It has been a busy spring for Marla, Mary and Leo, in follow-up to her elbow replacement surgery of
April 22nd. The first two or three weeks post-op were very difficult for Marla due to the amount of pain
that she was experiencing. The 6 hour surgery required an incision that extended from mid-tricep on the
upper end, to the wrist on the lower end, and in addition to the emplacement of the artificial elbow, required
re-positioning of muscles and nerves. Such an intense procedure invariably led to difficult post-operative pain.
It was very stressful for Mary who was trying to work with Marla’s doctors and nurses to find a solution. Finally,
two weeks after Marla’s surgery, her neurologist at Craig hospital ordered the dosage on her epidermal
pain patch to be doubled. This, in combination with oral medication, helped Marla very much, and we’re
happy to report that by now her pain has subsided almost to the point where she no longer needs a patch.
By a mid-May checkup, Marla’s orthopedic surgeon, Dr. Sachar, was very pleased with the results of
the surgery, and she was able to discontinue using the CPM (automatic range-of-motion) system during
the night when she slept. This meant that she was able to travel to Glenwood Springs with Mary and Leo
for a weekend visit.
Marla’s new artificial elbow greatly improves the motion of her right arm. Marla continues to work hard in PT
with Celeste, her physical therapist at Craig. Having had her arm held in a straight position for 18 months,
the muscles of her bicep have atrophied, and Marla is working on exercises to regain her strength. However,
the intensive PT on her right shoulder has paid dividends in flexibility and the range of motion in the right arm.
Celeste has even commented that the new joint makes all aspects of working with her arm during PT much
easier and more productive.
As Marla gains strength in her right arm, she has been excited by new developments in her abilities. She
has been able to use her right hand and arm to open the car door. Last week, during a visit to the swimming
pool, she tested the ability of her right arm to move synchronously with the left during execution of all four
swimming strokes! At this point in time, it is not providing much of a pull, but simply the ability to move is
a huge stride, and a very exciting development in her recovery.
Mary and Leo have been working hard along with Marla to begin organizing and packing belongings in
her Northglenn townhome, in preparation to place it on the market. It began listing today, June 14th,
so if you know anyone in the market for a well-kept and comfortable two bedroom townhome in North
Denver, be sure to let us know! The process of preparing to move has been emotional for Marla, as
her home is a part of many dreams, and it is hard for her to let go.
During the first two weeks of June, Marla has been involved in a group re-habilitation research program
at CU-Boulder’s speech sciences department. The program includes group activities, art therapy,
discussion, and interaction. Marla finds some aspects more enjoyable than others. She particularly
likes the art therapy (no surprise there!). The participants are mainly from older age-groups, with
speech problems related to stroke, and so Marla hasn’t gotten to know many new people her age.
Nonetheless, the program is a great opportunity, and a chance to experiment with other forms of
speech therapy and recovery, and to work interactively in a group setting.
Marla will celebrate her birthday this weekend, and is looking forward to participating with friends
and family to mark this joyous occasion! Thanks for stopping by to check in on Marla–she says
hi, hi, hi! to all her supporters! Feel free to leave a message, or visit the updated photos while you