Marla, Mary and Leo have had a very busy 6 weeks to start 2004. Marla
was excited to resume therapies at Craig upon returning to Northglenn in
early January after being in Glenwood Springs during the end of 2003.
Marla’s right eye was evaluated by her eye surgeon during an appointment
in mid-January, and the news was great–the surgery was a success, and
the eye has settled in the perfect alignment. Her problems with double-vision
and dis-orientation are in the past. The gold weight will remain in her upper
left eyelid for now, to offer protection while the muscle control and nerve
function continue to heal. She also got the good news that she doesn’t need
glasses, her eyesight checks in at 20⁄20.
Marla will undergo testing on February 18th to evaluate the prognosis for
her injured right arm. Her physicians are developing strategies on how best
to treat her elbow, which she essentially lost in the accident. They are reviewing
CT scans and are performing EMG muscular testing to estimate how much
muscular control and function is present for control of the limb.
An ongoing battle with the health insurance company is frustrating Marla’s
recovery process. To start off the new year, they refused to allow Marla to
receive therapy at Craig Hospital, where she has been since the start,
insisting instead on sending her to selected providers scattered all over
Denver. After countless hours of phone calls, e-mails, and letters from
Leo and Mary, Marla’s doctors, and Craig’s patient representative, the
insurance company relented and allowed her to resume at Craig. The
fight isn’t over yet, however, since they are now insisting that Marla
cannot receive both PT and OT. According to their review,
“both therapies treat the same injured limb.” So now Leo and Mary are
again involved in a lengthy appeal process with the insurance company
to obtain full benefit, since PT specifically works to re-habilitate the
physical aspects of the injury, while OT integrates physical skills with
daily living and community skills.
Marla continues to progress in her abilities. She has progressed with
her language skills and can read simple short sentences aloud. As her
awareness has increased, however, so has her frustration at times.
A couple of weeks ago she told Mary and Leo: “I’m awake now, but
I can’t” (speak). Marla was relating her frustration at the difficulty she
has communicating her thoughts in speech. On the exciting side, she
has been using a special cutting board and kitchen implements to
cut apples, fix scrambled eggs, PB&J, as well as brownies and cookies.
She looks forward to her visits to the Craig pool and the Thornton rec
center to swim and do hydro-therapy exercises on her arm, using paddles.
She also has established a regular schedule at Glacier Peak elementary,
where she spends one day per week, interacting with students as they
practice their reading skills by reading aloud to her in groups. She
really enjoys spending time with the students and teachers again.
Marla has applied to attend the BIAC (Brain Injury Association of Colorado)
Outdoor Challenge Camp this July in Breckenridge. This is a week-long
experiential educational program, where survivors of traumatic brain
injury expand their horizons with activities such as rafting, climbing,
hiking, and ropes courses. She is very excited at the possibility of
Thank you for checking in on Marla’s progress. Marla’s smile really
lights up when she receives a message of encouragement, so feel
free to visit the messages section to drop a note. A group of Marla’s
friends from her college summer internship in Pittsburgh recently
re-established contact via her website, and we are very grateful for
the positive role it has played in keeping friends and family in touch.
Our sincere thanks for the ongoing wonderful encouragement.