Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Address update

Hello Everyone,

Please find a new address on the mail for Amy tab.

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Amy's continued recovery

Hello Everyone,

We write you from a rehabilitation hospital in Berkeley, California Amy's home town.

Amy continues to fight for recovery - working daily on walking, talking, memory, cognitive skills, and life skills to re-build her independence. The previously completely paralyzed side of her body is regaining movement and control while her overall health has stabilized. We are blessed to have her, and her ever present affection, in our lives as the weeks and months begin to draw us away from last October's horrors and into new stages of life.

Amy's therapy work will continue for months to come, yet we are also trying to recover moments of normalcy - a family meal, a view of the golden gate from the hospital garden, listening to new music and shared laughs under the covers when our day is done.

Many thanks for your continued support and enthusiasm for Amy's resilience. Due to Amy's need for a continued low-stimulation environment, please arrange all visiting in advance with family.
Much love from California.

Monday, January 21, 2013

end of January update

Our gratitude runs deep for the friends, colleagues, volunteers, reporters, and audience members who made this past weekend's dance benefit such a celebration of Amy while raising 11,000 for her recovery!! A special thanks to Amy's dance students and medical staff who were in attendance last Saturday and of course the exquisite group of professionals who gave their art to show their love.

Through the dedicated work of Terry, mother of Amy's fellow Kirov grad and dear friend Amy Marie, a local Denver news station picked up Amy's story last week and included footage of rehearsal and two of Amy's friends and professional colleagues, Amy Marie and Oliver. 

Denver's newspaper also wrote a piece about Amy and the benefit which you can read here.

Amy is settling into an intensive traumatic brain injury rehabilitation hospital. Given the extensive list of medical complications which she has faced and fought through, it is relieving to enter into a phase of this process wherein she can gather new energy to approach her cognitive healing. Amy has regained a few words, takes naps regularly, and still enjoys every meal. Her days are very full with a variety of therapy appointments.

TBI, as we are learning, is a long, complex re-orientation to living. Amy's brain is just beginning to wake up and is easily overwhelmed by processing her environment or simple tasks. Her brain will have to re-learn how to do everything from playing tick-tack-toe to expressing complex thought. We love who she is and through all the loss and challenges, I find that there is nothing like still getting to be together each day.

If you wish to visit Amy on the weekends, we ask that you contact family directly (even if you have already seen her since October) in order to determine the best time for Amy and give her something to look forward to. Please keep your visit short given the energy it takes for her to interact socially even if she appears alert. True to Amy she is working harder to take care of us than she is to take care of herself. Send her your love in cards and notes at the new address under "mail for Amy."

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

a new year and a new benefit performance...

Please join us in Denver on the evening of the 19th for yet another gathering of colorado dancers to celebrate Amy's recovery. 

Tickets can be reserved at amy.hollinger.benefit@gmail.com

As Amy moves into an intensive cognitive rehabilitation program, leaving Denver Health after nearly three months, we feel blessed to know that Denver will be dancing for her. 

Thursday, December 27, 2012

Close of December, medical update

Hello friends,

We hope you are enjoying the holidays with family and loved ones near and far.
Denver has become quiet again with a blanket of beautiful snow this week.

Amy continues to work hard in her many therapy appointments. Her days are very full with occupational therapy, physical therapy, speech therapy, nutritionists, hair washes, rehabilitation doctors, meals, and neurosurgeons. Sleep and privacy for Amy are treasured commodities.

Amy has a long road ahead to rebuild neurological connections and find new ways of cognitively processing and adjusting to her injuries. Amy's brain is young and her body is that of a professional athlete, however the brain damage she has sustained is severe and bi-lateral. We all wish we had a crystal ball. Right now simply sitting up in a wheelchair takes a great deal of effort for Amy, physically and cognitively. With only one side of her body working and the trauma of her accident's effect, we are working day by day to expand Amy's world again. This is her life and we are trying to give her the tools to rebuild it in all the possible direction she may choose.

Her courage continues to give me strength everyday. The arrival of Mary from California again has given us all peace as we watch Amy attempt to communicate with her by producing new words and facial expressions, calmed by her presence and voice. We miss Cheryl and Catherine's friendship and helping hands, but stay up to date on news from home including the birth of a healthy baby girl to Aaron and Grace, childhood friends of Amy, Catherine, and I's.

We are looking forward to our move to an intensive cognitive rehabilitation hospital. Amy will be part of a 9am-5pm therapy program with other brain injury survivors, mostly close to her age, throughout the week, followed by weekends for rest.

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

mid-december update

Today, for the first time since arriving at denver health hospital in October, Amy left her room in a wheelchair to sit on the fourth floor with a beautiful view of snowy down town Denver.

Over the weekend while childhood friends visited from CA, Amy ate her first full meals sending us running to the grocery store.

The physical therapy team continues to work on the right side of Amy's body which was affected most severely from the accident. Left side brain injury impacts right side physicality and visa-versa.

We met this week with a nurse from the traumatic brain rehabilitation center where Amy will be living for intensive therapy for about 6-8 weeks with family. To our delight Amy is nearly strong enough to make the move and we will do so after the holidays. This is the news we have been waiting for.

Amy's room is decorated with beautiful snow flakes and paper cranes made by friends. I'm looking forward to showing Amy posters for the January dance benefit when they are ready. We wish you all safe snowy holiday travels!

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

2nd week of december update

While Amy sleeps I'd like to quickly update you all on her recovery.

No longer in need of either oxygen support or a neck brace, Amy is resting more peacefully. Although still at a high risk for infection, it is wonderful to see Amy exhibiting more physical stability and thus directing more energy to therapy. Her chief neurosurgeon stopped in yesterday and thought her head was healing well.

Amy's days are full: she has a large therapy team working with her and family to rebuild neurological pathways, empower Amy to have choice and expression, and regain practical abilities like being able to fully extend her spine, hold up her own head, and dangle her feet off of the bed. We are working to help relax Amy's right arm more and her left hand has learned the first four letters of the sign language alphabet. Even though Amy may not be able to spell we are hoping to give her as many avenues to work on brain reactivity, the process of learning, and sequencing.

My apologies for the delay in posting photos here of the dance benefit. A computer glitch has set me back.

We are wishing you all a happy winter solstice!