Hi Everyone,

Tonight you get us both! It was a good monday for a few reasons.

On our route to Bryn Mawr, we drive past Corey’s elementary school. She not only recognized it, she noticed the parking lot was full with parents mingling outside.

C-why are all the parents at PLE?
M-It’s parent-teacher conference time.
C-(using a tone of painful dread) I remember parent-teacher conferences
M-You do?
C-Yes, they always scared me
C-because I never knew what they were going to tell you!
(I laughed out loud as I remembered the reports of her ‘independent, creative learning style’ which actually began in pre-school!)

Corey had a good session with both Natalie and Anne. During Anne’s session we were talking about the sparks in Corey’s memory. We started to discuss ideas about how to practice improving her retention. I shared we are starting to play Price is Right. I use items in our pantry for Corey to guess their retail cost. After she identifies them, she has to add them, pay for them and calculate the change. She is having trouble identifying coins but is beginning to be more consistent recognizing bills.

Corey began to get upset.
C-why are we talking about this? why is it important?
M-besides grocery shopping for yourself, when you get a job at a restaurant or a bakery or go back to work at the candy store, before you get a degree in culinary, you will need to wait on customers and have to use a cash register.
M-for instance, what if you were at the candy store and a customer wanted to buy candy. Let’s pretend its 3.95 a pound and they want 4 pounds.
C-(corey interrupted almost immediately) thats 15 point something…
M-(I took out my phone and calculated the example…) okay Rainman…It’s 15.80
(whenever Corey does “fast math” we tease her by calling her Rainman)
M-what if the customer gave you a $20?
C-(she paused for a few minutes) their change is 5.20
M-close! 4.20. You’re right 15+5 = 20 and .80+.20 = a dollar but…
C-I was over by a dollar

Anne asked if Corey is having any challenges reading. We discussed she is still having issues with isolating words, sentences and comprehension. Anne asked how she does on the phone. Corey is great on the phone. Her speech is still ‘stroke-like’ but if she speaks slowly she can be understood.

Anne described a technique she uses with patients. She goes into a different room, dials the patient and gives them a list of items and/or has a brief conversation with them. They disconnect and Anne physically joins them immediately. They then work together to try and recall the conversation and/or list.

Anne explained that speaking with someone in person is ‘visual learning’. You get the benefit of seeing expressions, mannerisms etc., which often helps memory recall. But when you speak to someone on the phone without the face-to-face, it’s auditory learning and that uses a different part of the brain. Anne suggested, if she can’t read a recipe or list, Corey could try listening to the same information and perhaps she could retain the information for more accurate comprehension.

Corey became very upset with Anne and her suggestions. Although she was starting an anxiety-based outburst, it was not at the level it used to be. She insisted she wanted to go home, get away from Anne and never try her suggestions.

I pressed her to peel back the emotional onion.
M-why is this overwhelming you? which part of that suggestion set you off?
M-ok, what was the first thing that made you upset?
Corey was insisting to go home but I wasn’t going anywhere until she revealed what was the origin of her reaction.
C-(after a few minutes of repeating the trigger questions, she answered) I’m afraid I won’t be able to do it.
M-THANK YOU. That was important to tell us and I’m so glad you can recognize it.
C-I’m afraid I will make a mistake. I’m afraid to get better because I don’t know how to be and adult and be on my own.
We assured Corey that both Anne and I are afraid too.
M-DOING things on your own is much different than BEING on your own. Everyone makes mistakes and to be honest, Anne and I are afraid to be on our own trying to be ‘grown-up’. Nothing we are practicing today means you will instantly be on your own.

What is the significance of this conversation besides the obvious intellectual component? we never would have gotten this conversation under control as quickly, 3 months ago and we never would have heard the underlying anxieties that triggered the outburst.

Most importantly, today we had a glimpse of clarity and reasoning we desperately look for everyday.

Many of you miss hearing from Corey. Tonight she wanted to share her perspective of the day, xoxo

hi everyone, i want to tell you what it is like for me to relearn everything?

i must admit, it’s a little bit frustrating to do something and not remember what it was i just did 10 minutes later.

everything i have to do everyday are things that i used to be able to do in the past, but now i don’t remember being able to do those things which is quite scary because what if i can’t do them again?

i get frustrated when there are plenty of people around trying to quietly tell me that i can do it. really, i do not ever remember doing it, so it is nerve racking because its like beginning all over again, pretty much :[

however on a good note, marie and i work as a team and if i do something good, and maybe will not remember, she can remind me. and when i actually accomplish a task that previously i may have failed i am a little bit happier.