Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Change of Heart

Hey guys!  Lainey here!  First and foremost, before I go any further I would like to send my condolences out to Karen O'Conner and the Theodore O'Conner syndicate for the untimely death of the super pony Theodore O'Conner.  I know off first hand how much Karen loved that pony as I shared the same feeling as she did from the moment I first saw her ride him.  He has been an inspiration for not only event riders, but for all horsemen alike.  He will be greatly missed.  However, I can sleep well at night knowing that he will be galloping with my beloved Jamie and Frodo in lush green pastures.
I wanted to write everyone to let you know there has been a change in my competition schedule.  After my coach Buck Davidson and his lady friend and fellow event rider Kristen Bond drove over six hours to visit me, Buck and I sat down to discuss a reasonable show schedule that would ensure my safety and build my confidence.  He decided, as rudimentary as it may seem, and much to my dismay, that I should start back doing one training level horse trials when my body decides its ready (which realistically will be near August).  He then went onto say I would do two more prelims and then finish up the year with one or two intermediates with Alex and perhaps the Florida CCI* with Seajack.  So, Fairhill is out for this year.  
As much as I didn't like hearing it, I knew Buck was right in telling me to take it slow.  So many times when we athletes become disabled, our minds feel ready before our body has time to object.  More than anything, I want to come back to the event world to be one of the best over a long period of time, not chase the clock and try and hurry my horses along to try and be the best just for the moment.  I figure that safety is my top priority as it always has been.  
So, you will be seeing me start back at the basics.  Although I don't plan on being there long, I think it will be a time for me to have fun and enjoy the sport for what it is, instead of always having loads of pressure weighing on my shoulders.  Although I don't have a schedule laid out yet, just because I don't know when I will physically be able to endure the trials of an event, I will get one out to you all as soon as I am able.  Thank you all of being so supportive throughout this time of need.  You all have inspired me to get better even faster!  Thank you once again!



We now have Laine Ashker armbands available to purchase. They are in Laine's colors of yellow and burgundy. They may be purchased at area events for $5 a piece or through the mail (10 armband minimum or $50 minimum donation to purchase by mail). We will keep a list updated of where you can get your Laine Ashker armbands here. All proceeds from the sales of armbands go to the Equestrian Aid Foundation. You must mention "Laine Ashker" if you would prefer the proceeds to go directly to Laine's fund. You may purchase your Laine armband at the following events/stables
Poplar Place Farm June Event - Hamilton, Georgia
Rocking Horse Stables - Altoona, Florida
(please insert any other event/place you guys will have them available on this list here)

To order by mail please send a check made out to Equestrian Aid Foundation (minimum of $50 donation/10 bracelets or more) to
Ruthie Harbison
Laine Ashker armbands
15445 51st Drive
Wellborn, Florida 32094
Please remember to include the shipping address for where the armbands are to be received.


Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Update and a Wonderful Surprise!

8:45am Tuesday, May 20th
I have been busy with follow up appointments for daughter Laine and keeping the barn people happy while we are on the mend. Laine is looking much better as swelling is going down and she is able to shower, dress and walk about a half mile on her own! She complains of pain in her jaw and back but the meds seem to help take the edge off. Now the 'baton' will be handed over to a friend of ours, Dr. Marc Warner, whom is a vascular surgeon and will coordinate follow up visits with specialists. Dr. Talton, DDS. has taken Laine under his wing and promises to give her that white beaming smile back when the wires are taken off and she is able to "open" her mouth for repair procedures. Laine has all of her teeth but her bite is off and some of her front teeth have roots exposed due to the injury. Time will tell if these will be problem areas but Dr. Talton assures everything is 'fixable.' We have had such an incredible support system with doctors and friends.....right from the beginning! Our neighbors have brought over scrumptious meals.....home cooked....that even I fight over to get my hands on before Laine!!!! Who cares if they are 'mandatory' straw meals......they are DELICIOUS!! We have so much to be thankful for......and being seems the second wave of loving support has 'unfurled.'
We are trying to get Mazetto. I guess he misses Laine and though he is in a lovely pasture with "Dan"...Winsome Adante, everyone there says he needs to be back with Laine. I could not agree more and so we are on a mission to try to bring him to Crow's Ear Farm and that infamous stall #2. I will keep all of you updated on our progress. Laine has already spoken of Fair Hill *** in October and her
2 rides there with Alex and Eric!!!! I so much feel a gray hair coming on to add to my Bonnie Rait collection!!!! I am so proud of her and the 'pioneering' spirit Laine possesses. Her happiness is what I want most. And like her coach Buck....this passion for riding runs deep in her blood. I will support her. Valerie Dorice Ashker

So the Surprise???!!

May I introduce the young, amazingly talented, beautiful & bright, intellectual, UVA graduate, courageous and brave-hearted epitome of "warrior mentality"
Laine Evion Ashker!

