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Friday, December 21, 2007

Happy Holidays

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We'd like to wish everyone a Merry Christmas and a happy 2008, we'll have to close out this year with a slate of ridiculous photos. I'm pretty sure we all know that Court wants to keep working to recover into the New Year, but it's difficult to wrap that up as a present. However a lesson we can take with us is that the health of our family and friends is paramount, worth much more any gift cards, toys or electronics (and I think Charlie Brown would agree). For everyone who's kept Courtney and her family in their thoughts and for anyone who's lent a helping hand to others in need, God bless you.






-Sean

Playing in the Snow

(a view from across the parking lot of Hayden)

It certainly feels like Christmas in New Hampshire today after another two days worth of snow flurries, Courtney broke out the snow pants again and we dove into the field outside. To balance the harsh winter season in New England, the first couple of storms are a beautiful time - there's a white silence outside, the snow is light, fluffy and clean, kids are excited to hear about the weather (albeit with the ulterior motives). We played outside until Court's face went frigid and dried off while watching some showshoers cross the field as part a rec program, which we may have to take advantage of soon. Not to say how long we'll be around, but Crotched Mountain also offers adaptive ski and snowboard programs at the nearby ski resort.

Although Courtney's had to take it easy on her left defibrillator-less arm, she's still working hard in physical therapy in walking longer distances, climbing stairs and standing. She began practicing with a walker last week and was pretty unstoppable, the plan is to upgrade to the walker and eventually weed out the wheelchair. As if training her body to walk again wasn't enough, having to do so with very limited vision is all the more impressive. But her vision is becoming less "limited" by the day, she has recognized large, bold letters on a piece of paper or computer screen a few feet from from her face, being able to make out my handwriting alone requires a hawk eye.

We went over Courtney's timeline of the past two years in speech therapy today and I was surprised at some of the details she was able to pick out from this past summer. She talked about seeing the demolition derby at the Champlain Valley Fair as well as cruising tourist attractions in Grand Isle County with me. She remembered the kissing donkey at Allenholm Farm, which I'm sure made for some interesting commentary in the therapist's notes.

It looks like there'll be a caravan of visitors to the mountain over the weekend and some coming for the holiday. I'll be home in Connecticut up until Christmas, with any luck finding my way to the Patriots-Dolphins game on Sunday, then coming back to ring in the new year with Court in Greenfield. It's ok for recent brain injury patients to drink champagne, right?





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-Sean

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Great Success


Court just got out of surgery and she's feeling fine, back to her cantankerous morning self. The procedure took less than an hour and now she can finally pig out on
delicious hospital food.

-Sean

Monday, December 17, 2007

Crotch Videos, Courtney heads into Surgery


Courtney heads to Catholic Medical Center early Tuesday morning to have her defibrillator surgically removed. We pray the procedure goes smoothly, Doug, Julie, Marty, Tsuni (our trusty mutt) and I will be there for moral support. We may even be able to bring Court back to the mountain on the same day.

I put together a few more videos that I captured earlier this week (unfortunately they don't magically appear courtesy of the YouTube gnomes). Court lets me use her Mac to upload and edit the video, iMovie is a really user-friendly program, I feel like the Francis Ford Coppola of making films around Crotched Mountain. I wish the quality would come out a little better, anybody have any tips or an extra HD camera lying around?

Physical Therapy (busting her butt)



Playing in the Snow



Headed to Dinner


-Sean

Keeping the Vigil

As we close in on this year, please take a moment to count your blessings and be thankful for all you have. We are most thankful that Courtney has made such a miraculous recovery and will continue to do so. We are thankful for all the kindness, outpouring of support and prayers that have come our way. Please find it in your hearts for a little more prayer and positive energy to come Courtney's way for tomorrow. Pray for the surgeons, Courtney's recovery and a healthy, happy new year for all. Also, please remember the 7:00p.m. univeral prayer each night. I would like to add a special prayer for Caleb Potter as well. Keep him in your prayers and thoughts too.
A monsterous thank you to everyone for all you have done!!! THANK YOU, THANK YOU, THANK YOU!!!
Much love,
Julie/mom

Saturday, December 15, 2007

Preping for a Big Storm

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We've been enjoying an easygoing weekend, I'm glad we were able to go outside and also do some shopping before tomorrow's inevitable snow-in (100% chance of snow, 6 inches+). Nearby Peterborough has a full-scale Eastern Mountain Sports, Court walked well through the store, I think Doug and I we were more likely to knock over displays than she was. She tested out the latest winter fashions which may or may not have been a sneak peak at potential Christmas presents.

