Coping with a New Sherrin

Words cannot express how much Sherrin has improved since she checked in at Turco. My parents and I say that Turco is basically a bootcamp for Sherrin. She has nearly twice as much therapy than she was getting at Kessler and her state of mind is getting less and less foggy. Something whatI think Turco is doing quite well is that they are working her entire body during her physical therapies. At Kessler, the therapists focused on stretching her arms and legs but never her torso. The Turco therapists instead start Sherrin’s exercise from her core and then focus on the outer limbs. This is overall making her a million times stronger.

My mom also tries to make Sherrin feel as “normal” as possible. She lets Sherrin hold her old iPhone and hangs her purse on the side of her wheelchair. When the phone rings, Sherrin gets so excited and tries to answer it herself. Sometimes I take Sherrin’s index finger and try to text things on her iPhone for her. If she needs something out of her purse, we put the purse on her lap and stick her hands in the purse to fish it out. This helps her mind because she feels like a 23 year-old girl again and not a hospital patient.

For those of you that do not know, I have been living in London for the summer for a study abroad internship program. I am so thankful for this opportunity, but god I miss Sherrin. I Skype her and my mom nearly every day and I can see Sherrin’s progress so clearly. When Sherrin and I have “gal pal time” (aka when my mom leaves the room so that Sherrin and I can catch up by ourselves) she asks me things that sound like the old Sherrin. Once I asked how she was liking Turco and she said, “I have my shit together finally!” (Sherrin used to swear like sailor). Another time I was telling her how wine here is a lot more expensive than in the States so she responded with, “I need a big glass of wine too.”

It’s so cute when she says these things because it reminds me of our lives before the accident, but I cannot stress enough that Sherrin will never be the same Sherrin that we all know. When someone hits their head that hard and is in a coma for large amounts of time, they will never act the same as they did before. Their minds are practically wiped clean and they have to start over. Before the accident, Sherrin was a tough cookie (it’s funny because she is only 4’11”) and was very outspoken. Now, Sherrin is sweet, kind, and very patient. She puts up with a lot of things that used to drive her crazy, such as my mom doing silly noises or me bantering about something that annoyed me. The new Sherrin just sits and smiles at us and replies with, “Oh Wow!” This fact is very hard for a lot of people to understand, especially Sherrin’s friends. Some of her friends say that they cannot wait for Sherrin to get out of the hospital and take her to a bar just like the old days, but the truth is that will probably not happen anytime soon. Sherrin is not the same fun-loving and free-spirited girl anymore. She is more reserved and quiet and sometimes really shy.

It’s really hard for me because the relationship I once had with my sister is gone. It’s like it never happened. Pre-accident Sherrin and I would fight all of the time but then forget about it 10 minutes later and watch a movie. Post-accident Sherrin listens to me very quietly and says how much she loves me every 5 minutes. It’s so sweet, but it’s very difficult for me to accept that my old Sherrin is gone. However, I have said it before and I will say it again, any form of Sherrin is better than none at all. I will take what I can get without complaints.

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