Hello everyone
I know it's probably seemed like an eternity since I've last written, however, in my defense, my life has seemed much like a whirlwind recently. First and foremost I need to express my thank you's. The first people on my list have to be my parents and my close family (this includes you Brandon), which most of you have already pointed out in all of the lovely cards that have been sent. Throughout this terrible nightmare, my parents have been like steadfast pillars, unwavering in the turbulent winds that have been heading our direction. I have been so proud of them because instead of giving up and panicking through this situation, they've become stronger and allowed me, the one who supposedly never shows her weaknesses, have a rest and shed many tears on their shoulders. Next, I would love to thank all of the horse and non-horsey people alike, who have expressed their support through flowers, emails, gifts, telephone calls, letters, or words. Let me tell you that these things, although perhaps nnot outwardly, have really aided my healing as it is nice to hear there are people on my side, hoping my recovery is a speedy one. Lastly, I would like to thank those who have been writing/saying terrible things about Frodo and I to the public: you have once, again inspired me to rise about the standard of expectation. It's funny because whenever Buck told me that it was impossible to do something (ie: make the optimum time on a xc course), it gave me such a huge push to strive for it even more! Thus, I hope at Fairhill later this year, I will prove you all wrong. That's all I have to say about that....moving on.
Life since I have been home has been pretty slow going, which for us eventers, is the hardest type to deal with. I have had an abundance of visitors which has been nice because it keeps my mind moving on, and not dwelling on what happened nearly three weeks ago. This has been, by far, the toughest thing I have had to deal with. I would like to say that at the age 24, I have many more years to live so there will be even more difficult times that lay ahead, but if that were to be the case, and if I really believed that, I think I would have given up a while ago in the UK hospital. Losing Frodo has completely turned my world upside down. Frodo was not only my best horse, but my best friend, the horse I wanted to see first when my beloved Jamie passed last year. He embodies everything I want to be. So, losing him has caused a lot of suffering and pain that I am sure wont be healed long after the rest of my body does. On a brighter note, it was so nice to see how he affected other people's lives as well. Many strangers wrote just to say he was the most beautiful horse they'd ever seen, or because of his history with the movie
Lord of the Rings, people who don't even watch the sport tuned in to see him. I must say that I was lucky to have had him for the 8 years I did.
So, what lay ahead for me? My plan is to be back riding sooner than later...DUH! The only thing really holding me back are my ribs because whenever mom is driving and there is a bump in the road this terrible pain shoots down my that is a bit problematic. I have to speak with Buck about a schedule but since I missed Jersey Fresh with Al, I plan on doing Fairhill with him. If I should find my beloved Mazetto back in my barn before then, I'll plan to bring him there as well. I also plan on teaching as soon as my wires come off of my teeth. I taught mom a lesson on Alex the other day, but because my mouth is wired shut, the volume of my voice is quite low which makes it difficult for anyone who lacks a bit in the hearing department.
So my Olympic dream for this year has officially been eradicated. However, I wish those who travel to China the best of luck and I have all my faith bestowed in the fact that the US is more than ready to bring home a few gold medals. I am thankful that I got the chance to go over last year, which eases the disappointment a little. Next goal for me? World Games in Lexington in 2010 and London in 2012. I want to thank all of you for being so supportive and kind to my mom and I in this time of need. You will see me back in the saddle sooner than later. I look forward to seeing all of you at the shows. Please keep my Frody in your hearts and minds as you ride as I know I will for the rest of my life. Thank you so much! Until next time, shoulders back, leg on, and chin up!


For comfort in this time

Something I wrote for You all.
I Hope it brings some comfort in this time.

My Best Friend
Who needs a Reason? You'll Always be my Best Friend.
Time has gone, You'll Still be by my side.
I'll never forget You, or any of those Times.
There's a list upon many, but why stop now?
The pasture glows in the midnight sky, I know your watching me.
Lay here, under these stars and talk to You, Just like old times.
The world isn't the limit, We've seen it all.
You kept me Safe, and We finished together.
I know You'll Always be there to cheer me on.
To whisper into my ear, when I need You Most.
I'll Miss You Best Friend.
Don't cry tears of Sorrow, For A Best Friend Never wants to see You cry.

Ride Each Day Like It's Your Last, Ride Like Your Best Friend Would Want You To.
Ride Because Your Best Friend, Will Always Be With You.

My Prayers Are With You All.

Friday, May 16, 2008

Happy to be home!

10am Friday, May 16th

I am so absorbed in getting back into the 'routine' here at Crow's Ear Farm that I have missed a couple days of postings! I am sorry for that and I know all of you want to know how Laine is doing.
She is doing well except for her daily walk to the barn and seeing the vacant stall #2. This part of her recuperation will be a lasting pain that will just have to be managed with Time. Her traech opening on her throat is healing well and becoming minimal along with her face and the swelling on her right side. Sleeping is a problem with the broken scapula and we have to be quite engineering to place pillows where they are needed for comfort. I am becoming a "Smoothie Queen" with the new processor and enjoy watching her sip up my efforts neatly through her Hardy's straw (I confiscated yesterday as they are wider than the normal package of straws we bought)! All is returning to some degree of every day life here on the farm.....I didn't even get bucked off riding both our 4 yr olds who have not got out on scheduled rides in quite some time!!!!!

Michael and I want to thank all of you for the love and support along with prayer chains on our daughter's behalf. Really, without your touching e mails......all this might have ended differently. I can't thank all of you enough.....but know it is from the bottom place in my heart. We are working on getting sponsership in acquiring Mazetto, Eric is his barn stall #2 can be filled with Laine's partner of 4 months and continue forward for wonderful years of adventure ahead.

I will write more in the next day or two.....meanwhile please know how thankful and appreciative we are in your love of Laine. I am astounded of the mail Laine is receiving and when we opened the box from Shawn Faust we fell apart. Tears of gratitude ran down both Laine and my face for in the box was this INCREDIBLE portrait of our dear boy Frodo so lifelike and amazing work of talent from a brush and unknown soul. How do I thank this lady? I guess hanging it in our hallway with Jamie's picture will have to do. And a daily dose of " I love you Frodo" greeting each new day........

the words Thank You can be so huge.......

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Frodo remembered

This is a poem I ran across in one of my Dressage magazines. . . I wanted to share this with you.





I have attached a picture of Frodo in Dressage from the Rolex. . . "What a truly beautiful boy!"

Best Wishes!


Pause on the email

Laine's email box is FULL!!! Thanks to every one who has written to Laine but she is not yet able to read and respond to her email. So could you please hold off on sending her email at this time? You can still email Valerie at She's still reading her email.


Monday, May 12, 2008

Poem from a friend

Shared by Rachel Asmus...

Meeting Again At The Rainbow Bridge
All the animals who have been ill and old are restored to health and vigor; those who were hurt or maimed are made whole and strong again, just as we remember them in our dreams of days and times gone by. The animals are happy and content, except for one small thing; they each miss someone very special to them, who had to be left behind. They all run and play together, but the day comes when one suddenly stops and looks into the distance. His bright eyes are intent; his eager body begins to quiver. Suddenly he begins to run from the group, flying over the green grass, his legs carrying him faster and faster.
You have been spotted, and when you and your special friend finally meet, you cling together in joyous reunion, never to be parted again. The happy kisses rain upon your face; your hands again caress the beloved head, and you look once more into the trusting eyes of your pet, so long gone from your life but never absent from your heart.
Then you cross Rainbow Bridge together

Monday Update

Monday, May 12, 2008

We get released TOMORROW and probably will start our drive back to Crow's Ear Farm on Wed early morning!!!! I think if we actually leave the hospital tomorrow before noon grandma and myself will take Laine to get a mani/pedi and brows beautified! I am so excited this is all coming to a close even though this hospital, the staff, the doctors and incredible nurses have been nothing short of Top Drawer. I can never Thank of these wonderful people for their beyond the call of duty care of our daughter Laine. I know their support has had so much to do with her walking out of here tomorrow. Along with ALL YOUR PRAYERS. thank you.

