Marla and her family have had a full autumn and start to winter! They are now more or less settled into their
new home in New Castle, which they moved into in July, from their home of 32 years in Glenwood Springs.
Although they are still working from day to day on several tasks related to settling in!
Probably the most exciting development for Marla in the past few months is that she passed her driving test,
and is officially certified to drive, with no restrictions! Mary and Leo have been practicing driving with Marla,
in safe, controlled situations (like empty parking lots, less busy streets, etc.) fairly regularly during the past
year. On October 12th, Marla went to Grand Junction, where she was administered interactive tests of her cognitive
skills (recognition and understanding of traffic signs, directions, etc.) as well as her reaction time. Having successfully
passed this test, on November 16th, she again went to Grand Junction, where she underwent a live road test, driving!
She passed with flying colors. Marla’s nearly walking on a cloud with this latest accomplishment, especially since it is such
a big step forward in her independence. She now has the freedom to drive herself into Glenwood to swim, or to
the hospital for volunteering, or to her speech and occupational therapy appointments. She is very excited with
this new-found independence! The next step will be to look into vehicular adaptations to make it easier for her
to operate the vehicle. At this time, she has to reach across her body with her left arm to operate the shifter of
the automatic transmission, since her injured right arm is too weak to operate the control. Once the vehicle is
adapted, she will be able to shift with her left hand!
Marla’s speech and understanding continue to improve steadily. Recently, she had a check-up with her neurologist,
Dr. Yarnell, in Denver. Dr. Yarnell has been with Marla since her first days in ICU at St. Anthony’s, and so he has
watched her progress from the beginning. Having worked as a neurologist for forty years, he has seen all range of
injuries and recoveries, and during her recent check-up, Dr. Yarnell repeatedly described Marla as “a miracle.”
Of that we are certain!
Marla’s ability to read has been improving by leaps and bounds. She has enrolled in the Colorado Talking Books
program, so that she can listen to books while reading along. She’s also looking into a talking e-mail program
that will read the messages to her over the computer speakers, while she reads along. Any of these activities
that combine verbal with visual language help to facilitate her cognitive improvement.
Marla continues to participate in her crafting activities that she enjoys so much. She has started selling some
of her hand-made cards at the artists cooperative in Carbondale, and has attended several crafting weekends,
most recently she and Mary went to one in Marble. In September, Mary and Marla flew to Idaho, where Marla
visited her dear friend Megan from college in Boulder. Megan is also an artist, and does many creative works
with metal and wood in her workshop. Marla and Megan enjoyed several days of hanging out like old times,
went boating, saw a moose, and had an awesome time together! In late October, Marla traveled to Nashville,
Tennessee, where she spent four days visiting her Cousin, Nicole. They visited the Grand Ole Opry, went to a
pumpkin carving Halloween party, Nicole treated Marla to a manicure, and they generally had a grand time catching
up! Soon after Marla’s trip, Nicole and her husband Nick learned that they are expecting, so Marla is excited to
meet a new addition to the family!
In the first week of December, Marla visited friends in Denver, staying at the home of friend Leigh. She also got to
see a holiday concert by one of her favorite bands, the Barenaked Ladies, and had brunch with several of her
teacher friends from Adams 12, including Vanessa, Francesca, Missy, Anne, and Lory. Marla was very excited
to have the chance to spend a little time with friends. She misses you all very much! This past Tuesday, December
13th, was the three-year anniversary since Marla’s accident. Her family is so grateful for the support that the
community, and our friends and family have provided over that time, and for Marla’s joyful presence in our lives.
Marla and family are heading to Arizona for the holidays, where she will get to spend time with her Aunt
Margaret and Uncle Marty in Tempe, her grandparents, who are there for the holiday, as well as friends
Roger and Linda, who live in Tucson. Marla is also hoping to see her Aunt Anita and Uncle Ray, who
live in Green Valley, south of Tucson, as well as her friend Sylvia, who lives in Silver City New Mexico!
All in all, it should be a busy and exciting holiday!
We have implemented a New Message Board that uses a third-party service and some posting verification
techniques that we hope (keep our fingers crossed) will stay spam free. Apologies that it has
been out of commission for several months, but cleaning up the spam had become too much to deal with.
We’ll see how it works out. You can also feel free to send Marla a message using the Feedback Page
as well, which so far has been spam free.
Happy holiday season to all–of whatever creed or faith–Happy Hannukah, Kwanzaa, Merry Christmas,
and a joyful New Year to all! Thank you for checking in, and for your on-going support for Marla and her