In the afternoon we had a great late lunch at our house in Greenfield. Not only is there tasty food, but a bottomless couch, HD television, fireplace and decked-out Christmas tree. Our hosts Brenda and David, their daughter Sarah and friend Jennifer and been very gracious to us since we landed at Crotched Mountain, I couldn't imagine what we would have done if they hadn't welcomed us into their home.

Here are a few pictures from earlier in the month, Courtney making fun of the way I smile, the parting shots of the well-traveled G-tube and her sticking out her tongue which is an hourly occurrence.










-Sean

Inquiring Minds...

Sorry about the lack of updates...not a lot going on lately except of course, Courtney's progress. This week it's been status quo, which is fine. She is doing all her therapies and still has her "off" days when things don't seem to go as fast as she'd like. All in all she is right where she should be we think and is walking a little bit more every day. One night she was lounging in the jacuzzi (yeah, tough life) and she said " wow, Mom, I can see my legs!" That was very exciting for both of us. Imagine not seeing any part of your body for four months! Each day her eyesight seems to improve although it's not consistant, but what is where brain injuries are concerned?
This weekend she is entertaining some of her friends at the Greenfield house and I assume battening down the hatches at the Mountain, getting ready for the storm tonight and into tomorrow. I am up in Bethlehem, N.H. for a couple of days and will be back on Monday with Marty. On Tues. she will go back to the hospital in Manchester to have the defibrillator removed as well as the recalled lead wire. We all are anxious for this to come out and have it behind us. As things stand right now Court does not want another defib. put back in . Until we know more about why she got shocked and why the lead wire came off in the first place as well as why the defib. rotated, we are not in any hurry to have another one put in.
That's it from this end . We post how everything is going with the surgery after Tues.
Thanks for your constant support and encouragement. Keep the faith!
Love, Julie/mom

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Silent Auction & First Night

Going once! Going twice! Come sign up today, 3rd floor of Morrill Hall at 5:00 (we'll be there through 5:30) to officially join the 'SFC Silent Auction Committee'. We are going to need a lot of help and anything you can contribute would make a huge difference. Please don't hold back if you think you can help.

Also, soon everyone will be home for the holidays. If a relative or friend is particularly talented at a trade such as sculpture, wood-work, painting, cooking, web-design, etc...that makes them a perfect candidate as a donator. This is one of those work-at-home jobs. It can't get much easier and remember, there is something in it for them. Advertising. As promised, we will post ALL sponsors of every form on our sponsor lists and posters for everyone to see.

So come sign up today or anytime through 5pm Friday. The sign-up sheet will remain on Jay Ashman's office door, 3rd floor of Morrill Hall, until then. If you can't physically make it to the sign up sheet before then or at all, contact me and let me know you are interested.

Also, we will most likely have a small booth at First Night here in Burlington. We need one or two people to help out for a few hours (we'll be done well before midnight and I promise to pop a bottle of champagne for those who help!). Shoot me an e-mail if you're interested.


Thanks,
Amber

awaery@gmail.com

Monday, December 10, 2007

Plight of the Tube

.(Home Health Depot image)

If you feel like being a little weird, continue reading this narrative of Courtey's feeding tube. If you don't feel like being weird, quite frankly I'm sorry for you and that you've had to put up with my nonsense. Skip ahead to paragraph eight and then secretly go back and read the story after.

Plight of the G-Tube

It was an otherwise peaceful afternoon in Tummytopia, I had spent the better part of an hour listening to the young girl's gurgling. Her stomach was making noises after lunch that I'd never heard before, sort of a "brub bub brub" mixed with some swishy swashiness. She must be excited for some reason, as if she's received some good news.

I, on the other hand, have been battling a bout of the doldrums. You see, she's been eating like a horse for weeks now and I'm barely getting any use. I've even been relieved of my medicine delivery duties, apparently the princess feels well enough to eat her pills with applesauce. What a foolish decision.

I am clearly the most direct route to the stomach. Chewing, swallowing, digesting, why even bother when you've got me? She says she craves chocolate. Why not mash up some cake and shove it down me with a pipe cleaner? There's no mess and no hillbilly-looking chocolate teeth thanks to the G-Tube, which happens to be short for Greatness-Tube (not gastrostomy, I get that all the time).

