Hi Everyone,

Happy 4th of July; what a weekend! There is so much to share I’m not sure where to begin. Truthfully, I couldn’t have updated you prior to tonight because unfortunately we didn’t have nurses for the better part of the weekend. We had 3 shifts call out and with the holiday, there were no backups. This didn’t stop us from having a full productive weekend.

Saturday morning Corey had an eye appointment with our family optometrist. Dr. Taylor performed a thorough exam and was very pleased to see that Corey didn’t have any damage to her eyes other than a slight change in her prescription in the right eye. Both her retina’s were in tack; no tears. Nor did she have any sign of cataracts beginning to form. She did confirm peripheral limitations on her left and lower visual fields. Dr. Taylor is referring us to a woman ophthalmologist that specializes in Vision Therapy in West Chester. Dr. Lydia can perform more extensive testing to pinpoint the peripheral damage as well as test for Corey’s ability to differentiate colors, depth perception and muscular plasticity. Dr. Taylor believes Corey’s limitations could be overcome with vision therapy since there is not internal damage to her eyes.

In the afternoon, we not only exercised on her matte, we also colored and played with the letter and number blocks. Corey was very frustrated. She reached over for a crayon and threw it at me. I asked her if she wanted to write what was bothering her. She took the crayon and started drawing circles. We wrote her name in large block letters and asked her if she wanted to try and copy it. I invite you to look at her Photo Gallery. She attempted to write her name! Of course I dated it and it’s hanging on our refrigerator where all works of art are hung. It’s just the beginning!

Saturday night we had a deck party with our neighbors. Corey and our neighbor Andy created a new version of Table Tennis. Corey sits opposite Andy and throws a ball over hand. It bounces on the table to ricochet to Andy. He catches it and bounces it back to Corey. Yes, she caught each return. If the ball landed off center, she would reach to find it…her toss to Andy was a straight shot!! They played for at least a ½ hour. Debbie brought the biggest most beautiful strawberries you’ve ever seen. They were dipping strawberries with the stems intact. Strawberries are Corey’s favorite. Corey has not had a swallow test up to this point because no one could get her to open her mouth to accept anything. Brushing her teeth twice a day is a 20 minute event that is not always successful; she refuses to participate. Corey has a feeding tube and does not take anything by mouth. Tati picked up a strawberry and asked Corey if she’d like to taste it. Tati told her the only way she could taste it was if she could open her mouth and stick out her tongue. For the first time EVER, she opened wide and stuck out her tongue! This is tremendous…it’s the first step that could lead to eating and forming words. PS – we’ve had success with brushing her teeth all weekend.

Sunday we worked hard on exercises. Corey is now using her right arm to exercise her left arm by herself. She is also using her right arm to open her left hand (it is habitually clenched). In addition to ranging Corey’s arms and legs, the following is an example of one of her exercises. We lay her on her back elevated by a wedge. We position her so her knees are bent and feet are flat on the matte. We place a beach ball between her legs and we do several repetitions of squeeze and release. Corey will also squeeze the ball as we tell her to lift her hips off the matte as she pushes up with her feet. She’s now lifting her right hip off the matte and almost has a lift of the left hip. This exercise strengthens her thighs and her core stomach muscles. Both of which are needed for sitting and standing.

As we were about to transition into her chair after our session, I was sitting to Corey’s right. I asked her if she was ready to get up and she leaned forward as if she was ready to stand on her own. Needless to say, I caught her and asked her, ‘where do you think you’re going’? She smiled and her shoulders laughed as if to say, ‘you asked me if I was ready to get up’!! We then practiced pushing up from the matte to a standing position, sitting back down and repeated the posture five times. The more we get Corey on the matte and exercising, the more she shows me she is so over this and is ready to GO!

Sunday night we took a short trip to the Candy Store. Sue just added a soft serve ice cream machine. Corey loved soft serve. Sue can’t wait to get Corey back to work. As soon as we arrived, Sue wheeled Corey up to the machine and had Corey pull the lever…check out the Photo Gallery. Sue’s ready to put her on the schedule again.

I would say that Corey has created her own fireworks this holiday! She is truly working towards her Independence Day.

Corey it’s hard to believe it’s been nine months since the accident. I couldn’t help but think of you as a baby. It took nine months of growth before you made your appearance to the world. When you’re waiting, nine months is a very long time and there were moments I felt as if you would never arrive. You used to complain that JohnPaul and Caitlin had a baby book and you didn’t. I felt guilty but knew that happens with the third. But then it occurred to me that this journal is your book; the book of your rebirth. Nine months ago this weekend we were prepared to lose you. Today we are celebrating a strong determined woman that will continue to grow and develop to fulfill her dreams.
I am elated and grateful to be with you, hold you, give you kisses and watch you grow stronger; just like I did when you first arrived! XOXO