Marla’s speech has been increasing at about one to two words a day.
Some of her recent new words:
She told her Occupational Therapist to “Quit!” during range of motion
exercises on her shoulder.
When Pam, one of her and our favorite rehabilitation technicians,
asked what items from her lunch she wanted to save for a snack,
Marla replied: “Nothing!”
Marla still doesn’t seem to enjoy the pureed hot foods. Of course,
we can still understand her distaste. When offered pureed meat
during a recent meal, Marla pushed it away: “Forget it!”
bullet She does enjoy the pureed fruits, although on Sunday she said
that her strawberries were “Sour!”. A couple of packets of
sugar did the trick though.
When she received a huge teddy bear from a friend, and in
response to the loving thoughts expressed in many of her
cards, Marla has replied: “Wow!”
Her sense of humor has returned. Last Tuesday February 25th, Marla was
waiting with Mary and Mark for her afternoon Physical Therapy session.
Mary handed her a sprayer bottle, (the kind you’d use for misting plants).
When asked if she’d like to squirt her brother, Mark, with Mom’s spray bottle,
she did an admirable job of catching him by surprise, and squirted him right
in the face! This gave everyone a laugh, and even elicited a giggle from her.
Marla’s tracheostomy (trach, or breathing) tube was finally removed yesterday,
Monday, March 3rd. This is good news because having it out will help to improve
her comfort. Her feeding tube remains, but is an incentive to eat more food,
as she has been reminded at meal time that the more she can eat of her
lunch, the sooner the feeding tube can be removed. She seems to understand.
She is walking with a belt around her waist, supported by her PT and a parent.
She does four laps around the gym. She is still wobbly, and has some drag with
her right foot, but they believe all will improve as her focus becomes more clear.
Marla is still easily tired, very sensitive and quickly overwhelmed with
emotion. Because her speech center was one of the main parts of her brain
injured, her ability to express herself is limited. This is very frustrating
to her, and her care-takers.
Heather, another of Marla’s favorite rehabilitation technicians, has observed
that Marla is frequently quite aware just before going to sleep in the evening.
Heather has had several conversations with Marla in the evenings. Heather
uses these conversations to help reinforce Marla’s orientation to time and
place, relaying simple observations such as: “Marla, you are at Craig
Hospital in Englewood. It is March. You were in a car accident in December.
We are helping you get better.” Marla continues to exhibit deficits in short-term
memory. When Heather told her that she had been helping care for Marla for
over a month, Marla said “Wow!” And Marla has been unable to remember
Heather’s name from day to day. However, Heather is very encouraged by
Marla’s ability to find her way around the hospital, and move in the direction
that she wants to go. On Mark’s last visit, when going around the Unit for a
walk, Marla pointed him in the direction she wanted to go–leading him
Both Pam and Heather do an awesome French-braid, which is a handy
hairstyle around here where Marla is constantly up-and-down, going to
therapies or resting in bed. Mom learned to French-braid her hair. Dad
continues to deal with legal, financial, and insurance issues.
Again, please know how important and appreciated everyone’s support
continues to be! We enjoy hearing about what is happening in everyone’s
lives in the wonderful supportive messages that everyone continues to leave
for Marla on her website–they also help to uplift our spirits. Some bring a
tear to our eyes and get a “Wow!” out of Marla. We continue to be hopeful
and faithful as Marla progresses, and as we see more of her enduring
spirit shining through the challenges.