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Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Triking the Mountain


Courtney spent a physical therapy session yesterday triking around the mountain. She had little trouble, needing only guidance from the therapist and she sported a smile for most of the ride. I'm happy that her therapists are constantly challenging Courtney and keeping things fresh with new activities and adapted toys like bikes and snowboards (next snowboarding trip is scheduled for Feb 8).


24 Hour Trainer Riders Brought In the Bling $$$

With a coin drop sitting in front of their tent set-up and a table of flyers, stickers and posters, the UVM riders brought in over $700 for the Support for Courtney fund. Thats over $100 more than the projected outcome. Thanks UVM Cyclers for your effort and enthusiasm as well as your participation in the Support for Courtney cause.

Sooner or later Courtney will be out there with us, cruisin' around B-town and having a good time.


Sunday, January 27, 2008

Photos from the 24 Hour Trainer Ride

These are some of the hardworking individuals from the UVM Cycling team that donated their time, effort and leg strength. You may have seen these cyclists on the local Fox 44 News on Saturday evening! Thank you Mike Femia and to all who were involved and braved the cold and wind on Friday night and Saturday.

- Jeff

Friday, January 25, 2008

24 Hour Trainer Ride for Support For Courtney; Hosted by UVM Cycling

Today at 3:30 pm, the UVM Cycling team started setting up for their 24 hour trainer ride on Church St. The ride was organized and developed by Mike Femia and the team to raise money for Support For Courtney. Thanks to this courageous crew of cyclers and friends (its really really cold), a table with a coin drop, an informational poster, stickers and fliers will be on display for a full 24 hours raising awareness to everyone passing by. That just about covers it all; families, people going to and from work, people going out to for a good time and people coming back from a good time with an added stagger to their step.

We are so lucky to have such a great group to help us raise awareness to Burlington's public. If you are in the area, scoot down to the Burlington Square Mall where you will see a red Ski Rack tent with a bunch of riders in spandex and bikes set up all around. Bring something warm and some good cheer, because its going to be a bone-chilling 20 degrees tops. They will be there until approximately 4 pm tomorrow.

Keep an eye out for information on the Winterfest, February 9th, hosted by Lynn Gregory and her CDAE class working with Jeff Szatkowski.

More information on the Silent Auction, it is still happening, is soon to come as well. If you are expecting a t-shirt, don't worry, they are made and should be shipped out in the coming week. Things on the Support For Courtney front were put on hold temporarily due to Winter break and personal commitments, but is in full swing again.

I'll leave you with this tidbit of information . . . the cycling team really gets pumped when inspirational music is blasting, for example: The Final Countdown.


Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Discharge from the Crotch (What a Gross Title)

We had about 15 people sitting in on today's meeting, all working toward achieving a recovered Courtney Blasius and planning for the day when she eventually rides off into the Crotched Mountain sunset. Here's a roundup from the agenda:
  • Based on Courtney's progress thus far, each of her therapists saw a potential benefit in her continuing therapy at the mountain for at least for another month.
  • Courtney's says she wants to work on becoming more independent while at Crotched Mountain, with goals of unassisted walking and dressing herself in the near future.
  • Her destination of choice for outpatient therapy is Burlington, although we need to be sure any facility in the area can meet all of her needs (vision impairment, physical assistance, local therapy, comfortable living, etc.)
  • Court's case manager is working with the insurance provider to allow her stay at the mountain to continue. We're still awaiting approval from Vermont Medicaid, changing providers may alleviate some time restraints on her rehab.
We'll await word on the insurance, in the meantime everything is great in New Hampshire. No one could have a assembled a more caring, helpful and knowledgeable support team. I'm glad everyone liked the snowboard video (she stayed on her feet the entire time, Lindsey Jacobellis is jealous) I'm sure there'll be more ridiculousness in the weeks to come.


Sunday, January 20, 2008

Adaptive Snowboarding

I've edited together a video clip from our day of snowboarding on Friday. Courtney had great stamina, riding down the bunny slopes for three runs. If we can get her into the rotation for the adaptive snowboard program, she could take the ski lift up to the top of the mountain next time, perhaps in early February.

