Marla has been busy over the past week, which has included blizzards, outings, and more!
Be sure to visit the updated pictures from the blizzard, as well as some pictures from her outing
to the Denver Museum of Nature and Science. Marla is soon to be released from the hospital,
at less than one week now left for her inpatient stay at Craig. She will be discharged on
April 4th, 2003. Mary and Leo are excited for her to be ready to leave, but somewhat
anxious at the same time. Excited because Marla has made excellent progress at Craig,
and is ready to be discharged. Anxious because they will miss the caring of the Craig
staff which offers evening and night-time relief for Mary and Leo, when they can rest and
come back ready for the next day. Upon discharge, they will be providing 24⁄7 care for her.
She has been over her sinus infection for about a week now, and we have noticed that
her energy level has definitely improved. Until about a week ago, she was sleeping
most of the day on weekends, and on weekdays when not in therapy sessions. It is
hard to know how much of that sleepiness was due to her brain injury, (for which drowsiness
is a common symptom) and how much due to her illness. However, now that she has kicked
the infection, she does not sleep nearly as much. In the evenings, Marla has enjoyed watching
movies that her friend Missy, and Rob, have brought to her room. She has quite a library!
Marla is much more quiet now than in the recent past. Mary and Marla’s neuropsychologist
continue to believe that this is because she has become sufficiently aware now that she
realizes that much of what she vocalizes does not make sense. Most of her communication
is non-verbal, by pointing her fingers, nodding or shaking her head. One new development
in her communication is that she has been able to listen to family or friends talking on the
telephone, and she seems to understand. Mary and Leo returned to Glenwood Springs
for a few days starting on Monday, March 26, 2003, to sort out some matters and to rest
in anticipation of Marla’s discharge. They have called Marla on several occasions. Talking
to her on the evening of Friday, March 28, 2003, Marla responded to Mary by saying “Hi!”,
and “Uh-huh”. She laughed at several funny stories Mary told, and said “Bye” upon
Wednesday March 26, 2003 was the day of an eventful outing from Craig hospital. Marla
went on an outing with several other Craig patients and therapists to the Denver Museum
of Nature and Science. Rob and Mark came along with her for the outing. After departing
Craig at about 10:15 AM, Marla arrived at the museum in time to enjoy lunch in the Museum
courtyard. After lunch, she spent some time walking (with Rob and her speech therapist,
Heather Wilson) through several galleries at the museum, including the wildlife gallery,
and the special exhibit showing on Jane Goodall’s work with chimpanzees at the Gombe
preserve in Tanzania. She was joined by friend Joslyn Schoemer, who is the director of
development for the new Space Odyssey gallery at the Denver Museum of Nature and
Science, scheduled to open in June of 2003. Joslyn gave Marla and company a VIP
tour of the new Gates Planetarium, that will open concurrently with Space Odyssey.
At 1:00, after touring through the Museum, Marla went to see the IMAX movie about
Jane Goodall’s work at Gombe. She seemed to thoroughly enjoy the film. Even though
there were several scenes in the movie in which the music and sound effects were somewhat
loud, Marla was not bothered or over-stimulated. In fact, when asked if she wanted earplugs
to soften the sound, she shook her head “No.” She also continues to exhibit a sense of
humor from time to time. While waiting for the movie to begin, she reached over and poked
Mark a couple of times. When asked if she was giving him a hard time, she smiled and
nodded her head “Yes.” It is wonderful to see her becoming more expressive.
After the IMAX movie, Marla returned to Craig with the therapists, arriving back at her
room around 3:30. After a 5 1⁄2 hour outing, we expected that she would be tired and
go straight to sleep. However, once she was comfortably in bed, she pointed at the
TV/VCR, indicating that she wanted to watch one of her movies, which she did! We
are pleased that she is able to remain awake more during the day.
After the movie, Marla had dinner. She has finally graduated to eating regular food!
While she went off the pureed diet a couple of weeks ago, it was to a stage that
included mainly soft foods like pasta, macaroni, etc. It has only been during
this past week that she has been able to eat regular foods. After her outing on
Wednesday, her dinner included chicken fajitas, battered cauliflower, baked
potatoes, watermelon, and minestrone soup. She definitely enjoys eating
real food for a change! It is good timing, because she needs to increase her
caloric intake. She has lost 25 pounds during her stay at Craig, and she
needs to increase her nutritional input.
Mary and Leo are busy preparing for Marla’s discharge, getting all of the
necessary details secured. They have a shower bench for her, and are
working on some adaptations to make the house in which they are currently
staying, ready for her. Mary and Leo have been staying at the Denver home
of Bob and Annie Brooks, colleagues and friends of Leo’s at Glenwood Springs
High School for many years.
On Saturday, March 29, 2003, Rob brought some board and card games to
Marla at Craig, including Uno and Chinese Chess. He said Marla beat
him at Chinese Chess, and he was trying hard to win!
Thank you again to everyone who continues to support Marla, and to all those
who have left messages of love and encouragement. We are blessed by all of you.
Please stop in and visit the new Thank You section of the website, a forum in
which we have the chance to recognize the countless people that have supported
Marla and her family during the start of this challenging journey.