Corey continues to surprise us. This has actually been a week of a few surprises.
Wednesday’s we visit Dr. A; she is a neuro-behavioral psychiatrist in Philadelphia. Corey fights me every single week! Her reactions are solely generated by anxiety of what to expect, the fact that she doesn’t remember Dr. A week to week and the fear of being with someone she doesn’t know without me. Despite the fact that I remind her repeatedly that I would never drop her off in Philly without staying and we see Dr. A together, she perseverates on her anxiety.
One of the daily memory strategies to help lessen her anxiety is writing in a notebook/notepad. Corey asks for the book to write what she wants to remember. This is a huge first step. The second step is for her to remember the book exists. When she can link the two, she will be able to go back and find her own answers rather than repeatedly asking us. This link can only be built with constant reminders from us, “you wrote that down, look in your book”. Step 3 will be reading her own handwriting (we are writing most of her thoughts in all capital letters). Good news, Corey has begun to ask, “Can I have my book to write something down”? or she’ll call out, “Mom, can you get a pen and paper – write this down before I forget”…
As we traveled on 95 into Philly, Corey was very upset. I took out her notepad and pen. I asked her to write down what she was afraid of. She wrote: What I am most afraid of is independence even though I want it and abandonment…
Talk about getting right to the point!
I told Corey that Dr. A specializes in memory and in anxiety. What she wrote was perfect and encouraged her to bring it in to show Dr. A so she could talk to her about it.
We typically park in a busy lot in center city. I always feel the pressure of the cars lined up behind us so I quickly unload/set up the wheelchair, gather my wallet, Corey’s bag, her water, then transfer Corey to the chair. Just as I was turning us away from the car, Corey stopped me and said, “Mom, get the thing (she was miming her hand writing), it’s in the door”…SHE REMEMBERED HER NOTEPAD!
That was wonderful but yesterday’s surprise is beyond words…our next big milestone!
Corey was in the bathroom as Caitlin and I were rushing to get everything together to leave for the Cafe. Corey was fighting us about everything! She was spewing every negative thought she had…(remember the anxiety names we’ve developed to help her identify emotions? We’ve recently been introduced to Nervous Nellies evil twin…Bitchy Betty!)
Caitlin was standing by the open garage door. I was following Corey, hands ready if she topples. As ‘Betty’ walked out of her bathroom located off the kitchen, I released my hand from the gait belt to place her brush on the counter of the sink…Corey kept walking forward. I stopped at the threshold to see if she could continue independently (we’ve started to release our grip of the belt to test Corey’s balance). Caitlin, eyes wide from shock as she watched Corey continue to walk, was standing at the ready. Betty was yelling at us right up to the threshold of the garage door (a distance of 10′). When she reached the door I called out, “Corey! Stop and look at me”…I was standing at the bathroom door…”you just walked by yourself without me near you”! She had no response, just a little smirk.
Caitlin helped her step over the lip of the door and had a hand ready on the gait belt as Corey descended the ramp in the garage…Betty was still complaining. Corey stood at the threshold of the garage/driveway as I walked ahead of the girls to open the car door. Corey slowly walked forward, moved to the left of the passenger door, turned to back into her seat, leaned against the seat, handed Caitlin her cane, reached up for the grab bar, lifted both legs into the car and spun herself into place. Caitlin directed, “put your seatbelt on Corey”…we then watched her reach, grab, cross her body and securely clip the belt…We didn’t help her or have a hand on her belt.
Caitlin and I were in awe, we literally had our mouths open. Corey was bewildered at our reaction. When we tried to tell her why we were shocked, we both cried at the joy of what we witnessed!
Day in, day out…fight after fight, it’s moments like this, moments that we always hope we’ll experience but secretly doubt from the fatigue of waiting for them for years…and then it happens…when we’re worn down and ready to lose it…another step forward!
You know what this means? Betty’s our new best friend and we just have to keep pissing her off…xoxo