Another full day of therapies tomorrow and then looking forward to our meeting with Crotched's staff on Tuesday.


Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Week in Review


Some of the highlights from last week in no particular order:

On Wednesday Court had a routine heart appointment with Dr. Kim from Catholic Medical Center. She had an echocardiogram performed and the prognosis was that her heart looked healthy.

My parents came up to New Hampshire on Saturday afternoon, we took a trip to neighboring Peterborough after dropping off supplies of Stephen King novels and bootlegged DVDs to the house. Peterborough is definitively a quaint town, about twenty minutes from the mountain and at least 50 miles away from the nearest shopping mall or Wal-Mart (I am beside myself without a localized area to buy useless crap). We had lunch at a pub called Harlow's, good Mexican food and good beer. My parents were really impressed with how strong and mobile Courtney's become, they last saw her at Spaulding which seems like eons ago.

With instructions from Dr. Robinson, the neuro-optometrist, and Crotched's vision therapist we've developed some tantalizing eye exercises for Ms. Blasius. A few involve moving a penlight in front of Court's face and challenging her to follow with her eyes and not move her head. Playing ball is another productive activity, having her catch or intercept balls as they are rolled toward her or across a table.

Courtney's had a strong week in therapy, she's has been walking close to a mile throughout the day with less support and guidance. She's working wonders with the speech therapists to adjust the pitch and tone of her voice. She's slowly better able to dress and undress herself and becoming coordinated with her left hand.

We're looking forward to adaptive snowboarding tomorrow, as long as tonight's snow and freezing rain clear up in time.

The next meeting with the Crotch's therapy team will be on the 22nd to discuss Court's progress and eventual discharge into an outpatient care. We're not positive where that facility may be yet, likely in Vermont or perhaps Maine, she said she wants to go home to Waldoboro for a week or two before starting outpatient rehab. A group living facility anywhere near Burlington may be a good fit if she can get appropriate therapy and return to her social life.

Below are a few scenes from the mountain and the Greenfield house, Reese is the clingy but lovable housedog and the crystals are dagger-like icicles that spill off the house (they remind me of Superman's fortress of solitude).


Wednesday, January 9, 2008

The Eyes Have it!!

Courtney's eye exam with Dr. Robinson in Windham, Me. went very well today. He said her eyes look normal and healthy but the connection to the brain has been scrambled and needs to connect with the "backup" part of the middle brain. Also, her eyes are not focusing on things because they are not working simutaneously. One eye is looking one place and the other eye is trying to find it. That would blurr anyone's vision, let alone try to decifer it. He gave us some eye exercises to do with Courtney and in about two weeks or so she should start to see more clearly. It remains to be seen how long it will take for her to see well enough to drive or do more complicated things. All in all it's very good news and we look forward to giving Courtney the old one,two in eye workouts! Thanks to everyone for all your support and positive thoughts! Prayers are the key and she is living proof!
Love, Julie/Mom

Tuesday, January 8, 2008

Neuro-eye exam

We are off to see the Neuro-optomitrist early tomorrow morning. Courtney is reporting that she is seeing better each day but we don't want to miss anything. I'm not sure what we will learn from this exam but I am excited about it and hope it gives us some insight as to how Courtney sees and where we can go from here. Maybe it will just be "time" and that will be ok as long as she continues to improve. She is starting to read words in inch size or so and is playing some card games with a large deck so things are looking up. It must be all the prayers and positive energy everyone is sending her way! Please continue to do so and we will let you know how everything goes after the visit. Thanks to all!!
Love, Julie/Mom

One Badass Snowboarding Trip


Thanks to Crotched's winter recreation programs, Courtney will get a chance to ski on the resort side of mountain on the 18th, so I took a sneak peak yesterday and tried out my new snowboard in the process. I was with Courtney when I bought my first snowboard at Burton's summer sale in Burlington, hoping that she take me out to Smuggler's Notch or Jay Peak and show me the ropes. The Crotch may not be on par with Vermont's mountains, but it was great for me, a beginner with a few lessons under his belt.

