Marla is currently fighting off a head cold. Her symptoms seem to be fairly
minor, mainly some congestion and a cough, but it is hard to know exactly how
she feels because of her limited ability to communicate. It is apparent that her
cold has made her tire more easily. However, she rested well over the weekend
and seemed to be feeling better as she began this week’s therapies on Monday.
Over the past several days, Marla has appeared the most calm and aware that
she has been since coming to Craig. She does not become upset and
agitated nearly as easily, and her attention span has improved. She continues
to enjoy spending time outside, and the beautiful if unpredictable Colorado
weather offered ample opportunity for outdoor activities this weekend. With
temperatures in the mid-60’s on both Saturday and Sunday, Marla enjoyed
several extended walks (in her wheelchair) around the grounds, each lasting
40-45 minutes. She certainly knows the route to follow to get outside. When
arriving at the elevators, she always presses the “down” button in the proper
sequence, and “1” to get to the first floor entrance, and does the same in
reverse when going back to her room.
Marla continues to show her feisty side once in awhile. The snowstorms of
a week ago left some piles of un-melted snow in the shade of buildings, and
Missy, Marla’s friend and fellow teacher from Glacier Peak, asked her if she
would like to throw a snowball at Mark. When offered one that had been
hastily packed from the rapidly melting snow piles, Marla quickly obliged,
hitting Mark in the knee. Payback time for all the “big brother” stunts she
has had to put up with all these years!
She continues to walk upright more often, with the support of two people,
one on either side, for safety. When getting up to eat or use the restroom,
her rehabilitation technicians usually have her walk to get there. Also, the
incision from her tracheostomy tube, which was removed on Monday March
3rd, 2003, is healing nicely.
On Wednesday, March 5th, 2003, Marla enjoyed a visit from Mary’s sister,
Aunt Judy, her cousin Brad, and Uncle Joe, from Aspen. Marla has always
had a soft spot for Brad, and when she saw him, she immediately reached out
and grabbed hold of his hand. We are encouraged that she continues to show
responsive emotions, and clear recognition of familiar faces. Aunt Judy went to
several of Marla’s therapies with her. In afternoon speech therapy, Judy mentioned
to Heather Wilson, Marla’s speech therapist, that Marla has always enjoyed
music, both singing and playing the piano. Heather brought up a program on
her computer in which a character sings a sequence of words matched to
musical pitches, which Marla had to reproduce. True to form, Marla matched
each one perfectly. This shouldn’t be any surprise to anyone who knows of
her musical talents, and that she learned to play piano entirely by ear before
learning to read music!
Every month, Marla’s team of physicians, nurses, and therapists gets
together with the family for a conference to review her progress, and to
plan a near-term course of action to offer her the best therapies to meet
her needs. The next conference is scheduled for Tuesday afternoon,
March 11th, 2003 . Right now, the plan is for Marla to be discharged from
the Craig in-patient program in early April. This doesn’t mean going
home, at least in the near-term future. She will need to come back to
Craig several times per week for on-going therapies on an out-patient
basis for the foreseeable future. Her progress at this point in time,
however, is very encouraging.
Marla’s recreational therapist feels that she is ready for an outing
away from Craig hospital. The plan is for a fun visit to the park, or
to a pet store to see some puppies and kittens, on the afternoon
of March 11th. Marla is also working on creating some beautiful
artistic candles by imprinting the wax with flowers and leaves as
a part of her recreational therapy.
Mary and Leo continue to work hard with Marla each day, practicing
the care skills that they will need to exercise when she is discharged.
Leo continues to manage the financial and legal matters, and Mary
acts as Marla’s medical advocate, keeping in constant tune with her
drug regimen, her therapies, and is certainly the single focal point
of information regarding her treatments.
As always, we appreciate the tremendous support for Marla. It is
clear to us from the incredible tidal wave of caring that was exhibited
by the community from the Roaring Fork Valley and beyond as a part
of her benefit dinner on March 7th, that she is a very valued and
precious light in the lives of many. We are blessed by Marla’s light that
continues to brighten each day, as the flame of her inner spirit is
kindled by your prayers and love.