It was a busy weekend for Marla, with many visitors coming to see her
and lend her support and encouragement. Two of Marla’s long-time friends
from college, her room-mates Megan and Lyndsay, both flew in to visit.
Megan from Idaho, and Lyndsay from Boston.
On Saturday, many of the teachers from Glacier Peak came to visit and brought
with them two huge cards signed by them and all of the students. Their sincere
expressions of love and empathy provide us and Marla with a sense of support
and caring. Plus, the teachers brought the results of their Penny Drive fund-raising
effort for Marla, in which they and the Glacier Peak students raised funds to
support her medical expenses. We continue to be amazed at the depth and
strength of the on-going support for Marla.
On Thursday February 6th, we had a bit of a scare during afternoon physical
therapy. While standing, suddenly the muscles on Marla’s left side stiffened,
and the staff had to help her to the floor. We were concerned about a possible
seizure, but Marla’s doctors believe that it was either related to a drop in blood
pressure, her medications, or some combination of these factors. Marla had
an EEG (a test of electrical activity in the brain) to rule out seizure, and it did
not show any signs that a seizure had occurred. If anything positive has come of
the episode, it is that it prompted her physician to do a detailed review of the
medications that she is taking. Many of them have sedating effects, with the
result that Marla has frequently been sleeping through her therapy sessions,
which doesn’t yield maximum benefit for her. On Friday, after her medications
were adjusted, Marla was the most alert that we have seen her since coming
to Craig. She said “Hi” to people passing in the hall. When Mary said good-bye
and “I love you” to Marla upon departing for Glenwood Springs for the weekend,
Marla replied: “I love you.” We were so excited to hear her speak and express
Marla’s left eye, which was stitched closed earlier in the week to protect it from
dryness and ongoing irritation, continues to heal and improve. Her opthalmologist
believes that the cornea has probably had sufficient time to heal. She will work
with Marla’s surgeon regarding when to remove the sutures. Marla has graduated
to eating pureed foods and thickened liquids. She loves to drink the cold apple
juice, and milk shakes. Because some of her medications can cause a dry mouth,
she is desperate for anything to drink. She also enjoys the pureed fruits, jello, and
sorbet. She doesn’t seem to like the pureed turkey, lasagna, sweet peas, or other
hot liquified versions of dinner. She pushes them away, saying “Yuck!” or “Gross!”
Hopefully Marla’s tracheostomy tube will be removed soon. Her respiratory doctor
reduced the size of the tube one more notch, and we believe that the next step will
be removal. This will be a big improvement in comfort and mobility for Marla.
Marla continues to work hard in physical, occupational, and speech therapies.
Speech therapy is proving to be a constant challenge for her. She seems to
know many of the words she needs, but has extreme difficulty in expressing
them. As she has become more aware, her struggles are becoming more
evident to us and her therapists as she expresses her emotions. She often
cries when tired or frustrated, which is a positive sign that she can express
her feelings. But it is difficult for us to see her sadness. Nonetheless, we
know that it is a part of the process, and we continue to be ever hopeful
as we continue to see Marla improve. Thank you for your prayers,
encouragement, and love.