I will keep all of you posted as much as possible and was hoping to have daughter Laine step in. She has not been much about hearing or talking about horses at this moment but I believe it is her way of taking the first step in her emotional rescue and recovery. We are so incredibly proud of coach Buck taking 2nd yesterday at Jersey Fresh *** and then his horse got vetted to be looked at for the Team. How wonderful is that!!!!!!!!!!!! Our dear friend Amy got the blue and I can never thank her enough as well as Karen for their heartwarming phone calls. I love them for taking Laine in as their friend and fellow competitor making time to show their concern. Everyone at Jersey I guess were wearing Laine's colors on ribbons all weekend long. As we did for our dear Eleanor at Kentucky. Our comradery between all of we eventers is special and brings a comforting feeling when we hold the fort down together.

I close only for now and hope you all have a wonderful start to this week. I know getting home to see my dear friends Lynn Cruser and Jess Bowen will be the start of good times to come. Then seeing our 9 boys and 1 little prissy pony mare........
they all wait......for the fearless duo of mom and daughter....grandma too.....and get Crow's Ear Farm back on track for the remainder of this year.

I will never forget any one of your precious e heart has been touched by so very very many.


Here are a couple of pictures we'd like to share with you...

Room #653 Laine Ashker

Another view of #653 with Laine's monkey her nephew sent to her. That monkey was with Laine Sunday after her accident and remained in her bed till now. I know that stuffed animal will remain special for a very long time.

Sunday, May 11, 2008

Sunday Update

10:15am Sunday, Mother's Day!

Short but sweet Laine is doing better!!!! I have been over an hour by her bedside helping her sip the ice water cup from a sponge applicator and she so much enjoyed that. My back has a cramp from leaning over so long!!! She asked me if I and grandma will continue to 'spoil' her when we get home!!!! Of course all of you know my reply!

Laine's possible discharge date is Tuesday, May 13th. We will know probably by tomorrow when the Blue Trauma Team meet and conclusively agree she is able to go home. I will inform all of you that news.

I want to wish all of you mothers a very special day today.........I never really appreciated these holidays until this one. I hope yours is filled with the happiness mine is.
That is my Mother's Day wish to all of you.

till tomorrow......

Saturday, May 10, 2008

Saturday Update

4:30pm Saturday May 10th, '08

This day has nearly gotten away from me! I have been continuously downloading precious pictures of our beloved Frodo and Mazetto for Laine to enjoy when the time is right. It takes ALL day to do this!!!!! I am so grateful to all of you who sent pics to me with some of those brilliant moments of Laine 2 weeks ago which now will never be lost. Thankyou. Your e mails have made my days brighter in the wake of disaster and beyond. When one door closes another will open and I have come to depend on all of you to rekindle that thought daily.

We will be going HOME next week!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Laine might have her trachea tube OUT tomorrow and then be released as soon as Tuesday!!! Mom and I will slowly start our chores of packing up and organizing the van for Laine's transport. I will be driving Laine's convertible Crossfire! I am putting my lipstick on...Gucci sunglasses and BIG SMILE when I get into her car! We are going to celebrate LIFE returning to Crow's Ear Farm! Our 2 Shelties, Ivy & Huey will be waiting along with our 10 horses...5 chickens, our love bird Milly ( (she is like a boomerang on Laine's shoulder!!!), cockatiel Angie whom I hatched and handfed 15 years ago, 4 barn cats, one of which is ET...she surely looks like it and a cat you will never forget, and just our beautiful farm with all the flowers in bloom and welcome home colors. I know Laine will be so happy to become attached again to our little place we have built up together. It has been a good home for sure.

Mom and I will take care of our girl 24/7 and I am going to assign Laine's first task of getting the mail! Things will slowly progress at a natural pace and we will be OK. It is directly a result from ALL OF YOU.

Boy oh boy........what a Mother's Day it will be. I have my "Peeps" back with me and that is all that matters. Really. When you think of it.......
My grandmother used to tell me "you can have a sweetheart any day, but not another Mother".
She was right. And I can validate it by MY mom being here.....myself and my daughter....3 generations.....strong as the Mt. Everest, deep as the Grand Canyon and free as the Monkeys on Gibraltar. It is our LOVE that conquers all. And WE are on our way back UP.

Happy Mother's Day

Valerie Ashker

Friday, May 9, 2008

My error on Update!

please note everyone it was my own error regarding Laine's e mail address. Her address is

I will let you know when her bracelets become available.....they will be the same type as Ralph and Darrens'.

Laine is slumbering right as I incredible to see her content. And just now.....the sun is finally trying to peep thru these Kentucky clouds....


Friday Update

noon on Friday May 9th

I was ancious to see daughter Laine this morning with my mother. I continued our morning routine minus Michael (who left yesterday) whisking off to Starbuck's at 6am for that cup of java joy to begin our new day. My mother and I two stepped out of those Starbuck doors!!!!

Laine looked GREAT! Her skin looks beautiful....her face has lost all the edema around the jaw line.....and she looks more comfortable this morning. We walked to the 'window area,' which is a 'marker' that has been her goal 4 times a day. We did a flight of stairs.....we will do them again too later today! She is supposed to get a new smaller trachea replaced today and possibly removed in 2-3 days totally!!! In fact we might get the thumbs up to actually get RELEASED within 3-4 days time....AND GO HOME!!!!

Laine is talking thru her trachea more clearly and called her big bro Buck to catch up on Jersey Fresh. He rides later today and I know she is anxious to hear about it. Between Kristin Bond, Karen O'Connor and Buck.....I think we have a really good chance of taking home that "8 St. James Trophy"!!! Every competitor there this weekend and organizers have Laine in their hearts. They are all wearing a ribbon of burgundy and gold in her honor. Laine's face squinted when she was told about it by friend Kristin and I grabbed Kleenex to cover Laines' throat from the stream of heartfelt tears. There are bracelets being made as well for Darren and Ralph...I will put them on the web site when they are available. We have so much support and it makes me realize why Laine is a 'miracle' here at UK. I love ALL of you for continued prayers and well e wishes........please continue with them. Again, Laine's e mail address is
Some of you are misspelling it so check to make sure you have it right.

I will write again shortly.....and I know when Laine is a bit stronger....emotionally......she will take the reins over from me and start writing. We all heal from this daily blogging and without all of you we would never been able to start and complete our recovery as well. THANK YOU.

