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Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Meet Drema

Drema is one of those clients that threw me for a loop when I first met her. I was referred to give her massages due to her pain. That's all I was told. I had no idea what I was walking into. She was in her 40's. Her pain was due to an automobile accident, and not just a simple fender bender.

When she was 14 she was walking and was hit by a car on her left side. She was in a coma for over 9 months. She underwent several surgeries to repair the crushing of her bones, skull, and damage to her internal organs. I was freaked! I was walking in on a woman who had been bed ridden most of MY life. She couldn't hold up her head, sit on her own, or do much of anything really but lay in a bed propped with pillows. She did have some use of her right arm, but it was very unstable and wild.

At first she scared me. She was angry, she yelled, cried, and she didn't remember me every time I came. Sometimes her mind would go into a bad memory she experienced years ago and she'd shout and grab me with her right arm which was very strong and unstable as though she was back in that moment. I'd have to snap her out of it. I'd repeat who I was several times during a treatment and why I was there. At times I would feel so emotionally overwhelmed that I after her massage I would go and sit in my car and cry. I would ask myself "Can I do this?", "Why am I here?", "Can I even help her?"

She was filled with so much frustration. I didn't know what to do. She kept moaning that she wanted to WALK. Clearly that didn't seem that it was going to happen. After all, she had no use of her entire left side. She had been in a bed over 20 years. Her muscles were atrophied, or scarred. She couldn't sit on her own, she had to be propped with pillows in a bed. She couldn't even brush her own hair. Her right arm was all she had and it was very shaky, besides that think of a 3 month old baby and their physical abilities. That's just about where she was, but she could communicate. She would yell out demands of what she wanted others to do for her and her mother and sister would run and do whatever they could for her.

One day after a tough session I just decided if she wanted to walk then I was going to do whatever I could do to make that happen. She had already gone through years of unsuccessful therapy by trained doctors and therapists with minimal results. I had no idea how I would do it, but I didn't care. I'd find a way.

Months passed by of me stretching her, making her body go through the motions of getting up, rolling over, trying to make her to as many exercises as she could, even if it was just lifting her head and trying to do a crunch in bed. She'd be dripping with sweat and exhausted after an hour "workout".

Little by little she responded. Muscles that had not moved in 20 years started to wiggle. Her left leg started to move. Her left arm would start to move back and forth. She even began gripping with her left hand which was crushed, filled with scars, and had undergone several surgeries. She began holding up her head and turning it in all directions.

I soon realized her memory was improving. She knew who I was, remembered our visits and what were doing. I began enjoying seeing Drema. I loved her determination and drive. I enjoyed the challenge. I enjoyed experimenting with her and challenging her to see what she was capable of.

Little by little I noticed her fine motor skills were improving, but I knew the mind MUSCLES needed a workout too! So, I wrote out affirmations for her to type on her computer keyboard with the right hand. Affirmations like, "I can brush my own hair", "I can sit up on my own", I can brush my own teeth" and of course, "I am walking".

She has able to wiggle herself into her wheelchair.
And buckle her own seat belt using both hands! She was gaining use of her body parts again.

I helped her get out of bed......

to go and sit down in a chair other than her wheelchair....

She is exhausted from so much exertion!

What a satisfying feeling to see her in a chair for the first time in over 20 years!

Next, came sitting on things other than chairs. I wanted her to be able to use a bathroom again. When was the last time you felt thankful that you could use the bathroom?

So, I continued to help her walk. Her steps were improving. Just like a baby in a walker, I considered myself her life-sized walker! Tough stuff! I was sweating too!

I wanted her to put herself in bed from a standing. We would go back and forth from being in bed to getting up and standing for an hour sometimes.

Now I wanted her to stand on her own for the first time!

She's "cheating" a bit here by leaning on my chest, but pretty darn close!

A little wobbly!

I wanted her to be able to support her own body weight.....and she did it! Drema is standing on her own!

This was probably more exciting and rewarding than watching my own children learning to stand and walk on their own. Never underestimate what a determined mind can do. She was told she'd never do these things and here she is. Believe, because nothing is impossible.

As Wayne Dyer likes to say, "Nobody knows enough to be a pessimist." Anything the mind can perceive we can achieve. She had the determination, the drive! We went through sweat and tears....and after a year she did walk!


Megan Ugarte said...

Lori - what an incredibly beautiful and inspiring story. This made me cry. Thanks for sharing.

Robert Gray said...

WOW! !What a courageous woman!To overcome so much adversity is truly inspiring. Thank You for sharing this. You have a gift and incredible healing energy. I bet you feel so proud. I would because when I work with my clients there's an incredible "high" I feel when they make breakthroughs. (almost better than sex) There's nothing like it in the world then seeing people grow/evolve/improve right before your eyes. Thank You for sharing your love and compassion with her. We are all better because you did.

Anonymous said...

Micarles do happen everyday. What an outstanding story. Thanks for sharing it with everyone. It shows that you really should be thankful for the little things in life. Because something little to you might be huge for someone else. I wish you and her all the best.

lisa cole said...

what a beautiful story lori! but you made me cry! ... i think this is proof of how powerful simply caring for and paying attention to another can accomplish truly amazing things and make a life changing difference ... awesome :) ... xoxo

Liz Leon said...

Go Drema,
or "Dream". Incredible! Like some of your other readers, this story made me tear up from how beautiful and inspiring it truly is. God bless you both.

Courtney Pool said...

Awesome story, Lori! What an inspiration you are! And I just can't get over how cute your little fiture is in that outfit!

thecanary said...

That is such a great story Lori. Your dedication is amazing...many others would have given up after so much resistance from Drema. Gratitude...that is the lesson I got from you today. Thanks!

astrorainfall said...

Hi Lori, I felt really moved by this post as I read it after breakfast. A story about determination and focus (both you and Drema). You have a really big heart and your work must affect lives in such a positive way.

Nibbit said...

Lori, thank you so much for sharing this story. It was more than heartwarming, but I cannot find the word to describe it.

Sarah said...

This is such an inspiration. All it takes is a little faith, a lot of love, and some determination to do the so-called "impossible"...congrats to you and Drema. You make a great team!!!

Bella said...

Wow! Great job!

Rawket Food said...

Way to go! Inspiring. This is awesome!

Laura Bruno said...

Lori, what a gift you have for bringing out the beauty and determination in people. And what courage Drema has! I work with a lot of TBI survivors and I'm going to save this post for them to remember what's possible. Continued blessings to you!

Derek said...

Lori, great story - thank you.

Drema is truly an incredible person and unbelievable inspiration so the two of you obviously have a lot in common.

Buccaneer said...

Thanks for doing this and sharing it with others...God bless you...I also love the lines you have at the end...People work hard and spend all their health to gain wealth and when they get old, spend all their wealth to gain back health...So true in this world and boy arent we glad that 811 saved us from that experience!!