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I am back! Thanks for all the well wishes. Very long!

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From: Sharon Henneborn (heneborn_at_TeacherArtExchange)
Date: Thu Jun 21 2001 - 13:02:32 PDT


I am home and back on my computer. I want to tell all of you how much
I missed being able to click on and read the list. They tried to
connect me at the trauma center but couldn't accomplish it. I really
did appreciate all the wonderful cards you sent. I read them over and
over as soon as I could read. The cards became part of my reading
lessons.

I will explain what happened. I was walking through the cafeteria and
a child asked me a question. I turned around to talk to him and
another child slid one of those bright traffic cones out of his way so
it was just behind me. When I turned around my foot caught on it and
knocked it in front of the other foot. Down I fell. I knew I was in
big trouble!

At the hospital the doctors were great. The next week when I was out
of danger they moved me to the Brain Trauma Unit to start the rehab.

I will try to write but the word recall and recognition got the most
impact from the injury and is the slowest return. Writing, editing,
and trying to remember words is very slow and tiring. Only part of
each eye can see so it is tiring to read or write.

I have learned so much about how the brain works. The brain trauma
unit where I was being treated is considered one of the best in the
US. The staff are master educators and they were eager to explain to
me what they were doing to maximize the healing and the return of my
cognitive function.

A few days there and I heard a voice say " Mrs. Henneborn, Is that
you?" A therapist was my student in K-8. They are everywhere! She
let me teach an art lesson to her "group" the week of discharge. These
were people who had a variety of brain function levels but all had
damage to their hands. It was an interesting challenge to find ways
for each of them to use the gel pen makers.

I am an out patient now in one of the satellite units near home. They
send transportation for me daily. I can see the improvement daily but
it is soooooo annoyingly slow. I will be so glad when I can safely
drive again. It is weird having a brain that can't sequence and that
doesn't recognize names of good friends. I had a band on my arm from
day one and I studied it every day trying to figure out what the
letters Roberta stood for. 3rd week I realized it is my middle name
written right in there between my first and last name. Should have
been a good clue!.

Some of you will find this interesting. From the first day in the
trauma unit I was saving every left over knife, fork, and spoon and
putting them in a drawer by my bed. I kept them hidden and would panic
if I thought anyone might find them and remove them. A week before
discharge I forgot to do it and forgot about it entirely. Last day
clean up I found all these utensils and was embarrassed that I had
collected and stored them. When I asked my nurse about this she
laughed and said that it is so common that they have a name for it and
that they never interfere with the patients "Hoarding" because they
become so agitated about having to give up the hoard, what ever it is.
I am thinking about my hoards in the art room storage cabinet. I
thought that just comes from being an art teacher!!!

So, while you all are talking about your plans for the summer, think
of me going like an elementary kid every day to school to learn
reading, writing, vocabulary, sequencing and visual scanning. At
least I get to go to PE for a variety to work on improving function of
my right side.

The progress is moving well. I was discharged from the hospital and
to rehab. 3 weeks earlier than expected. They have upgraded my return
to school from 12 months to possibly October if I continue improving
at the current rate. They attribute my quick improvement to my skills
as an art teacher. I am able to evaluate and articulate what I am
experiencing so they don't waste time discovering and I am able to
work with myself like I would one of my students. I had my husband
bring in good gel pens and black paper. I worked on designs for days.
That is what I used to teach the group and it was exciting to have
that success at teaching.

I have missed communicating with my ArtEd friends

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