The past week has been pivotal for Marla, as final preparations were made for her
discharge from the Craig inpatient program, last Friday, April 4th, 2003. On Friday
evening, she came to the duplex of Bob and Annie Brooks, friends and long-time
colleagues of Leo at Glenwood Springs High School. The duplex is near City Park
in Denver, and Bob and Annie have generously loaned their home away from home
to Mary and Leo, where they have lived for the past 3 months.
On Monday evening, March 31st, Marla visited the duplex with Mary and Leo,
along with Peggy, her Occupational Therapist, for a “trial run,” to allow Peggy
to help Mary and Leo troubleshoot the living situation. Marla was sad and
cried upon realizing that she wasn’t going home upon discharge. However,
the duplex is much closer to Craig, where Marla will continue with on-going
outpatient therapy, than is Marla’s home. This is a big advantage at this
point in the process, when Marla will be going to Craig 3 times per week
for continuing physical, occupational, and speech therapies. With Peggy’s
help, Mary and Leo were able to adapt the arrangements at the duplex
to meet accessibility needs and to help Marla be most comfortable.
Marla has had difficulty with her eyes coordinating with each other. She
now wears an eye patch part of the time to help her exercise the muscles
controlling her weaker right eye. She wears the patch on the left to facilitate
this process. Marla’s right shoulder has also developed a “frozen shoulder”
condition. Marla will have a consultation with the physical therapist that
Mary is currently seeing in Denver, to assess the best exercises to improve
the mobility and flexibility in that shoulder. She also has an appointment this
coming week with Dr. McNair, the orthopedic surgeon who reconstructed
her right arm during her first weeks at St. Anthony’s Hospital last December.
He will review the progress of healing on the damaged bones in the extremity.
Friday April 4th, 2003, discharge day, Marla was filled with mixed emotions.
She said good-bye to fellow patients, her 24 hour rehabilitation technicians,
and her therapists, who all expressed how blessed they were to have worked
with Marla. Marla became more and more excited as the day went by, and
she received so much attention during a “graduation party” that was hosted
in her honor and her fellow Craig in-patient graduates. Click the following link
to see Photos from Craig Graduation. Marla couldn’t wait for the big event in
the afternoon, when her hospital identity bracelet was cut, and she made the
trip to the car to live outside the hospital environment for the first time since
last December. Mary and Leo did feel a sense of security that they would be
returning each week with Marla for 6 hours of therapy class and rehabilitation
per day each Tuesday through Thursday.
Saturday, April 5th, the first day at home, was quite overwhelming for Mary
and Leo, as they had to coordinate administering medication, proper
positioning and weight distribution for Marla, meals to prepare, laundry
to be done, physical therapy to be performed, and the challenge of a
shower in the vintage cast-iron claw-foot tub! The shower bench, which
Leo adapted fit securely into the tub, seemed strange to Marla, and every
time she made a visit to the bathroom, she would ask “How?”. Finally,
Mary assembled it to show her. Marla then pointed to Mary and insisted
that Mary be the first one to try it! Which she did, to work the bugs out.
All went well in the end.
Marla has visited people around the neighborhood by walking, and she
has already found the friendly dogs. She clearly asked a man: “Can I ….”
and made a petting motion, “dog?” After petting the soft poodle, she
said clearly: “Thank you!” She has talked to several people on the
telephone, and her “Hi!”, “Uh-huh”, and “Bye!” are all clear. Her recent
new words and phrases include: “That’s crazy!”, “Whatever!”, and
By Sunday evening, after several visits from friends (who came
laden with food and prepared meals), Marla and Mary and Leo felt
settled in the Brooks’ “play-house” as Mary calls it. The Messages
section of the website has Marla’s new address for those wishing
to send her cards or letters. With the amazing progress Marla has
made in recent weeks, Mary and Leo are looking forward to continued
meaningful speech. We continue to be hopeful and faithful as Marla
progresses, and as we see more of her strong spirit shining through
the challenges. We thank everyone graciously for their on-going support.