Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Another amazing story from a VMC family...

After receiving permission from the family, I am excited to share this story with you. As difficult as it is to imagine feeling "locked in" your own body, imagine being given a chance to start communicating again. That's what VMC's team did for Laure, and part of what the VMC Foundation proudly supports.

When I asked Mr. Chow if I could share this with you, in fact, he responded right away, saying You can certainly share. We credit the staff at SCVMC, especially Dr Duong and your PT/OT/ST staff for challenging while respecting Laure. Laure always faces her challenges head on.

You should also know the nursing staff has always been fantastic. Laure was very particular about her care and Laure felt both safe and genuinely cared for by your nursing staff.

Laure has a long way to go, but your staff has been a source of compassion, support and encouragement towards her recovery.

This, then, from Mr. Chow:

To Laure’s extended family:

It has been a long and difficult year for Laure and her family. She is still paralyzed and mute, and everyday life has been extremely challenging. Today however, I share some good news.

Since Laure has been working diligently with physical/occupational therapy every day, she has managed to gain enough head control to hold her head steady. This allows her to use a machine called Dynavox.

The machine tracks her eyes along a keyboard and when Laure blinks, it accepts this as if she were pressing a key. Once she completes a sentence, she uses her eyes to “click” on the “speak” button and the machine speaks what Laure has just typed with her eyes.

At first Laure spelled, “I am tired”, then “thank you Larry”, and “Annie (her caregiver) you are special”. Then Laure was on a roll, spelling:

I want Internet.

I want email.

I want email.

I want email.

She was then able to spell / speak, “I love Ton Ton” and “I love Caillou”.

Finally, she spelled, “ I am happy” and “I have a voice”. We all cried.

All this took well over an hour; the device is not 100% accurate, and Laure gets exhausted just trying to hold her head steady, but we will keep practicing and hopefully send a few emails soon.

I know you share in our joy, and thank you for your thoughts, prayers, love and support of Laure.

Larry Chow

Thursday, May 19, 2011

A new troubling study on our health...

What do you suppose makes the biggest difference to your health? Genes? Kicking the cigarette habit?

These things are important, sure, but according to a groundbreaking new study done by our own Public Health Department, racism you experience and where you live are MORE important.

Troubling? You bet it is. I've been fighting racism and injustice where I see it for a long time, and if this study (done in partnership with The Health Trust) doesn't get make you as mad as it does me, then I'm sorry for you.

The way people treat you based on the color of your skin, and the amount of money you make, and the neighborhood you live in have a dramatic effect on your health. This is unfair, and as a society we need to figure out what to do about it...at least that's how I feel.

Check out the study here, and let me know your reaction to it.

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

VMC Foundation and Silicon Valley lose a dear friend

I met Leonard Ely in 2007, and by 2008 he had become such a strong supporter of our "Measure A" campaign to rebuild Valley Medical Center that I'm not sure we'd have won without him.

"VMC saved my life", he often said of his time with us, which was told and retold by news sources around Silicon Valley.

Now Leonard Ely has passed away at 87, and will be greatly missed and remembered. A generous man, he was also a shrewd business leader - and woe unto anyone who misjudged that!

Mr. Ely, thank you for all you have done for our community...your gifts will keep giving for generations to come. The full obituary can be read here.