KEEP THE FAITH...
I saw the vulnerability in the eyes of my high school senior –- who hadn’t been able to attend a full day of school in months-- when he asked Dr. Teena Shetty “will I be ok?”. What I heard as a mom was—"will I be able to go back to being a teen? Will I be able to play in the playoffs on my high school basketball team? Will I once again be able to be a kid who studies for test, focuses in school, attends school, plans to take a gap year next year, and move on to college? Or will I continue to have post-concussive symptoms such as headaches, vision issues, difficulty in focusing, and light and noise sensitivity?" Dr. Shetty looked straight at Simon and said “keep the faith.” I will always remember that….she did not tell Simon “absolutely!” or even “yes”, as it was a fluid and uncertain situation. Her ability to keep my son, my husband and I positive gave us strength, at a time when Simon was feeling pretty low.
Now that our son Simon Kofman has “graduated” from the HSS Concussion Center (the “Center”), after being one of the Center’s first patients, words cannot express how grateful we are for the Center— it’s formation, it’s existence and more importantly the professionals who staff the Center. We came to the Center after receiving problematic medical advice from another hospital’s concussion center, and our son Simon was having a relapse of all the post-concussive symptoms that he had in the initial post-concussive period following the late August 2015 initial incident. The importance of the Center cannot be underestimated— one central location and time period where all the professionals are available to treat the post-concussion patient.
Dr. Shetty’s professionalism, accessibility, even keeled nature and ability to project calm— throughout the entire process— was of great comfort and help to us. Dr. Cary Gunther connected with Simon, and quickly developed a very good relationship with him. Pablo Acosta (concussion trainer) and Peter Schultz were excellent. They understood Simon, kept him motivated to do his exercises, and emphasized on each visit how far he had come.
A huge shout out to Lauren Langford, social worker and coordinator for the Center. I lost track of the number of times we were in contact with Lauren over the past several months— Lauren served as our point person at the Center, from a logistical and emotional perspective. Lauren kept us organized, calm and moving forward through this challenging process— which involved not only the numerous appointments, but also coordinating with Simon’s high school academic and support team, listening to our concerns, and coaching us through this scary and sometimes overwhelming process. During these five months of recovery at the Center, Simon was applying to college, which further increased the stress of the situation. Lauren is a gem.
Thank you also to Virgen Gonzalez for her help. I am happy to talk to any parent about being the parent of a teen who is dealing with a concussion.