skillfully mastered.
To watch and listen to the tasks and questions Corey could not perform, answer or remember was very unsettling. I don’t live in denial or purposefully avoid the concrete evidence of the challenges she tries to overcome, but sitting in the reality of observing her struggles, without the ability to help her compensate, was difficult to say the least. Dr. G briefly outlined how he works with patients recovering from a severe injury. He described some of their private sessions along with a day program that has been very affective for some of his patients. Corey instantly panicked and Dr. G met Corrine. Seeing the desperation and fear in her eyes almost leveled me but; as usual, I had to suppress my emotional response to calm Corey. The tantrum actually had a positive outcome. Dr. G witnessed how I handle Corey’s outbursts and I witnessed his approach to reassure her that she was not going to be sent away from home and left in DC. He tapped into her primal fear instantly. I am looking forward to working with this team to further Corey’s recovery.
A final note to our friend Bob. Thank you for organizing Friday nights Rockfest for Corey. We had a clear, cool evening at a local vineyard. The band, NIGHTWATCH, was terrific as was the assorted food provided by multiple vendors. It was a great night with a great turnout!
Thank you to everyone in our community for coming out to join us as well as all of our friends that read this carepage. Your continued support and friendship means the world to us, I can not imagine where we’d be without all of you! xoxo