Steamboat community leader Mary Brown making progress after spinal injury
August 17, 2017
STEAMBOAT SPRINGS – The mood of the family and friends of former Steamboat Springs City Council member Mary Brown was decidedly upbeat Aug. 15 and 16 as she makes progress in her recovery from a serious spinal injury suffered Aug. 5 when she tumbled from her bicycle in a construction zone on U.S. Highway 40 at the intersection of South U.S. 40 and Majestic Circle.
Brown was unable to speak in the immediate aftermath of the accident, according to her family’s post on the Caring Bridge website. However, by this week, she was verbalizing and expressing her eagerness to get on with her physical therapy.
Her family reports that she has gradually been increasing the number of minutes she is able to sit in a wheelchair, something that is essential to her making the transition to Craig Rehabilitation Hospital for ongoing therapy.
Mary "went outside for 15 minutes and started talking with a speaking valve on her ventilator/(tracheotomy) tubes. We had a lovely visit with Jami from Craig Rehabilitation Hospital and Mary is slated to move there on Monday. She is very much looking forward to being busy and having a full schedule," Brown's husband John Tomasini wrote, and Lily Bragg transcribed onto Caring Bridge.
"The entire day has been uplifting for Mary. Being able to speak and participate in the meeting with Craig, drove the event. Simply stated, it was good to hear Mary again. Mary said, 'Let’s get going,'" Tomasini added.
Brown’s bicycle collided with a highway construction barrel that was part of a privately-managed project of a right turn lane into the Steamboat Christian Center.
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No motor vehicle was involved in the mishap, and Brown was wearing a helmet. But she fractured her C1 and C2 vertebrae, and the associated swelling left her without any sensation below the fractures in her neck.
Earlier this week, Tomasini expressed optimism about his wife's future and her resilient spirit: "While I opened up this MacBook, Mary said, 'Say hello to everyone.’ I am a lucky man, as every morning I walk into Mary’s temporary housing, I am greeted with a smile and 'Hi Honey.' I think that is a great start to the day."
Tomasini went on to explain how his wife is able to sit in a wheelchair, and why it is important to her recovery.
"The nurses are so attentive and they take care of her needs and medication. The shift change is 7:00. So the respiratory therapist prepared her for another building block day in the wheelchair," he wrote. "Physical therapy came in and erected her into the wheelchair, and the team rolled Mary around the ICU ward for a complete tour of the floor. Mary was accompanied by ‘The Team’ and a portable respirator. We didn’t make it outside today, But Mary was in upright for (30 minutes) and is building her time. The goal is to have her sitting up in the chair for two hours straight," to prepare her for ongoing therapy at Craig Hospital.
Brown has served the Steamboat Springs community in numerous capacities and was instrumental in the establishment of the Steamboat Springs location of the Boys and Girls Clubs of Northwest Colorado.