I remember the good old days when I'd be brimming with Jevity, the best liquefied chalk beverage since Yoo-Hoo. I'd be flushed with water three times a day, get my meds and snuggle up to a nice warm tummy, chat with her belly button now and again. Sure, she'd pick at me, curse my existence and threaten to get rid of me. I'd fit in some payback, slithering out of the nurses hands or spitting stomach juice in her boyfriend's face.

I never she would have the moxy to make good on her threats. But sure enough, today, the doc grabs me by the neck and yanks me right out of her like I was an ostrich with my head in the sand. Can you believe that? We spend months together, I nourish her everyday and now I'm suddenly expendable because she would rather eat her pork chops than drink them.

Adding insult to injury, then they throw me away as if I were common medical waste. At the very least I figured she'd have me bronzed to display on her mantle or trophy case (right next to her baby booties). But no, it was just "pluck" and "good riddance," she even had a smile on her face afterward, the nerve! I hope she has fun with her fancy hamburgers, pasta, fruit salad ... French fries ... apple pie ... boy, I sure am hungry ... and lonely.

The End

So, the point of our story is that Courtney had her feeding tube removed today and she's elated. It was a rather simply procedure, a quick yank from the doctor, a mild "ouch" from Courtney followed by her uncontrollable giggling because we had to put pressure on her stomach, the motherland of all ticklishness.

This was one of the milestones we had been looking forward to for months, it means that Courtney is able to take in all her food and medicine by mouth. Aside from the three scars (trachea tube, defibrillator implant and feeding tube) she looks no different than she had three months ago.

We also had an impromptu meeting with Crotched Mountain's vision therapist and an optometrist
that happened to be visiting today. The optometrist used a small light to examine her eyes and said her retinas are damaged, but it's not an issue of retinal detachment. We'll see about having an ERG, retina exam, performed when she visits the neuro-optometrist in Windham, Maine come January.

As for now her vision is showing signs of improvement. Julie mentioned Courtney finally saw her own legs while taking a bath the other day (it must be like when a big man loses a lot of weight and can finally look down and see his feet, and whatnot). The bathtub, by the way, is like something out of the Hyatt — jacuzzi jets, bubbles — I'm considering packing my own bathrobe for the next visit.

A few other notes:

Court's defibrillator implant is scheduled to be removed back at Catholic Medical Center in Manchester on Tuesday, Dec. 18. The lead wire and device will be taken out, she has no plans right now to have a new (preferably functional) defibrillator implanted.

Her weight is coming back up, I know the ladies are sensitive about numbers involving size, but it's another sign she is eating well.

Her walking has progressed monumentally, she's walking much faster with only one person to guide her by holding her left or right hand.

Seeing Courtney this morning, she looked refreshed and very pretty. It was nice to see her after being gone last week.

-Sean

Benefunk Recap and Silent Auction Details

What a success! The show went so well and brought in more than $2000! Over half came in from the door meaning somewhere between 200 and 225 people got funky at the Benefunk. The shirts sold out before the show was halfway through and the coin-drop had more $1s, $5s, $10s & $20s than it did coins! The results could not have been better, and the show of support was really awesome. Thanks to all who drove hours to be there, who left their books and studies, who stayed up way past their bedtimes, dealt with our music tastes and took the time to think of Courtney. It means so much.

A new batch of shirts is almost done, there still more chocolates (which I can attest are delicious) and we’ve got more stickers. I’ve kept the information those of you have already sent me for your t-shirt orders, but not many people specified men’s or women’s. It would be great if you could let me know you want to order a shirt(s) and I will send you an order form to fill out. Include your address with the order if shipping is necessary, and I will in turn send you a bill for the shirts and shipping. Send to awaery@gmail.com. You can include any questions with your order. The sooner you get to me, the sooner I can get the shirts to you (before X-Mas!).

Onward and upward from a hugely successful benefit concert to a much bigger prospect, the silent auction. We really need people to dig down deep and think of their resources and connections. Anyone who works downtown, owns a business, is an artists, can provide a service or any form of donation let us know. This can be you or family and friends. This Wednesday at 5pm we will have a brief, approx. 10-15 min. meeting at Morrill Hall so people can stop by and sign up for the silent auction business donation sheet. I will leave the sign-up sheet on Jay Ashman’s door until Friday evening (around 5pm) so people can continue to sign-up. After ‘teams’ and individuals are determined, we’ll have a meeting specifically to discuss approaching various types of businesses and give you the ‘Dos and Don’ts’ to ensure you walk away with a donation. You don’t need to worry, we’ll help out with everything and answer any questions you have. We are looking to get anywhere between 100 & 200 donations, so we’ll need all the help we can get. If you are unable to sign up, but would still like to donate an auctionable (yes, I made this word up) item, e-mail me with details and questions (awaery@gmail.com).