Before hitting the slopes, I poked around the equipment room and saw the adaptive skis and snowboards that the recreation crew uses. With a combination of handles and leashes, Court will be able to ski with someone riding behind her as a guide (not me, unless she's got body armor on). While I was better than the majority of the seven and eight-year-old children on the mountain, my boarding skills use some refining, but I had a lot of fun and sustained only a mildly sore posterior in the process.

Wish us luck for tomorrow, we're bringing Courtney to Windham, Maine for a day-trip to the neuro-optometrist, I'll post some bits after the appointment.


Friday, January 4, 2008

Chillin Poolside

Court in the Pool with Dad

Courtney unleashed some pent up swimming energy in the therapy pool last night, after allowing a few weeks for her old defib incision to heal up. As I've mentioned before the therapy pool is more like a therapy hot tub with 80 degree water which Court can move through with ease. Come pool time she's Superwoman, jumping and running with reckless abandon, hopefully it's a preview of things to come on dry land.

Court has steadily improved her eating skills, transferring food to her mouth seems to be the most difficult, but she tackled the challenge of peas at dinner. I didn't realize how tricky it can be to eat everyday foods like rice, peas, soup or spaghetti (somehow chocolate, in any form, makes it straight to her mouth with minimum spillage). She's nearly mastered picking up drinking glasses and eating from bowls of oatmeal or pudding.

In occupational therapy Courtney has practiced dressing herself in the morning. She's had mixed results using a Sock Aid, which entails unrolling a sock over a plastic semicircular tube, sliding her foot in the tube and pulling the socked end over it using a rope attached at one end. Her left hand is still weaker than her right and trying to put on a sock with one hand is futile exercise, as is helping to put on gloves in under ten minutes. But she's getting better at zipping up her jacket and taking it off, a skill she'll need to brave New Hampshire's 10 degree temperatures.

I've just bored Court to sleep with some Democratic debate videos, locals have been talking about the primaries coming up on the 8th and I haven't decided who's the least filled with bullshit just yet.


Wednesday, January 2, 2008

Whitewashing in a Winter Wonderland

There's no better way to show your loved ones that you care than to pelt them with snowballs, then knock them down and mercilessly shove fistfuls of snow in their faces. We enjoyed a post-blizzard snow day in the expansive backwoods of the Greenfield house on Sunday. The owner was doing a bit of logging, hence the chopped trees and fire pictures, we served as the halftime entertainment, I believe that Marti's friend Gordon drew first blood with the snowballs and the battle escalated from there.

No one was safe, especially the guy with the fancy, but non-waterproof camera, I bounced between snapping shots and playing defense. A majority of the snowballs appeared to be targeted for Court's aunt Marti, who flew up from Arizona this week specifically to participate in the fight (and probably spend Christmas and New Year's with us too). Unfortunately Marti must leave to return home to her shelties, she could only stick around to see pretty white fluffy snow and not the grimy brown slush it will eventually melt in to.

Court hit the gym yesterday for part of physical therapy, she's been exercising on simple leg machines with light weight. Not only is weightlifting a part of her rehab, she's also training to box Ivan Drago in a few months so hopefully her stamina is up to snuff in time for the fight (running with me on her back and drinking raw eggs are part of the next phase).


Tuesday, January 1, 2008

Ringing in 2008

It's been a fun snowball-fighting, tree-chopping, turkey-cramming, eggnog-chugging kind of a day (photos to follow). Along with family and friends, we celebrated the new year, or as Dick Clark put it "doo" year, at our home away from home in Greenfield. Court should move back into her regular therapy schedule after New Year's Day and meet with the eye doctor in Maine next Wednesday.

Until then we will have to revise our resolutions, Courtney broke her resolution to stop doing her boyfriend bodily harm and I broke my resolution of not whining about it on the Internet. I'm still about a quarter in the bag, so I'll stop writing for now and allow others to slip into a nog-induced hibernation.