Hanging With a Star

July 21, 2008

Here’s Mariah and Bogart, famous therapy Schnauzer.

Mariah and Bogart (McGuire VAMC, 7/21/08)

Mariah and Bogart (McGuire VAMC, 7/21/08)

Excellent progress. Mariah’s strength and control in both arms and hands have improved markedly in just the last few days. Throughout the day, she rubbed her face with both of her hands, and while lying down she repeatedly clasped her hands together and stretched her arms way up and over her head.

She walked about 60 feet between parallel bars with considerable assistance from her physical therapist. She took enormous strides, 7 league boot-style, nearly bowling Stewart over more than once. Her scheduled bout with the Lokomat – aka Robo-Cop – was postponed until tomorrow.

In speech, she munched several ice chips with a satisfying crunch and drank nectar-consistency apple juice from a cup. She also practiced mouthing words with exaggerated movement and letting us guess. “What do you want to tell your dad?” the therapist prompted. “I love you” was her response, followed by the sign language hand sign

I Love You Sign

for good measure. (What’s the HTML code for the sound of a heart aching?)

I missed most of occupational therapy to meet with the Army liaison, the social worker, and to check into the just-opened family residence on the hospital grounds, but before I left Mariah was sitting at the sink in her room washing her face with a washcloth.

Our habit at lunchtime is to sit outdoors on the shaded patio and enjoy the breeze. Mariah napped – or at least closed her eyes – while I joined a conference call for my work. She awoke at one point, and a woman on the call suggested I ask Mariah for her opinion as we were in need of a fresh perspective. I reported the request to Mariah and she grinned, nodded, and went back to her nap. (I had a boss on one job who was less responsive than that.)

In kinesiology she took a beanbag from the therapist’s hand and returned it using each of her hands in turn. Again, I had to duck out to join a conference call for work, so who knows what other amazing feats are going unreported?

In the evening, Bogart visited, we watched Crimson Tide, and then the nurses chased me out so they give her a shower. I stuck my head back in at 10:30 and she was slumbering peacefully. Sweet dreams, Mariah.

– Mark

(Note. Some readers have expressed concern that Mariah might not want her pictures and story told in this blog. FWIW, she has expressed approval of the blog concept several times, and she specifically approved the pic above for this post. I try to be sensitive to what Mariah might not want made public, but nevertheless, I’ll be a bit less detailed and graphic in descriptions of her reemergence. If you have thoughts about this, please post a comment and let us know.)


9 Responses to “Hanging With a Star”

  1. Grandma said

    I know I’m prejudiced, BUT I love having the blog and pictures. I feel much closer to Mariah and you that way since I can’t be there myself.
    Both of you— keep up the good work.
    Everyone at the clinic ask about Mariah and keep her in their prayers.
    Love you.

  2. Ann Gallagher said

    We are very grateful for the blog, because not a day goes by that we don’t wonder what Mariah and her family members are facing or feeling. Also, it’s good to be able to send out a round of virtual applause now and then.

  3. Jenny Bowen said

    Hi Mark-Coli shared the blog with me and I think it is amazing and inspiring, and wish you and Mariah the best. She is certainly lucky to have such a wonderful father as you!

  4. Leah said

    It stinks that I cannot be there for Mariah’s Re-emergence and very much appreciate this blog for keeping me close to Mariah. And I still love your smile M!

  5. Cousin Wayne said

    Sounded like Monday was a good day for Mariah. Hope that Tuesday went well also. Mark, the blog is terrific. Please keep it up. Thanks.

    Cousin Wayne

  6. Kevin Borth said

    This blog is awesome, I read it everyday and I want as many details as possible. Your writing style is excellent and from the heart. It makes me laugh and cry but I am so happy Mariah is getting stronger and better everyday. Please tell Mariah, I miss her and I am proud of her progress. Keep it up and I will find a way to come visit her soon. You are in my prayers everyday! Love Kevin

  7. Eileen Haddigan said

    Thank you, Mark, for creating this exceptional website. One of the first things I do every morning is check in on Mariah’s progress from the day before, and have been truly amazed at her accomplishments each and every day. Mariah is one of the smartest, talented, most determined and beautiful people I have ever met. If anyone can make a full recovery from this it will be Mariah, and there is no doubt in my mind that she will do just that. (Probably quicker than any doctor would attempt to predict!) This website is a blessing to everyone who lives too far away to visit Mariah. You are all in our thoughts and prayers. Through this website we are here in Georgia rooting for her and celebrating with her every step of the way.

  8. Suzanna said

    mariah is very lucky to have her family keep us all updated. I am sure she really appreciates it!

  9. Florence Einhorn said

    I think that the blog is an important part of the healing for you personally, for your family, and for Mariah. I believe that Marisah will take it that way when she has fully reemerged.

    I, too, have been impressed with the heartfelt and articulate way that you express your emotion along with Mariah’s stupendous markers of progress. My thoughts and prayers are with all of you. Fondly, Florence Einhorn

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