Marla’s sinus infection seems to be a bit more stubborn than expected, as she is still quite
congested, but she is now on antibiotics to help fight off the bug. Hopefully this will clear up
the illness, because we think that her discomfort in chewing and eating might partially stem
from sickness-related congestion.
Marla has started on a diet that includes some soft foods that require chewing,
such as pancakes, orange slices, peaches, etc.. She needs to practice chewing
to start exercising these neuro-muscular pathways again. And we are hoping that
the more solid food will also be more appealing to her. Although her appetite is
improving slowly, as she has become more aware, she has become less and
less willing to eat the pureed foods that she is offered. As a result, she has lost
some weight over the past couple of weeks, since she is no longer receiving
any food through her stomach tube, only medicines.
On Thursday, March 13, Marla had the stitches removed from her left eye, and a tiny gold
weight emplaced in the upper lid to help it close completely when she blinks or closes her eyes.
This will help her cornea to heal from the irritation it suffered when she was constantly rubbing
her eye, and will also help keep her eye more moist. She also had a single stitch placed in the
outer corner of her eye to help address the same issue.
Marla seems to be vocalizing less often over the past few days than was characteristic
over the previous week or two. Mary and her neuropsychologist are speculating that this is
related to her continually increasing level of awareness–she has reached a level of
awareness and cognitive functioning whereby she realizes that much of what she
says does not make sense, and she may be embarrassed by that. This could be
causing her to not speak as frequently, or outside of situations in which she has
a clear need that must be addressed.
Marla is increasing her endurance and independence in walking. During the past week, she
has walked up and down a half-flight of stairs on several occasions! We have posted updated
photos of her therapies and progress, so be sure to drop by to view them and check on her
Marla has graduated from her Craig bed, which is surrounded by padded partitions
on all four sides, to a regular bed. This is a big step, as it signals a level of comfort
by her therapists and doctors that she is calm and aware enough now to remain
safe in the conventional bed, and no longer requires the Craig bed to maintain safety.
Marla, her doctor, neuropsychologist, nurses, and therapists had a conference with
the family on Tuesday 3/18/2003. All of her team members expressed a positive
assessment of her improved awareness, attention span, understanding, and progress.
The current plan is for her to be discharged from the inpatient program at Craig on
April 4, 2003. Upon discharge and for the foreseeable future, Marla will be returning
to Craig 3-5 days per week for outpatient rehabilitation. The exact plan for living
arrangements at the time of discharge is still somewhat up in the air and dependent
on Marla’s near-term progress within the next few weeks. Wherever she lives,
Mary and Leo are gearing up to handle the anticipated big increase in the workload
associated with providing care for her, as she will still require someone to be with her
24⁄7 during this transition time, to ensure her safety and to guide her in accomplishing
tasks in support of her daily basic needs.
Meanwhile, the major blizzard that has hit the Denver area is making it a challenge for
Mary and Leo to travel between the home in which they are staying and Craig Hospital.
The 2-3 feet of snow has made travel almost impossible. Craig is scrambling to keep
the hospital staffed at minimum required levels, recruiting volunteers with 4 wheel drive
vehicles and studded snow tires or chains to transport vital employees to the hospital
for their shifts. As of Tuesday night, the snow was accumulating at the rate of 3
inches per hour, and expected to continue through Thursday morning. Mary and Leo
are unsure whether they will be able to make it in to Craig on Wednesday morning!
Colorado weather at its best! One week ago it was 70 degrees and sunny, and Marla
was enjoying lots of time in the beautiful spring-like weather. A week later, and two
days before the official start of spring, we’re getting hit with a blizzard. Wow!
We’re still working to compile an acknowledgement and thank-you page for the website,
and hope to have it on-line soon. Thank you for continuing to check in and offer your
encouragement and supportive caring for Marla. We are so thankful for her wonderful
support group of caring individuals and families.