Derek’s therapy became the new routine. Under the care of Dr. Brandon Brock, at the Cerebrum Health Center in Dallas Texas, we began the tedious journey of figuring out this puzzle piece mystery of Derek.
Derek also went through a series of metabolic testing and a huge blood work panel. He has had blood taken so many other times, but Dr. Brock, checks everything and does the tests, that most doctors or facilities won’t do, usually because insurance companies won’t pay for it.
Derek’s new routine was his ‘reps’ of functional neurology and physical therapy 3 times per day. Each set of therapy, would push Derek to his limit and exhaust him even more. The videos below show some of his therapy.
I’m only showing you a few videos. But he did each of these things and more, multiple times a session.
The compassion at the Cerebrum Health Center was unlike anything I have ever seen. These passionate Doctors, nurse practitioners, chiropractors, physical therapists, were the biggest group of ‘outside the box’ thinkers and problem solvers I had ever seen. Just because they couldn’t figure out something, didn’t mean they gave up and sent you out the door to the next Doctor. They were willing to stick it out, if you were.
It was during the second day, as I waited in the lobby, I had a chance to talk with other patients, their families and was able to hear more details of their own stories.
One of the first people I met, was a young man named Christian. He was a very tall, 18 year old young man, 6 feet 6 inches to be exact.
What I noticed immediately about him, was the presence he brought into the room. Christian literally lit up the room immediately. His smile, attitude, and caring heart, couldn’t help but to put a smile on your face.
I think it’s fair to say, when I read his t-shirt, I knew without a doubt, that this young man, and I, were meant to meet.
His t-shirt read. “This is what a miracle looks like!”
When he stood, he literally towered over Derek’s 6 ft. frame and he walked with the aid of a walker.
I began talking with his parents and the story of this young man……… spilled out.
His story entered my soul….. beyond words. His story impacted me so much, that I’m going to have to write a whole piece just on Christian. Because when you hear his story…. His shirt was exactly right.
Christian is exactly what a miracle looks like.
Christian and his family inspired Derek and I so much, that it was truly an honor to have met them.
We also met a couple from Australia. Brad and Laura. Brad was in the Iraq war, and was in a bomb explosion and had a horrible concussion. After the war he was a police officer and suffered more concussions. Now, he has ‘leissions’ on his brain, was disabled and he was there to get his life back.
Brad, like Derek had exhausted every medical means in Australia and when he heard the US NAVY sends their SEALS to this center for balance and brain trauma, he knew this was the place he had to go. So, his family set up a fundraiser and he was here in the US for a month to go through this treatment.
Derek REALLY related to Brad. They had several of the exact same symptoms! They became instant friends.
This center also worked with veterans who struggled with PTSD. They had fundraisers so that veterans didn’t have to pay. Also, they had a room designated just for veterans. It was absolutely amazing. Walking by this room, with the American flag hanging, the presence it gave me, sent chills up and down my spine. Never in three years of searching for a place to help Derek, had I experienced a place like this.
The lobby to me became a book. It was like I was reading a ‘READERS DIGEST’ book of all the crazy stories of what these families had went through. Though the stories were all different, not one the same-what WAS the same, was these families attitudes.
The words, CAN”T, HOPELESS, GIVING UP, didn’t exist in there vocabulary. Though they were frustrated, exhausted, and their burden so very heavy, no one there was giving up.
These families were the finest people I had ever met. Everyone was faith based and had a will of an army to overcome their obstacles. In the days to come, I’m so excited to share their stories with you.
By the end of the second day, Derek, like most of the patients we had met were completely and utterly exhausted. I knew by our first visit to the Cerebrum Brain Center in Atlanta 2 years prior, that the 2nd and 3rd day was toughest on the patients. It was like they were really over working them to help them track with their eyes better, find balance again. This is the place, where they ‘reset brains’ and its incredibly exhausting!
This first picture was Derek after his 2nd treatment that day. He was rough.
They put Derek in a room where he was able to wear some special glasses called Mindfit. The glasses as funny as they look, really helped him sleep. The glasses were like a virtual reality, without a picture, just a series of lights, that was coordinated to a voice going through relaxation steps. Another amazing ‘tool’ we learned about. Of course, I had to tease him how he looked ‘spacey’! At this center, there were often times that I felt we were on another planet with all the amazing technology.