We have a few guidelines for the donations:
-clean
-appropriate/ in good taste
-not damaged
-will not expire immediately after item is won


So be creative, consider what other places may donate and try to get something different. Gift certificates, artwork, clothing, sporting gear, guided trips, B&B stays, specialty items, movie tickets, dinners, boat rides, etc…the possibilities are endless, have fun with it.


So remember: order your shirts, chocolates and stickers through me. Shoot me an e-mail and I’ll send on the form. Come to the meeting this Wed. or sign up on Jay Ashman’s door (Morrill Hall). If you can’t do either, send me an e-mail and I’ll get you involved. Talk to your family and friends about donation items. You never know who might be able to help.

Thanks everyone, friends, family, SFC, the bands and sponsors for a great effort at the Benefunk. It was really awesome to see you all there.

-Amber

awaery@gmail.com

Friday, December 7, 2007

Benefunk Videos


Have a look at the scenes from Courtney's charity concert in Burlington. We had an eclectic mix of rock, metal and jam bands thanks to
The Burly Jacks, Brother Through Glass, Pace Goodman Proposal and IAMYOUARE. There was also an ill-advised appearance by me on stage, I think I'll stick to scribing (I'm sure the natural reaction for most folks who watch themselves on tape is a cross between cringing and laughing). I had a lot of fun and can't wait to do it again.



IAMYOUARE



Pace Goodman Proposal



Sean on stage



Brother Through Glass





The Burly Jacks





Crowd shots


-Sean

Thursday, December 6, 2007

Benefunk Photos

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We had a tremendous turnout for Benefunk last night, it was a great time and I've got the headache and ringing ears to prove it. I'm sure Courtney couldn't have asked for better show: great people, great music and a steady flow of Miller Lite. I'm happy to have our first fundraiser under our belts, the whole Support For Courtney crew came up big in the event's organization and execution.

We're still getting the final tallies on head counts and donations, but each band held a steady crowd and everyone was generous whether buying merchandise, leaving money in the coin drop or offering to volunteer for upcoming fundraisers. Everyone was in good spirits, having Court on their mind and celebrating for a good cause. Several people in attendance were anxious to take leadership roles in future projects and it was an opportunity for me to put faces to the names of Court's expansive entourage.

Julie let Court listen in on her phone past her bedtime, the concert ran until 2pm. Thanks to everyone who packed Metronome on a Wednesday night. Videos will be up next.

IAMYOUARE



Pace Goodman Proposal








Brother Through Glass




Burly Jacks




-Sean

Tuesday, December 4, 2007

Benefunky Wednesday


Just in case anyone has had their eyelids stapled shut or cement poured in their ears, Courtney's benefit concert is this Wednesday night at Club Metronome. It's going to be a good time, sobriety and clothing are optional (as long as you drive or walk naked safely). We are in the 11th hour of prepping and looking forward to some face-melting music tomorrow.


-Sean

Monday, December 3, 2007

The Big Shows Finally Here!

It’s down to the wire and we are pulling together the finishing touches. Posters, banners, t-shirts, chocolates, tables, decorations and displays. There is a lot more to it than we expected, but with everyone’s help we’ve been able to cross off nearly everything on our checklist. If you are out and about in Burlington or on UVM campus you should be able to spot a concert poster on most corners. The prints turned out great and are really eye-catching.

At the show you can purchase your t-shirts, chocolates and stickers. I’ll hold t-shirts for those who ordered them, but can’t make it to the show.

You’ll also have an opportunity to sign up as a representative of Support For Courtney to ask for silent auction donations. A list of businesses will be provided, but your input is welcome and encouraged if you have additional ideas on who to approach. A special meeting will be arranged to help coach you through ‘how to approach a business successfully’ and allow you to ask questions. So don’t hesitate to sign up!

If you still want to help with the concert, any form of display with pictures or memories of Courtney would be great. We have no definite decoration plans and would like to leave that up to you guys. Grab some streamers, balloons and posters and bring them on up. We’ll be at Metronome about an hour before the show, 8ish, to start setting up. Feel free to join us.

All the feedback has been great and we look forward to seeing you there!
(wed. 12/5 @ 9pm through the night.)


-Amber