| Autumn was thankful that she didn't have...what was it that doctor called it?...anyway, she could still see and recognize things. and that nurse--she was someone new. Autumn couldn't remember a Morgan. She would have to ask Sariah about that, but how could she possibly do that?
"Apparently her occipital lobe wasn't damaged, so she doesn't have any sort of visual agnosia..." Jamison sighed as he listened to the doctor talk. By this time, he was getting used to her speech, and Josiah was helping him to understand just what all this stuff meant.
"the visual cortex is located in the occipital lobe, and the agnosias we see with that are--"
"What in blazes are you talking about, lady?" Jenni asked. "Okay, we all know you're working with ten years of school and many as a neurosurgeon, but we don't care. can you just get her neurologist down here? She can tell us what's really going on."
The surgeon left the room and quickly summoned Autumn's neurologist...she would have to track her down. Bridget, her neurologist was either in emergency or on the neuro floor--7.
"Oh bother," she grumbled, "I have other things to do."
Josiah opened his mouth to answer Jamison's unasked question, but as if on cue, one who understood this only too well entered. This had to be Morgan's daughter--the one who had a TBI.
Morgan initiated eye contact with Autumn, scribbled something on a sheet of paper and then handed it to the stranger. The girl handed it to Autumn. So this is Michelle! Jamison detected the anticipatory expression as Autumn held the paper out to him.
"I'm Michelle, and I am four years older than you. My mom told me what happened, so..." She placed her backpack at the foot of Autumn's bed. She rummaged inside until she found just the right tool. She had noticed that the younger girl would soon fall asleep, so she would introduce this one thing.
"I don't need visual language implements anymore, so I thought they might help you. this is one of several picture books." She held up the simple book. "We figured that would be easier than a communication board or the ProTalker...um, that's something electronic...anyway, you can start off with this one. Your friends helped us figure out what things need to go in it, so we just took my own pictures out and put symbols in for you." Michelle stopped and remove the only one of her pictures left. She replaced it with something autumn could identify. "And...there are Braille labels under each picture so Jenni can read." She finished as she indicated the series of dots underneath a picture. She touched the picture and ran her fingers across the Braille label. She had no idea what that was all about. She had enough trouble comprehending words--she wouldn't try to learn this new "language" of sorts. Michelle spoke all of these things aloud so Autumn's family and friends would be able to understand, but she accompanied the speech with the things she remembered from speech and occupational therapy. It took a considerable amount of time, because she said more complex things than what she "signed." she didn't condescend to Autumn's so-called defect; she just knew it would be impossible for autumn to understand rapid-fire language in any form. Michelle had opened the book to the page devoted to bedtime paraphanalia since she could detect the girl's complete exhaustion. it was perfect, since Autumn decided she needed another blanket. It seemed that Michelle really knew what she was doing.
Michelle turned to the remaining people in the room to explain the other things she had. "There are some visual cues that she can use until her physical therapist can make some for her. They tell me that she does have some apraxia, meaning she can't remember movements to perform tasks. since it's the second day after her surgery, you have no idea just how severe this thing is, but I figured I would bring all of my stuff anyway. You see, I was driving some of the people home after youth group. We're in the neighborhood where these kids live in poverty and gang violence is normal. In order to get them involved in something constructive, we arranged ways for them to go to those types of events...you know, lock-ins and stuff. So anyway, my mom told you something about the car accident. I have no idea what happened, and I don't remember the first few weeks of treatment. I don't have too many speech problems anymore, though you can all tell that I occasionally stutter and lose my train of thought...welcome to traumatic brain injury. Sometimes I don't understand it, but God has been so merciful to me. And I can see a little of how He is going to use my own trauma to help someone else. I'm glad I kept all of that stuff. Anyway, there are prompt cards, more books, a communication board with a bedrail holder so she can always reach it and finally, a GoTalk Talker. That's an electronic device so more complex messages can be delivered, but she probably won't be ready to use that for several weeks. Since that doctor didn't really tell you anything of great use, I will...the brain is an awesome thing. I's "flexible" in a sense, and new pathways can be created when things get damaged, but it's important for you to understand that she might not regain all of her communication skills, especially since she had radiation and surgery..."
"But they were able to remove it...the cancerous tissue in her brain," Jenni said quietly.
"Yes, but at what cost?" The harsh tone that crept into Jamison's tone was quite surprising. Still, the others supposed it was only normal. He had been strong, loyal, fearlessly faithful and steadfast, despite the enormous pressure he had to be dealing with, and he had done so admirably.
"Hang in there, and know that I'll be praying for all of you. I mean, I truly understand, and I'm not just saying that." And with that, Michelle left the room. She had just communicated hope to Autumn without verbally saying a thing. Then she demonstrated immense courage when she shared her story and agreed to help Autumn. Morgan and Michelle were still essentially strangers, but they had given Autumn the gift of a different kind of voice. They had infused hope into the dark aftermath for those who cared for Autumn. This was all evidence of God's grace and a reminder that He was with them in the midst of this quicksand.
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