Today was a better day for Corey then yesterday. Diane is very impressed with her increased control while swallowing. As Corey advances with her ability to chew and swallow her speech is improving daily as well. Her formation of words, voice strength and enunciation is startling! Although she still struggles with many words, she is beginning to speak in sentences and her development is accelerating. Diane is scheduling another swallow study next week to advance Corey to soft solid foods.
Corey’s PT sessions have been very difficult this week with Gillian. She has been extremely frustrated. When she reaches her breaking point she will pull her hair, bang her arm and kick her right leg. At times she’s hit and kicked Gillian and me in the midst of her rage. If she’s standing, she bends at her waist stomping her right foot refusing to stand as she bangs her hand on the island counter. When we ask her what’s wrong or why she’s upset, she says “I don’t know”. We have to talk her through her rage and she ultimately pushes through to complete the session but it’s rough for her. Gillian and I feel her internal torment and it’s an emotionally draining session for all of us.
Yesterday’s session was particularly tough especially without my help. Today, however, was a very good session. In fact, it was one of the best sessions she’s had with Gillian in two weeks. Corey begins the session with stretches to warm up. Our nightly homework of stretching her left leg is becoming evident. We call it our ‘4 count’ exercise. Her left leg is fully extended in the resting position. (1) She lifts her leg at the knee to 90 degrees. (2) Tries to straighten her leg vertically pointing her toe to the ceiling. (3) Bends her leg downward heel to butt. (4) Extends the left leg horizontally to full extension. Corey is now following the count in a fluid motion. Keep in mind, two months ago she was just beginning to wiggle her left toes and one month ago raised her left heel off the matte one inch!
After her matte exercises we moved to the kitchen island. Gillian put a piece of medical tape on the floor to use as a visual balance beam. Corey’s right foot must stay on the line which gives her the correct spatial distance between her feet for proper balance as she walks. Corey walks 5 feet, she sits in her wheelchair, we roll her back and she repeats the one way distance 4-5 times. Then Gillian faces her flat against the counter to side step right then left 2-3 steps in each direction.
She was getting extremely frustrated with the side stepping. Gillian told me yesterday that Corey told her, “It’s not working”! Today’s frustration yielded an even more amazing comment. When asked to step left, Corey became outraged, looked at us and yelled, “I DON’T KNOW HOW”!
Corey when I think of the progress you’ve made in the last 16 months, today’s statement spoken clearly and with such conviction was truly the most miraculous of all your achievements. I know you are frustrated. When you are asked to follow a command you have to hear it, process it, try to remember how to execute it and wait for your body to move. There are times your mind knows you’re following the command yet you watch your limbs remain motionless. For the first time that I’ve witnessed, you were able to verbalize what your mind was processing. This level of cognitive understanding is much more significant than you give yourself credit for.
It’s not easy waiting for your body to catch up to your mind but its happening Corey! Everything is slowly firing and reconnecting. It may not be exactly as it was before but that’s alright too. You may not know “How” to make your body take that step but your willingness to keep trying until it does is what keeps you moving forward. Your ability to express your self compounded with your motivation and determination is the force behind “HOW” ~ and “YOU WILL” make it happen. I’m so proud of you! xoxo