Marla’s summer continues to be busy and fun, with several exciting activities keeping her active.
She continues to work hard on her physical therapy each day, doing exercises to stretch and
strengthen the muscles in her right arm. Now that she has an artificial elbow, she still has a
lot of conditioning to do to recover the strength in the muscles of her biceps and triceps
that atrophied during the 18 months that her elbow was held in a straight and locked position.
Leo continues to work with her tirelessly each day, doing 2-3 repetitions of therapy.
The artificial elbow is a fragile joint, and Marla will have to be careful with her right arm,
and may not ever use it to lift more than ten pounds. However, the flexibility and utility of
her right arm are greatly improved with the artificial joint in place. Now that she is able to
use her right arm, she is working with her OT, Peggy, on putting her right hand to use,
to recover the flexibility of her fingers and the tendons in her forearm that control them.
This is tough work, but Marla has been able to turn doorknobs, open the car door, and
even do some drawing and writing with her right hand! She also continues to go visit the
recreation center for swimming and other exercise to improve her stamina.
Marla’s awareness continues to improve, as she works hard on her speech and cognitive
therapies. Her eye physician recently gave her the thumbs up that her vision is good enough
for driving. She now will have an evaluation with Craig Hospital’s drivers ed department to
evaluate reaction time and understanding of road signs and directions, etc. If they give the
approval, she will be able to enroll in Craig’s drivers education program in order to eventually
get back behind the wheel. The program also specializes in providing advice on adapting
vehicles with the equipment necessary to meet the requirements of a driver with physical
limitations. Marla is really anticipating driving again as a major accomplishment in regaining
some of her independence. Her OT Peggy has commented on how sharp and adaptive Marla
is, in spite of her disabilities, and is interested in Marla moving forward with “community
re-integration”, which may entail evaluations and education for job skills and eventual
employment some day.
At the same time, Marla’s increased awareness has also led her to become more tuned
in to her limitations with speech. She recently asked Mary and Leo to look up “aphasia”
and “apraxia” with her in the dictionary, and upon working through the meanings, asked if
these were the conditions affecting her ability to communicate. Upon confirmation, she
became somewhat sad, but she continues to do an amazing job of communicating by
using adaptive strategies such as writing her thoughts on paper, tracing letters in the air
to help identify words, and drawing pictures.
On the exciting side, Marla has had a lot of fun in the past few weeks, attending a
concert by Sarah McLachlan at the Pepsi Center, and then going to see Alanis
Morissette and Barenaked Ladies at Red Rocks. Check out the photos section
for updates on some of her recent activities! She is looking forward to participating
in the Colorado Brain Injury Association’s Outdoor Challenge by Choice Camp
at the Breckenridge Outdoor Education Center in Breckenridge Colorado,
on August 9-13. This survivor’s program includes many challenging activities designed
to promote independence and self-confidence in survivors, including a ropes course,
climbing wall, hiking, and rafting. This program promises to be a highlight of Marla’s
Mary and Leo continue to wrestle with the logistics surrounding moving back to
Glenwood, including trying to sell Marla’s townhome, as well as ongoing insurance
and legal issues. Please keep both Mary and Leo in your prayers, as Mary’s health
continues to be a concern–on-going nerve problems in her neck and her recovery
from recent carpal-tunnel surgery on her right wrist. On 8⁄4, Leo underwent outpatient
surgery to transplant a new cornea into his eye. After 20 years, his original corneal
transplant had given out. New modern technologies make the surgery easier, but
please keep him in your prayers as he recovers.
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