I don't have many photos of our dear Frodie from Rolex so if any of you got some good ones.....please forward them. I have made 2 folders for Laine in future references she will see during her recovery and of Mazetto and one of her beloved Frodo. I would like to get as many pictures as possible of both partners. Thank you again,


Thursday, May 8, 2008

Update 5/8/08

1:30pm Thursday 5/8/08

There is an emptiness in Laine's new room today....Laines' grandfather and Michael have left Team Ashker to get on their way with resuming their business and 'normal' lives at home. Both gentlemen take westbound flights to my sunny state of CA and I pray they are safe through their journey. Indeed it has already been a long bumpy ride. They both departed with a sense of contentment for Laine's recovery has been steadily marching forward.......of course just what all of us reading this, expected! Laine certainly is the epitome of her famous saying "warrior mentality". (Mind Gym, a book that is a favorite of hers).

I am not sure how long we will be here in lovely Lexington, KY. A week or just depends on her daily progress. She is receiving a smaller trachea tube today....and that is the final step toward having it completely out! I am thrilled. I have made quite a few friends I have through the internet and Laine's web page. Starbuck's continually welcomed us each morning at 5:30am with triple shots to jumpstart our day. Our incredible Mexican meals were always delicious at Abuelo's where Tonya, the lovely lady manager treated us like family. Ramsey's has the best fried chicken and I must admit that glass of Pinot Grigio was really satisfying at the end of each day after leaving the ICU unit at the UK hospital. Speaking of UK.....the nurses have been OUTSTANDING. I was so upset this morning when Hannah Hubbard, one of her ICU nurses came upstairs to say goodbye to Laine.... she cradled my daughter's life for 13 days with the magic in her heart and hands! How does one say "Goodbye" after this whole ordeal? A ''thank you"? I can't even imagine those girls realizing how much they mean to us. And Blue Team doctors. Their guidance kept our long and winding road on track and mapped out. This experience has been grueling and painful.....but these people have come into our lives and gave our daughter back to us. I will be forever grateful and never forget any of them.

Laine will slowly face life solo without her partner. This devastates me. I know and feel that deep pain ....and how it aches daily with the loss our my dear, dear boy Jamie. We will suffer together and each day will be a bit more bright as the adage of mine "Time and Sunshine" take effect. We were blessed to have these friends in our lives....and they added so very much to our spiritual happiness and confidence to compete in the sport we have trained in VA for 11 years now. We will have to do some renovating, some shuffling...and re-assessing as both Laine and I venture on to another road together. And that is the magic word right there. TOGETHER. I can get through this as long as we are together. It is from Laine I gain strength. I find my happiness and my reason. Primarily though, I find Me. I LOVE my daughter. After reading the hundreds and hundreds of e mails from mothers all over the world, fathers too.....I can say I am in huge company. All of you.....each e mail from people 8-99 (yes, 99 yrs old!)......should and could have been writers. Words straight from the heart. Poetry. Paintings and Seajack drawings. Memorials. Get well soon tapestries, flowers, cookie & fruit baskets. The computer age has not traded our humanitarian qualities. I always worried about that. I will not now. Perhaps my goal to ride across the country on my pony Willy, is not be as crazy as my family thinks! I love meeting people and making new friends.

I thank all of you for your encouragement and prayers. Being a mother and in the middle of my change of life I won't forget your daily dose of love and words of encouragement from this little lap top.

Whether I am changing Laine's cannula or watching my mother place her gorgeous flowers around the window ledge in her new room, I feel comfort and joy in knowing that I am not alone. I can do this. I am Laine's Mother.
and to all the Mothers in this world,

Happy Mother's Day. It certainly will go down in history for my finest to date.

Thank You,


you may send Lainey e mails to and by all means keep writing me

Flowers, and the view from Laine's room

Thursday Update

Up to the Sixth

Yesterday marked a major milestone in Laine's recovery, for after twelve long, grueling, scary days in the ICU, she was moved to the Step-Down ICU and into her own room; a transition that confirms her recovery is well underway. Its a nice room, with a beautiful view of the University of Kentucky football stadium and surrounding campus. Yesterday was packed with small accomplishments; the variety that would normally go unnoticed. She took a short walk, made several trips to the restroom (with minimal assistance) and she enjoyed a liquid dinner consisting of soup, potatoes, juice and pudding. Early this morning, the nurse and I strolled Laine up and down the halls of the sixth floor. She enjoyed walking and told me that she felt stable, as if she could walk further and faster.

Late, yesterday, Lainey learned of the fate of her precious Frodo. Deep down I think she knew all along, but the look in her mothers' eyes when she asked the question, was enough to confirm her intuition. There is no preparing for such dismal news and even less when in the state she is in. The pain and emotion were palpable. I'm sure Val will write more this later.

Today, I'll finish by saying that we have turned a corner and rounded the bend and soon Laine will be headed home to Virginia. We've been reminded by many of Laine's many doctors just how fortunate she is and just how dire her condition was. Above all we are blessed, thanks to all of you and the special prayers you said for Laine.


Wednesday, May 7, 2008

Missing Laine's Smile

Sent: Tue, 6 May 2008 5:38 pm
Subject: checking in

Its funny how EVERYONE knows Laine. I mean we all know its bc she goes out of her way to smile and cheer you on. I felt so special when I met Laine bc she makes you feel like your the most important person she has met all day. I am glad that she now see's that SHE is the most important person we have all met EVER! Everyone talks about her smile bc it is always there...and boy o boy is it ever the nicest smile I have ever seen. It lights up her whole face and my whole day:)

I can't wait to see it again. I knew she would pull thru this faster and stronger and better then anyone possibly could bc its in her nature..she's a real competitor, a REAL champion at EVERYTHING she does.

She is a radiant human spirit and maybe she is being shown that she can survive anything even human pain and suffering. And now that she knows how strong and wonderful she is she will be unbeatable, unstopable, and even better then ever! Bc not only do we already know that, now Laine knows we all are right behind her enjoying the wake of her greatness as she rides thru life like a true champion. I wish I could give her a GREAT BIG HUG (very gently) :) SO please let her know that Morag and Selena are checking in on her at all times and if she needs ANYTHING to please let us know and we will be there by her side.

LOVE to all of you


Don't Give Up Laine...

Sent: Tue, 6 May 2008 5:24 pm
Subject: RE: (no subject)


Here are some word from a song that I love...sad but unfortunately too in these circumstances. It is Peter Gabriel..dont give up..I have written down what I think Laine would need to hear from it, soon. If you want play here the whole song eventually..It was introduced to me when a friend of mines' horse died at Essex. I have always thought it was beautiful...the don't give up part is the most important. I love you guys almost every thought of the day is with Laine. I am ashamed that I was always impressed with her, and never told her....SO glad I get the chance...and I will ten fold!!!