Exhausted, we went back to our hotel that night, only to find out our air conditioner had died. It was like an oven in our hotel room. For a couple of hours, I stood my ground arguing with the front desk manager… pleading to fix the air conditioner. However because it was after hours, they refused. Derek hadn’t been sleeping very well and I knew how important it would be to get him sleep. He was rough that night after such a long day of therapy.
On my last attempt to get the manger to fix it, and she kept refusing, my last resort was to see if we could borrow a screw driver and Derek and I would try to fix it. I was standing in the lobby…. On the verge of tears …arguing with the manager who looked at me as if she had no clue what a screw driver was when…….
An older man, dressed in a Pizza Hut uniform approached me.
“Ma’am you ok?”
Ok, I have to admit a side note, I was beside myself. Full of sweat. Exhausted. Angry that if Derek didn’t sleep that night, he would have a lost day of therapy. Therapy that was incredibly expensive that I was paying for on my own. I was having a pity party. As embarrassed as I am to write this. I was feeling like the world owed me at that very moment. Complete exhaustion had overcome me. Come on… I mean, all I was asking was for a night of sleep, not in an oven. I didn’t think I was asking that much.
I looked up at this elderly, Pizza Hut delivery driver and said, “ I need a screw driver. Our air conditioning is broke, they won’t fix it, and my husband has a health condition. He has to get sleep tonight or he will not be good for therapy tomorrow.”
The man looked at me and said, “Is your husband going to the Cerebrum Brain Center?”
“Yes” I said. He simply said, “Follow me”
I followed this man out to his car. He opened a tool box and handed me a screw driver and then said he had to deliver pizzas and would come back and pick up his tool when he was done.
I took the screw driver back to Derek, and Derek, who was dizzy, exhausted, and beyond tired, fixed the air conditioner.
When the Pizza hut delivery guy came back to our room, he told us to keep the screw driver in case it broke again.
That’s when it hit me.
He was an angel. Maybe even God himself.
I know you are thinking I have completely lost it, but let me explain.
I met Derek at Pizza Hut. I was his waitress. It’s where our story begins. Pizza Hut has a very special, significant value to Derek and I. Almost like its symbolic to us.
I followed this man out of our hotel room, and said, “Sir, I need to talk to you.”
He turned around, opened his arms and I went into them and sobbed. He just said, “There… there… it will all work out, all in time. Just be patient.”
I was speechless… I couldn’t find the words to express myself to him. The only thing I squeaked out was “THANK YOU!”
Watching this Pizza Hut Delivery man walk away, I knew that… I just hugged GOD. It had to be. I have a screw driver to prove it.
That night we slept GREAT in a cool hotel room. The manager the next day, gave us a FREE NIGHT at the hotel for Derek having had to fix the air conditioner himself.
The next few days, repeated the same. Intense therapy. Every day that went by, we met more and more wonderful people in the lobby.
This center was full of LOVE, FAITH, and HOPE!
As if amazing doctors and staff weren’t enough… then there was MOSES their therapy dog. Moses, literally put a smile on every single person’s face and made me miss my own dogs Snickerdoodle and Daisy something awful.
Derek also had therapies that worked on his balance, where he had to stand a certain way, and also use his brain with different instructions as seen in these videos.
This is a metronome type test. The green light is what Derek is shooting for. What seems easy, for Derek …..isn’t.
We had also met a mom and daughter. Kathleen and Madison. Madison was only 20. Had a horrible concussion and then had several more repeated concussions. This poor girl was suffering so bad. I also really connected to them as well and look forward to sharing their story in the days to come. They had encouraged Derek and I to go to a movie, called WAR ROOM. Kathleen, made the comment that the movie in some ways reminded them of us.
Movies was about the only thing most of these patients could do for fun. So one night, I treated Derek to this movie.
WOW… if you haven’t seen it, you need to go to this movie. I knew EXACTLY what Kathleen meant. The closet….. is exactly where it all began for me as well. When you watch the movie, you will get it. That’s all I will say.
GO SEE IT!
The days continued to pass, Derek was slowly beginning to awaken. His eyes looked brighter, his pressure in his head stayed more of a medium low vs. a high.
Though the changes ever so subtle, they were like little miracles all around us. Derek was joking more, laughing more, and healing was beginning. I could see it.
Being around this environment, was beyond humbling. I knew I wanted to write about all these family’s and this center. It was my new calling. These stories needed to be told, and could possibly help other people. Each and every family and staff member we met, truly imprinted our hearts.
The staff, had become our family.
The patients are family.
Though I missed my children deeply, I knew I would never EVER regret bringing Derek here.
To be continued…….