Mariah Speaks!!! And a Rogue’s Gallery.

August 9, 2008

While Mariah and her dad were horsing around making lots of good, throaty laughing noise yesterday (see below for shocking details), she appeared to mouth some words. She nodded when asked if she were trying to tell me something, so I leaned in closer to get a better look. Imagine my surprise when she clearly whispered “I love you.” “I love you, too,” I replied. “Those are the sweetest sounds I’ve heard in a long time.”

(In fact in that moment I recalled her birth when she wouldn’t make a sound or draw a breath for two or three terrifyingly long minutes, turning blue instead. When at last a cry burst forth, I promised to never ever be impatient with the sound of her voice.)

Later that evening after I departed for the weekend and her mom arrived, I called to see how Mariah was doing. Excited, her mom reported that Mariah was talking, and that the nurses were flabbergasted because she was telling everyone she loved them.

Interesting condition that allows one to say only “I love you.” But later that night while watching a DVD about ballet, Mariah said in a relatively full voice, “Go get the girl.”

Now we shall see what we shall see. 🙂

Regarding the aforementioned ruckus, it happened like this. Mariah was in the gym working on the arm movement machine, trying to set a new endurance record of 15 minutes. Four minutes from the finish line, she dropped her hands in her lap and refused to continue. I offered her a shiny new dime if she’d finish. Grinning, she remained adamant. No dice. JT upped the ante to a quarter. Still no luck. Another therapist reached into her desk and pulled out… a Twinkie! Mariah immediately grabbed the handles and started whirling them around.

I told her the Twinkie would get us both in big trouble with Marsha, the speech therapist overseeing development of her swallow. Mariah agreed, so after we returned to the polytrauma unit, we decided to sit as far from the nurses’ station as possible to avoid detection.

At one end of the corridor is a big window that looks out over a courtyard featuring – what else at a VA hospital – a huge American flag. We pretended to be enjoying the view, but we secretly made ready for Mariah to tear into the contraband. (Click to enlarge.)

In the end Mariah had the last laugh. She didn’t want the Twinkie at all! She had just been playing around with all of us.

What a joker.

– Mark

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3 Responses to “Mariah Speaks!!! And a Rogue’s Gallery.”

  1. Shara Chance said

    Mariah-
    I am so proud of your progress. Your strength, physical, mental, and emotional, made a huge impression on me when we first started working together. And it makes me so confident in your recovery. You are an amazing woman! You’re my hero! 🙂 Du bist de spitze! (Mark, if I spelled that correctly, it means she’s tops! Mariah, if I didn’t spell it right, don’t tell Taylor!)
    -Shara

  2. Jody Steinwinter said

    Mariah, Mark, Clay, and Mariah’s Mom, I can’t begin to tell you how amazed and happy and proud of you that I am. I am sorry for taking so long to write to you but I have been keeping up with you nonetheless. I’m so sorry that this happened but I know that you will turn it into a positive thing. I’m so envious of the closeness you all have and I know it’s more medicinal than any other therapy, so you’re going to come out of this stronger and wiser. My heart is full, feeling this deep pain for your suffering and this elation due to your progress. We are thinking of you all the time and send good vibes and well-wishes and lots of love. Keep up the good job, all of you. If we were closer we would come to visit. But for now remember that you’re in our thoughts and are with us always.

  3. LTC Jim Sheets said

    Mariah (and family), I’ve been hoping to find out where you are and how you’re doing for some time now. This website is great and makes me so happy to see your positive progress. I tried to stop at Walter Reed to see you after someone told me what happened but you had already been moved. I’m very glad that I had the opportunity to get to know you last year during my pet “crisis”. Remember my three dogs, the Malamute, Rottie, and Golden Retriever? They are all great thanks to your exceptional veterinary skills. I can’t tell you how many times I told people about the excellent work you did on those critters. Please know that you are in my thoughts and prayers and I’m confident that your strength of spirit will see you through this challenging time. My best to you and your family.
    Jim Sheets

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