Don't give up, you still have friends
Don't give up, you're not beaten yet
Don't give up, I know you can make it good
Dont' give up, you still have us
Don't give up, we don't need much of anything
Dont' give up, cause somewhere there's a place where WE belong.

Rest your head, you worry too much, it's gonna be alright. When times get tough, you can fall back on us.

Don't give up, you still have friends
Don' give up, no reason to be ashamed
Don't give up, we are proud of who you are
Don't give up, you know it's never been easy
Don't give up, cause somewhere there's a place where WE belong.

Love you Laine...more to come from you...greatness, I would suspect!!!


A Heartfelt Message

Sent: Tue, 6 May 2008 6:21 pm
Subject: Laine//Frodo


After all you’ve been through and all you’ve experienced, let me just say that you are more of an idol and hero to me know than you ever were before. You’re everything a hero should be—wise, talented, courageous, strong and most of all yourself. No one needs a cape to be a hero, but in your case a saddle and a steed would do pretty well; as it does for many of your other fans.

First off, I just wanted to say thank you for doing what you’ve done—riding and just being around horses. It makes you who you are, and horses can defiantly be better friends and mentors than a lot of our actual human companions; that I know from experience. And if you’ve heard the quote: “Horses are the most agreeable friends. They always listen and they never pass any criticisms,” I think you’d agree. There is nothing quite like a horse.

Second, I want you to know that all of us are out here to support you through not only this time, but for all the times to come—whether it be in the Olympics or in a winner’s circle—we have all realized through your strength and uncanny equestrian abilities that you are not like many others. You’re one-of-a-kind, and you should use that to the best of your abilities. We (being friends, family or just strangers,) all love you, and are rooting for a full recovery as well as for you to be in the saddle again soon enough so we can admire and envy off of how amazingly you look on horseback; as well as any other time.

Next up, your dear friend Frodo. You know, it may not make things easier, but wherever he is, not only is he happy, but I bet he misses you. Without a doubt he’s going to be looking over you forever, making sure that you are happy and safe. I’ve gone through similar things that you have, but the worst is always the loss of a best friend. I also know that over time getting the same “I’m so sorry’s” and “I bet he’s in a better place,” can get slightly annoying or agitating; how could anyone know what it feels like, what you two had? How can they know if he’s better off? But just a small word of advice, don’t get tired of them. These people want to try and help you, and believe me, it’s not easy to sit and read a blog of your favorite equestrian day after day, wondering what’s going to happen to them, or even what’s gong on. These people are doing everything they can to tell you how much you mean to them, to express their deepest, most sincere condolences, and they are doing the instinctive thing everyone is born to do; try and help someone.

I bet Frodo loved you, and I can only imagine how much. Together, you two could have done anything, I think, and that’s also what has been such an inspiration to me and countless others around the world. If there is one quote that I think fit you two perfectly, it would be the following, without a doubt:

Tell us it can't be done, and we'll do it,

Tell us a goal is to high, we'll reach it,

Place obstacles in front of us, and we'll leap over it,

Challenge us, dare to defy us, But do NOT underestimate us,

For together, anything is possible

That’s the first thing I think of after hearing either your’s or Frodo’s name. You two looked so absolutely breathtaking together; a true team, something that many equestrians can only dream of having. I honestly can’t say I’ve ever seen someone “dance” like you two did during Dressage… it makes me question my own abilities, yet also gives me something to work towards, so thank you again for how much you’ve impacted the Equestrian World with not only Frodo, but you and everything you’ve given it, and even us.

If it helps the slightest bit, something that helps me after the loss of a great companion is to write them a letter. Tell them everything you’ve loved about them, everything you’ve thought about them, how you felt with them; everything. When you are done, you can say a small little “thank you” under your breath and light the letter on fire (or, if that doesn’t appeal to you, you can use your imagination^_^). I did this after the loss of my greatest friend (and steed,) Pocano, and though I might not be extremely religious, I felt like I was doing right, like I was saying something or giving him something that no one else could have, and that is one of the greatest feelings someone can ever experience.

I cannot wait to see you in the saddle again; that’s where it seems you belong. We will all be here for you, through future highs and lows, and please remember the lives you have changed just with your existence. You’re an amazing, truly gifted person, Laine, never doubt that.

Wishing for the quickest recovery,

Katie Stimac

Wednesday Update

Getting Better All The Time

Day twelve and another day of progress for our brave girl. This morning Laine had her last chest tube removed and along with it a major source of pain. She has plenty of others. These chest tubes create escape hatches for liquid or gaseous pressures that build up in the chest cavity as a result of trauma. Laine required three tubes. They are plastic pipes, about 3/4 of an inch in diameter and they are fitted into the chest by drilling a hole at the side so that the tube can be slipped through the muscles and inserted deep into the chest cavity. There are two settings that allow the tube to either aggressively suck (I.e suction mode) or to allow drainage-only called "water seal". The point here is that Laine had three chest tubes. They did their job, relieved the pressure, allowed for drainage, but hurt like heck.

Two other notable steps were taken today. The tracheotomy specialists provided Laine with a little device that fits over her tracheotomy port and allows for the exhaled air to be routed up through the mouth, thus producing the air that enables her vocal chords. So, for the first time in twelve days Lainey was able to speak. Think about not being able to speak for nearly two weeks --- after enduring the most emotional and difficult experience of your life! Well, sure enough, along with the words, came an outpouring of tears and emotion. Somehow I knew that was coming. Like a damn that bursts open once the first crack in the wall appears. In any case, it was a welcome relief and probably the first of many. But since the adapter restricts airflow, it can only be used for short spurts initially. What's clear is that soon enough, Laine will be asking the hard questions. What happened? Why? Asking about her horses? These will not be easy conversations.

The other major milestone is that Laine had a swallowing test, which she passed with flying colors and was cleared to drink. So, her first meal was apple juice with an apple sauce chaser. Yum! I'm sure those little morsels tasted just as good to her as a Thanksgiving day feast to the rest of us. This afternoon there is talk that Lainey will be moved out of ICU and also physical therapy will come to work with her and get her mobile again. It's all part of the healing process that is now well underway. So, it really is getting better all the time and we are all ecstatic with Laine progress.

Thank you all for reading.

Michael Ashker

Tuesday, May 6, 2008

Hearts and Prayers for Laine

Subject: Our hearts and prayers are with you!!!

A horse is the projection of people’s dreams
About themselves-
strong, powerful, beautiful-
And it has the capability of giving us escape
From our mundane existence.

