Upbeat Update From Brother Clay

October 30, 2008

Mariah kicked off her morning bright eyed and bushy bottomed waiting expectantly for LTC Atchison who promised yesterday to be back in the early am after a couple of visits this week.  (Thank you, sir. Your presence this week was a real gift and a true help keeping Mariah’s spirits up!)

I joined Mariah for the second morning in a row for her O.T. down the hall, where she is working on a watercolor stained glass picture of a motorcycle picturesquely poised beneath Mount Rushmore.  Yesterday she managed just a few strokes, and today she knocked off about one fifth of the picture with more fluid paint strokes than I would have guessed just a few months ago.  (When I told her that one of my last O.T. projects at my hospitalization at John’s Hopkins over two years ago was the same water color stained glass, she reminded me of the picture that I painted because I gave it to her when I came home.  I said, “I don’t remember my picture.  She said, “It was a cardinal, Clay.”  What a great sister.)

Mariah and I have been working on a small research project that she will present later to her speech therapist.  It is on PowerPoint, and the topic is “Owls” – anatomy, feathers, vision, and sense of smell.  We threw in a comedy fact for sense of smell: “Great Horned Owls enjoy wallowing in the perfume of skunks. They have been observed rubbing themselves in the skunks carcasses and their behavior has been described as appearing that the owl was enjoying the experience”.  Ha ha! The funny part is that owls don’t have much sense of smell, but they do smell like skunk!

She finished the PowerPoint today and ran it for me at the computer.  Most of the slides are pictures and anatomy designs, and Mariah (very adept) filled in all the gaps of info and research so I felt like I was in an esteemed lecture hall for 15 minutes.  She is brilliant.  I also came away knowing how to design a PowerPoint presentation (Oh, did I mention I didn’t know how until Mariah taught me in two thirty minute research sessions?)  Bam!  The Steinwinter-Kochavi team strikes again.  Now we are BOTH smart!

Before lunch, Mariah finally accepted a shot in her damaged right shoulder that has been offered for quite some time to relieve her constant pain. Before the shot (which is administered up under the bone) Mariah teared up in fear.  We held hands while the doc did his work, and I reminded her of a funny scene in “Back to the Future” where Michael Fox sends his dad in to a shake shop to hit on his mom.  The dad scribbles down some dictated poetry but upon reciting them he confuses the word “destiny” for “density” and strikes out. Mariah took the shot bravely and admitted it wasn’t as bad as she worried.

Mariah also earned a proud achievement today in her security measures.  For the last couple of months, Mariah has been on 24-hour watch by the nurses, for safety measures.  This afternoon the head nurse pulled me aside and said they are ready to give Mariah some space and privacy back…she has earned it with her hard work and steady progress the past several weeks.  We enjoyed the freedom with a couple hours nurse-free in her room, watching T.V. and napping, and then headed outside, all bundled up, with just the two of us enjoying the crisp wintry air.

When I left Mariah this evening she was all smiles and conversation. She was in the leisure room chatting away with one of the soldiers playing virtual golf on the Wii game, and was even dolled up with eye shadow and lipstick, courtesy of her nurse pals! She looked and felt great.

I was proud to accompany Mariah through her day.  She achieved, she succeeded, she persisted, she enjoyed, she commanded, she amazed.

Love and Light,



4 Responses to “Upbeat Update From Brother Clay”

  1. Grandma said

    Sounds like a fabulous day. You know Clay, you achieve, succeed, persist, enjoy, command and amaze also.
    Trophies to both of you
    Love you Grandma

  2. Leah said

    Sounds like fantastic progress. Keep up the good work! Leah

  3. SPC McClain said

    Hey Clay, it’s Adrienne. I met you when CPT K was at Walter Reed (i was the one with the baby…) anyway, my husband and i were thinking of visiting her. We were just wondering when she is able to have visitors (if she is able to have any at all) and also if we can bring the baby. (babies cheer everyone up). Just e-mail back with the info if you can.

    CPT K, every morning when i come into work i always check for updates on how you are doing. I am so happy to read that you are doing better. My husband and I are praying for you! And everybody at the Fort Meade Commissary and Branch miss you! I hope to visit you sometime soon! Keep up the fantasic work!

  4. Cousin Wayne said

    Hi Mariah,
    What a terrific day. Thanks for the good news. It makes my day good as well.

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