Marla, Mary, and Leo continue with a full schedule of therapy classes at Craig Tuesday
through Thursday, as well as home therapy, stretching, and rehabilitation on evenings
and days off. Marla continues to enjoy visits from friends and family at the Brooks’ home
on Race street. Some recent highlights for Marla include:
Nicole Diamond, Marla’s dear cousin, paid her a visit over a fun weekend (April 27-28),
traveling all the way from Baton Rouge, Louisiana!
Marla’s first trip to Glenwood Springs since the accident, May 8-11, to attend an
incredible benefit piano concert performance by Roberta Meriwether, a wonderful
friend of Mary and the family.
More swimming, both at Craig, and in the Glenwood Hot Springs, during her visit!
Be sure to drop by and see the updated Photo Gallery to see pictures!
Marla continues to exhibit strides both physically and cognitively as she continues to
apply herself diligently to her therapies. The flexibility of Marla’s right shoulder has
improved dramatically. She is able to elevate the arm to nearly horizontal, and can
move her arm behind her back. Her work with Jean and Peggy, (her PT and OT),
as well as stretch bands and range-of-motion exercises at home with Mary and Leo
has yielded remarkable results. During therapy class, Marla has been able to work
with her right arm and hand to pick up and move small objects, such as bean bags.
It is hard work, but the rewards are evident!
Speech and language understanding continues to be a challenge for Marla. She often
has difficulty interpreting meaning or recognizing names. Providing Marla with visual
cues remains vital to communicating with her, always accompanied by auditory re-
inforcement to help re-establish the auditory neural pathways. When talking about
family and friends, Marla usually cannot connect names to individuals. Speaking
about a familiar person by name only typically produces a confused look from
Marla. However, upon providing her with a visual cue, such as a photograph,
the connection and recall is almost immediate. Marla has a photo board in her
bedroom, with many pictures of friends and family. She looks over each picture
every morning when waking and evening before bed, while Mary and Leo speak
names, reinforcing her auditory memory. So we certainly appreciate recent photos
from friends and family! We would love for people to send them via mail or e-mail.
See the Messages section for address information. The language symptoms are
indicative of the particular area of injury within Marla’s brain, centering on speech
and language processing. Another injury contributing to Marla’s difficulty
understanding is damage to the bones in her inner ear. Marla is scheduled to
undergo surgery in late June to help repair this damage. Hopefully this will help
her hearing, and therefore her understanding, to improve. Marla’s eyes still do
not track properly together, and the right eye still cannot move past centerline,
due to injury to her cranial nerves. She continues to wear a patch periodically to
help reduce double-vision, and to exercise her weaker eye. She requires constant
application of eyedrops to maintain moisture and reduce strain.
In speech therapy, Marla works with therapist Marcy on several computer programs
designed to exercise speech and language. On Tuesday, May 13, Marcy worked
with Marla on a program that combines words with musical progressions. Marcy
carefully mouthed each word (providing the visual cue) in sequence with the music,
and Marla was able to sing with the words! This is an exciting first, as up until now,
she has only been able to sing using “La la” syllables.
Marla’s visit to Glenwood Springs May 8-11 was a tremendous success. She
remained awake for the entire three hour drive, in anticipation and soaking in
the sights and scenery of a beautiful spring evening in the Rockies. Upon
arriving, she was greeted by her cat, Puck, who has been staying in Glenwood
for several months. This was her first chance to see Puck since her accident,
and he snuggled up to her immediately. She really enjoyed spending time with
Puck and Mary’s kitty, Ziggy.
The afternoon of Saturday, May 10, Marla and family attended a beautiful piano
concert, performed for Marla’s benefit by Roberta Meriwether, a wonderful friend
of Mary’s. The event was held at the exquisite new Calaway theater building of the
Spring Valley Campus of Colorado Mountain College. Be sure to check the
Denver Post article about Roberta Meriwether
Marla, Mary, and Leo thoroughly enjoyed Roberta’s moving performance. Her
countless hours of practice were evident as she played a stunning repertoire, ranging from
Chopin and Debussy, to Rachmaninov and Schumann. Her performance was moving,
passionate, and full of emotion. Simply amazing. The elegance of her playing is
all the more poignant because Roberta lost her hearing entirely at the age of 30.
Mary helped her over the years to cope with her loss, and return to her first love of
music and to play the piano again. Roberta’s coach while preparing and practicing
for the concert is Annig Raley, who taught Marla music and piano as a child!
On Sunday, the family enjoyed a quiet Mother’s Day, and also had some cake
and ice cream in celebration of Leo’s 60th birthday! He has reached this milestone
with the grace and wisdom of his years evident in his gentle support of Marla during
this time of need.
As always, the family continues to be touched by the support of so many, on so many
different levels. We are truly blessed and grateful for the loving community family that
continues to embrace us as we work through Marla’s recovery process. We are so
moved by each personal gesture, from the incredible concert of Roberta Meriwether,
to the meals that have been lovingly prepared and provided. Marla’s recovery is a
tapestry woven with the threads of support of countless individuals and families,
and is the most precious gift of all.