Pam Brown

Laine, you are strong, powerful and beautiful, and you have been an inspiration and projection of so many of our dreams. Those of us who haven’t physical been by your side this last year, have been with you in spirit, and in our dreams. Thank you Laine, for all you have given us in letting us escape our mundane existence. Barry and I send our thoughts and prayers to you, everyday.

Susan & Barry

Tuesday's Update

Miracles & Medicine

The saying goes “the miracle of modern medicine”, but in Laine’s case I see it as “Miracles and Medicine”. I know it sounds rather cliché, but Laine’s recovery has been nothing less than a miracle. While she is not entirely out of the woods, she is certainly out of the thick of it and well on her way back. She is down to a single chest tube (they decided to leave #3 in for one more day) and she has been breathing without the ventilator for more than 30 hours. She’s able to write notes now and communicates with hand gestures. She even asked for her iPhone today. (I’m not sure what she thinks she can do with it.) She has been improving so quickly that even her doctors are amazed (or should I say, they are especially amazed)? For they; more than anyone know how delicate and dire things were in Laine’s most critical hour. This makes me believe “miracle”. But this is not to take anything away from the doctors and healthcare professionals here at University of Kentucky, because they were brilliant.

When Laine was airlifted here at 4:10PM on Saturday, April 26th, she was critically injured. The Blue Trauma Team jumped into action. With both her lungs collapsed and the right one having multiple lacerations, the Team made their initial assessment and stabilized her quickly. At that point the broken bones and jaw, while severe in their own right, were secondary. At that moment and for the next couple days, Laine’s very survival was in question. The Blue Team considered emergency chest surgery, but decided to give it time and to watch and wait. The wait paid off and Laine stabilized more and eventually began improving. Dr. Boulanger, Laine’s primary physician and senior member of the Blue Trauma Team at U of K, is a fine doctor. He, along with his other team members, Dr. Sonka and Dr. Bernard, have also done an outstanding job. The results speak for themselves. They made the right prognosis and prescribed the right treatments. Beyond the medicine, they were all personable, engaged, informative and caring. We can’t thank them enough, but would guess that Laine’s recovery is all the thanks they really need.

Soon Laine will be moved out of the ICU. That should happen by tomorrow, some eleven days after her fall. This hospital, for its size and scope, is a well run facility yet no function is more important than the minute-by-minute care that Laine received from her ICU nurses. We need to give them special acknowledgment. So, Debbie, LeAnn, Tracy, Hannah, Patti, Michelle and Ester, you were all exceptional nurses and masterfully performed your duties with the utmost care. Doctors prescribe, but nurses perform the myriad elements of treatment, minute-by-minute, day and night.

Finally, I can’t move on without extending further thanks and deep gratitude to everyone who expressed their love and concern for Laine. Soon she’ll be able to enjoy your cards, letters and emails. For those of you who have offered up prayers for Lainey, thank you. Those prayers have been heard and answered; and we’ve witnessed a true miracle.

Michael Ashker

Laine's Inspiration

Sent: Sun, 4 May 2008 3:19 pm
Subject: (no subject)

Valerie and Michael,

What a wonderful job you are doing. It made me cry when I read that Laine fell asleep every night to the poster of us at the 96 Olympics. It's strange... she was 12 when I was at the games. Now, I go to events and look at her as the big time rider! I am sure she would love to know that. The bottom line is she is going to make it and her beautiful smile will brighten our days again. If she chooses to go on with her eventing career, she will be one of the handfulls of the great...because she already is. I can say from experience, she will have a hard time reading things and looking at pictures, Laine needs to just believe in who and what she is, and let the rest of it go. She will come to depend on her support group ( which I hope to be part of). You have an amazing daughter, filled with life and joy, and you are responsible for that. Bless you and your whole family...and please let Lainey know I have been watching American Idol for her....(red hills last year, ruthie kept calling me for updates and Laine was in the backround asking what was going on!!!!) Funny how she could be on there and win....Always a winner, no matter what she does..isn't that fantastic!!!!

All my love, thoughts, and prayers,
Jill Hennebrg

Appreciation for Laine on Mazetto

Sent: Sat, 3 May 2008 6:25 pm
Subject: To the family.

Hey guys,

First off, I'd like to thank Laine for displaying a wonderous ride on
Mazetto. Laine and Mazetto completed Rolex in honour of Eleanor, and
showed what a wonderful duo those two are.

I would just like Laine and the family to know that my heart will
always be out there praying for the return of Laine. Accidents happen
when you least want them to happen. Life will be life, even when it
just SUCKS. My heart stopped when the news of Laine's lungs collapsing
came to me. She's a strong girl, and she will make it through with a
smile on her face.

Eventing, as we all know, is such a hard sport, and I believe everyone
should give their all due respect to these people who have the guts to
ride a cross country course the way they do. And the horses! to be
able to complete a dressage test and gallop a 4 mile long course with
33 jumps, AND still have the energy to consummate a course of 14 4'
jumps is just simply amazing. At the end of the day, the riders must
be exausted, which makes it even more breathtaking.

As for the dearest Frodo Baggins, the news hit me like when you jump
into ice-cold water. I just kind of stared off in space. Freak
accidents are the worse. Less than a year ago did Laine loose her
other baby boy. I still swoon over the loss of Frodo, it's terrible
that such unfortunate things will happen. But, the strong-willed horse
quietly swept away probably thinking of attempting that jump again. He
abseloutly loved it, and there is not much more you could ask to make
a devastating ending happy. He didn't leave this world weeping for the
attention that some of the top-competition horses don't get, but he
left with his muscles conditioned with love. He bathed in a life of
happiness, with many loving people surrounding him. Even though it is
simply awful that he had to leave this world so early in his career,
he atleast left knowing that he had that one special person.

Laine we all know is very sturdy, and will make it through this. It
gets worse before it gets better. Frodo may have been her one and
only, but time will come when another horse will take her breath away.
Not a replacement horse of the one-and-only Frodo Baggins, but another
big-hearted puppy.

Best of luck and much love,
Shawdi and Chestefield Stables

Monday, May 5, 2008

10am Cinco de Mayo

Michael has wonderfully written the last 2 updates....after reading them I had nothing to add. Now, my turn..

