We have big news to share…
I don’t think it’s a coincidence that I was asked to write about Corey’s progress on Leap Day! From the moment I answered the first call after her accident, every critical decision, every therapy choice, every specialist we consult with, every ‘out of the box’ idea we try has been based on a Leap of Faith.
We had no idea what Traumatic Brain Injury was. In Hollywood and on TV, when a person comes out of a coma they wake up, stand up and remember most everything. Corey looked like a Hollywood actress. Her injuries were severe, she was hooked up to multiple machines that were keeping her alive; yet, as I stood looking at her, her face was perfect, her makeup and hair was untouched. Why wouldn’t I think she’d survive? That was October 2, 2010. I’m not saying we won’t have a happy ending, in fact, I’d say Hollywood should base their next reality show around Corey’s recovery. We’d call it, Never Give Up and Never Give In.
Corey worked hard at the acute care and neuro-out-patient rehab for the last 5+ years. She has re-learned every basic movement we non-injured people take for granted; moving her eyes, holding her head up, turning to look at something. She re-learned to sit, stand, cough, swallow, eat, talk and laugh; yes, she hasn’t forgotten humor. Her daily task, among many, is re-learning to walk and dress independently as we wait for her left side to fully wake up.
Corey’s dream was and IS to become a Culinary Chef. We have incorporated what we call ‘cooking therapy’ into her everything we do. When she was in a coma, I held aromatic spices hoping their scent would cause a reaction. We bought adaptive cooking utensils to use during home therapy. The meals she prepared were donated to our local churches for meals on wheels. We started reading recipe books, attending cooking classes, meeting local Chef’s and working towards her standing at the stove so she can realize her culinary dream.
I have often said; watching Corey as her brain heals is like watching an old wooden foot-bridge being built. Each new connection is a plank. Unfortunately, not all the planks line up or are easily strung together. After all this time, there are several planks still missing! Corey recently participated with the University of Delaware’s Go Baby Go Café research project. The café has helped her find her missing pieces. When Corey works in the café, her movements within the kiosk coupled with the interaction with customers and her co-workers ties each connection; this is called neuro-plasticity. The Café has tied years of separate Physical, Occupational, Speech, Cognitive, Emotional and Behavioral therapy’s immersing her in a real-world workplace. The stride’s Corey’s made throughout her last five years has taken a giant leap forward with her work at the Café.
We are about to take a new Leap of Faith as the first family to partner with the researchers of the University of Delaware’s Go Baby Go Cafe called HARNESS HOUSE. The spin-off of the Café will combine function, food and family! We will have a harness system in her bedroom and our kitchen. Corey will be able to walk about her bedroom to get dressed for the day and enter the kitchen to make her own breakfast or she will be free to stand and walk to the refrigerator to get a drink if she’s thirsty. What we are most looking forward to is her ability to stand and cook for her friends that come to visit; after all, we all know the best parties are always hosted in the kitchen!
HARNESS HOUSE is perfectly timed as March is National Brain Injury Awareness month. There are 2.3 million new TBI injuries annually. 5.3 million Survivors live with permanent disabilities whether it is from concussion to coma. Limited funding from private insurance, Medicaid and Medicare not only inhibit a survivor’s length of stay as an inpatient, but their long-term rehabilitation coverage as well; both of which is critical to their recovery.
Not Your Average Joe’s in Glen Mills have chosen Brain Injury Awareness month and HARNESS HOUSE as their Not Your Average Cause. Each Tuesday in March, you can help to raise funds for the Go Baby Go HARNESS HOUSE by eating at Not Your Average Joe’s in Glen Mills, located in the Glen Eagle Square Shopping Center. Just let your server know you’re part of the cause and they will donate 15% of your check to this amazing research study. Farmcat Media will continue to document Corey’s next leap in her recovery, so please stay tuned for the upcoming video documentary at www.farmcatmedia.com