Laine is a fighter. With the pain killers being reduced such as Morphine drip.....she rallies forward to her recuperation. Some moments she looks incredibly frustrated, other moments deeply emotional as to what and why she is at UofK. For a mother....this absolutely breaks my heart. I tell her that this will be the most difficult part of the "long & winding road" for she has to set a pain threshold and 'be comfortable in the uncomfortable'. (those of you close to Laine....will smile at that line). She nods and only once in awhile does Laine wake with a grimace of terror and heartache stretched across her beautiful face as if reliving that tragic moment. That too, kills me inside. I still have yet to inform my precious baby daughter that Frodo, the love of her gone. Timing will make itself clear as to when that moment will be justified. Laine has remained strong throughout these 9 days and I with her father Michael.....are so proud of her. She is making our roles as parents more bearable through this horrific ordeal. She knows us so well. It's those qualities that make her stand-out, embrace Life, love people and be thriving with her equine children that make our 24 yr old daughter so special. Laine will be an incredible asset down the road for young and old alike..and example of a real champion and Olympic competitor. If I am able to find a gentleman down the road with even half of her will be a lovely surprise. I am forever grateful that someone Greater did not separate the Ashker duo and that perhaps I might wear my red cowboy boots and chase Laine from out of the start box soon once again. I love Life. I love that some of us are fortunate to get second chances. I am a very happy woman and proud to be Laine's mother.

The left chest tube came out this morning. Laine sat up in a chair yesterday....a request she made known 2-3 days ago, but she lasted only 5 minutes or so.....due to her ribs and lack of strength. It's ok.....the chair will be waiting for today's progress. One of her nose tubes was taken yesterday now remaining is the feed tube.....Jenny Craig diet extreme! With her jaw wired shut Smoothie King will be Laine' new breakfast of Champions! Lunch and dinner too. 6 weeks.....then grandpa's fried Chicken! Grandma's lemon meringue pie will nicely process in a straw! I can't wait for her to come HOME.........
we might be moved to another floor in 2-3 days after she is completely off the drip line, ventilator and remaining lung tube. Lainey is getting quite a bit of rattle in her trachea tube so that needs to minimize so a nurse doesn't have to clear it every 2 hours. Physical therapy will lie ahead and counseling from loved ones and counselors to get her to manage her grief. Eric and Alex along with Baby Seajack will undoubtedly be the richest sources of inspiration for her to rebuild. Boy do we love our horses. So vital for our personal happiness in life.
I will now close and go to the little cubical to be with my girl and watch her sleep.......and pray her recuperation will be continued daily step by step progress. We are so damn lucky. We have an angel watching over us. Both Michael and I are blessed to have Laine Evion Ashker as our daughter. What did I ever do in my life to deserve such a gift? I grab it without question and will never look back.

time to knit beside her mom's sweater is looking great....just like my baby.


Sunday, May 4, 2008

Laine’s Medical Update – Sunday, May 04, 2008

One Small Step
Things have been rather quiet in the ICU over the weekend. I believe that’s a good thing, since the ICU deals exclusively with major trauma cases. I got to thinking about the contrast between the incoming patients; so very fragile and struggling to hang onto their very lives and the outgoing patients; who have made it through the toughest part of their trauma and are well on their road to recovery. Laine is definitely in this later group. However, in order to make that transition, Laine needs to demonstrate her ability to breath on her own with no assistance from the ventilator. Yesterday, they actually tried that arrangement for the first time and for a good portion of the day, she was breathing with nothing more than the high octane oxygen cuff that sits over her tracheotomy port. Eventually they had to put her back on ventilator assistance as her carbon dioxide levels got elevated. Nothing too discouraging. They will try to switch back to oxygen only again later today.
Laine is showing good signs in other areas as well. One of her three chest tubes were removed this morning. The plan is to remove one tube each day, which will have her tubeless by Tuesday. At the same time, they are starting to cut back on her morphine and as they do she is coming in and out of consciousness more often and staying more lucid for longer periods.
But the really great news of the day is this; if Laine can transition off the ventilator, they are going to wheel in one of those big therapeutic easy chairs and see if she can sit on her own for a few moments. That small distance may prove to be a long trip, but one that will represent a major turning point.
Thanks to all for following Laine’s progress and for tuning into her website.
Michael Ashker

Saturday, May 3, 2008

Laine's Medical Update - Saturday, May 3rd, 2008

The Long & Winding Road to Recovery

Today will be a full week since Laine's accident. During the past week Laine's broken body parts have been tested, treated, reset, relieved, patched and presently, stabilized. There is little more doctors and nurses can do, having done the bulk of their incredible handy work during the most critical period of time. It now comes down to time; the slow arduous process of healing the many broken pieces of body and spirit. The long and winding road to recovery has now begun with Laine's jaw surgery being completed yesterday. Procedures going forward will focus on "taking out or off", rather than "putting in". Soon Laine's chest tubes will be removed, having been reduced to their lowest setting as of this morning. The ventilator weaning steps have been implemented and if all goes well, Laine will be breathing on her own in a matter of days, with only an apparatus that feeds oxygen into the breathing port in her neck. The latest addition to her myriad challenges being a tightly wired jaw.

My heart breaks for my daughter each time I see her grimace and thrash about in a semi state of consciousness, as she motions to get out of bed and off of the restrains that bind her motion. She's still so vary disoriented, yet will awaken suddenly in horror; as though she is re-living her terrible fall and at the same time gripping with the inevitable realization that her dream of making the 2008 Olympic team has been shattered, just as badly as the broken bones of her body. Both realities are intertwined and hit with a powerful force. This quest is what has driven and defined her for the past couple years of her life. She is not ready to receive the truly devastating news of the loss of her beloved Frodo. Laine is such a brave kid. Determined, to a fault and dedicated to a cause, she has lived with a single minded focus. But still, at least through her father’s eyes, a little girl.

So, today we start the long and winding road to recovery. Getting off the ventilator and eventually the healing of the tracheotomy passage. Learning to adjust to a liquid diet. Dealing with the excruciating pain of eight broken ribs where each life sustaining breath comes with a price of pain. Then, the emotional trauma of forfeiting a dream so close to attaining - - that was taken away in a mere instant and along with it, her special horse. A horse she trained herself, day in and day out, while carrying a full load of classes while attending University of Virginia . A life changed, abruptly shaken, without warning or preparation; the proverbial “card” that she has been dealt. All these things will test her metal. So, while her broken body has been reassembled and is ready to heal, the living spirit is about to be tested. As her father (and second biggest fan), all you can do is offer help, encouragement and love. The real battle is Laine's to bear. Soon she'll be asking questions, trying to make sense of it all. It will be at this point, she'll need her friends, her family and her fans, more then ever before.

Thank you all for your kind and considerate emails, cards and letters. And thank you for your heart felt prayers. Having witnessed Laine’s terrible fall and the immediate aftermath, I feel more blessed than anything else. Laine will walk out of this hospital on her own strength, she will ride her horses again and she will enjoy the full measure of her life.

Michael Ashker

Friday, May 2, 2008

Shared In Honor of Frodo

"You are a great champion. When you ran, the ground shook; the sky opened and mere mortals parted the way to victory, where I met you in the winners circle and laid a blanket of flowers upon your neck."

Author unknown

Here's just one of the emails that keeps me going and believing...

Hi Valerie,
I don't know if you remember us, we were stabled right down from you, and Laine, being the WONDERFUL girl she is, loaned missy her saddle for X/C for the weekend, when she needed it. This at Ocala in the fall, at the Trainng 3 day. Nidus was her horse.
I want to share some stuff with you, and I hope, during this time, knowing, you aren't alone, helps.
My son, now 21 was born very sick, with MANY, MANY disabilities. I was told he would never "walk, talk, feed himself, see, or hear or function at anything near normal". I was asked to put him in a home, and "forget" I had him.
I know you must think these are nothing alike. But our babies, well they are "OUR" babies. I stood for months by his bedside, willing him to live, to eat, to breath. I willed him to be okay, and to walk, and talk, and be a human. They would tie him down, so he couldn't pull out tubes, and I would sob, because I couldn't explain to my precious baby why he had to endure so much. I KNOW you are going through a lot of those emotions, and I pray each day for God to stand beside you, and hold your hand, as you hold Laine's.
She is a wonderful girl. So giving and loving. I know right now it is hard, each day brings something difficult, and even the smallest things become so hard to deal with. Just keep all of our prayers in your heart, and when it gets really hard, go ahead and cry. Because guess does help. And remember to smile, and laugh at the slightest thing, because it is THOSE things that will get you through. Take it in small steps, and don't wonder what tomorrow will bring. Face each minute as it comes.
As for Frodo...I am truly saddened. And I know this is something you have probably heard a DOZEN zillion times, but that horse loved his job. HE LOVED IT. They don't get there without loving it. And he was doing what he loved when he got injured. There are many horses out there who never get the love and attention he got, who never got to dream the big dream. HE did, and I bet if you could have asked him...he would have nickered and said, yes, mom, if I gotta go, let me go at the top....
As for telling her, I know someday MIssy's big horse will die, and I dunno how I will handle that...she has had him forever you see. But I will for sure pray...and for sure think of you every day. Missy sends her love to both of you. And says that your daughter is an idol to her. Not just for her ability, but because she is so nice, and caring about others.
About my son....he is now applying to Texas A&M for Aerospace Engineering. My baby, who may never walk, talk, or eat, can't shut up, won't stop eating, and well, he walks slow, but only cause he is lazy...grin.
Take care, and if you need ANYTHING....let me know.
Dee McMaster

Friday 10:18am

Michael and I looked at one another and gasped with surprise! LAINE STILL HAD ALL HER TEETH! Dr. Gal said the surgery went better than expected!!!! Her mandible break was repaired with 2 plates and a screw.....she sheared a tooth but it was still there to wire her jaw straight. If she did not have the lung issue Dr. Gal said he would have sent her home!!! No exterior scars!
Yes, as I am sitting here with anticipation to see our daughter.....I feel the strength of all your e mails and phone calls....supporting Lainey and the love of our family. I can't tell you how INCREDIBLE I feel right now!!!!! The green light is bright with hope across the lake.
ALL OF YOU......thank you. Thank you for bringing us into your lives and keeping us safe. Our gallant boy Frodo I know has watched over his loving partner...and I am sure when Laine was under anesthetic....she could feel his soft muzzle nudging ever so gently on her sweet face.
Laine will be able to see us in an hour or so. I will walk confidantly down the hall thru her ICU doors.

thank you my dear dear friends. thank you.


Friday May 2nd 7:30 am

"Consistantly we are getting better than expected news" Michael said while the 5 of us are waiting in the ICU wait room for her to be taken to surgery. There has been a change regarding the use of a Halo.......NO HALO! So as I write she has JUST been wheeled down the hall to OR. I will keep you informed as to her results after her surgery.....we can see her probably about noon.

again, THANK YOU for all your precious e mails.....they mean so much to me.


Thursday, May 1, 2008

4:30 PM Thursday

I sit quietly by my daughter's bedside and begin to realize what the "roller coaster" ride is all about.
Laine is aggitated because she wants answers to questions that neither her mom or dad can understand. Her communication skills are crippled by a moraphine drip line and the incredible frustration in this 10 x 10 room is emotionally exhausting. So vivid the memory of tragedy paling the one of victory.
My one source of strength comes from a home page website where I know thousands of our friends are supporting us with prayers & love.
I feel it. I hold it. And I thank each and EVERY one of you for it. That "it" keeps me returning to her tiny room with a comforting smile.

Laine's Medical Update - Thursday, May 1st, 2008 - 12:30pm

It's been five days since Laine's terrible fall and with each new day we've been blessed with signs of progress. One of the emotional elements of healthcare management is to prepare families for both good and bad days. The proverbial emotional roller coaster ride. So, far our set backs have been few and Laine's forward steps have been consistent. One backward step came about last night when Laine's fever suddenly spiked up to nearly 103. It was determined that she had an infection and a case of pneumonia; both being complications that are quite common with a lung injury of this sort. They started her on three seperate antibiotics and her fever has already come down significantly as a result.

The good news is that Laine's lungs continue to gain strength and her doctors have again lowered the level of assistance being contributed by the ventilator. At one point, Laine was drawing almost all her own breaths. It turned out to be a bit premature, so they went back to the previous settings. Laine's jaw surgery is now scheduled for first thing Friday morning. The plan is to plate the lower jaw line and then reset the right upper jawbone and then wiring it all together.

As far as Laine's attitude goes, she is an amazing kid. They've begun to cut back the level of her pain/comfort meds so from time-to-time, she'll drift back into consciousness, opening her eyes and trying to get herself oriented. She's begun to ask the obvious questions, like what happened and where am I? Not a moment after she was asking about her beloved horses, Frodo and Eric. Keep in mind that communication is now done by lip reading and hand gestures because the tracheotomy has rendered her vocal chords temporarily inoperable. There is a certain "fiest" in Laine today and while the communication process is very frustrating, she was tried desperately to communicate in her sedated state. There was one point that Laine was particularly struggling to ask the nurse something that she couldn't make out. Eventually, they were able to determine that she was asking for a mirror. Now, while that's normally a simple request, one has to think about the benefits of providing it in this instance. We did, she looked for a moment and then drifted back into a peaceful rest.