Thursday, May 27, 2010

A Time of Reflection--A Time of Transition

Yesterday as Pheobe and I talked with Shannon’s nurse and reflected on the past two weeks, certain things came into perspective more that underscore what a miraculous thing we have all experienced since Shannon’s accident. We thought we might try to share some of those things with you to express our love and gratitude to Heavenly Father and to you for helping bring these things to pass.
When Shannon first got to Primary Children’s Hospital, the evaluation of her condition was pretty dire. Most of the people involved were concerned about her survival and were doubtful that she would make it through the surgery or through the night. Due to that her treatment was very aggressive. Emergency surgery was performed to stop the bleeding which was occurring on both sides of her head and a very large section of her skull was removed to allow the brain to swell without doing more damage than the original injury had caused. She was placed on heavy sedation medications to minimize her brain function and try to control the swelling and pressures in her brain. When those medications were not as effective as needed, they brought out even more powerful medications. The pentobaritol drug is not used very often—only in the most critical cases. We hadn’t realized it at the time, but the concern that the doctors had in those early hours was that her pressures were not under control, even though the removal of the section of the skull had provided tons of room for swelling to occur. Had the same swelling occurred within the confines of the skull, it would have been fatal. So that critical period over the first weekend when so many of you were fasting and praying for her was even more critical than we had realized at the time. We recognize that the Lord was in charge, inspiring doctors and nurses, strengthening Shannon’s body and mind and blessing us all in so many ways. Again we are so grateful for these marvelous blessings and for the loving care of a Heavenly Father.
Graduating from the Pediatric Intensive Care Unit is a significant milestone. Shannon has received phenomenal critical care during her stay there and we are so grateful to the many medical professionals who have loved and cared for her. We now move to a very different phase of her treatment and recovery—less life-threatening but requiring more effort, determination and faith on our part and on Shannon’s part. The nurse presented us with a thick manual on Traumatic Brain Injury to help us understand the phases and process of recovery. I have not had much of a chance to look at it, but the conversations we have had indicate that the process of healing and recovery vary by individual but have certain common characteristics. For instance, right now Shannon seems obsessed with the tubes and patches that monitor her pulse, respiration, etc. She tries to pull at them and get rid of them. All of this is typical of a phase of recovery. So we have a lot to learn and there is a lot of work to do. It is not like Shannon just wakes up and pops out of bed as if she has overslept. She has to re-learn how to do many things. Her brain has to heal and re-program itself to allow her to do things that were automatic before. She has come a long way in a short time. But she still has a long way to go on her journey to complete recovery. It will require our collective faith, prayers and hard work. And as Aaron just said in a text to me, “the better she gets, the less frequent the progress will show.”
We are glad to be at this phase, but there are lots of adjustments that we are needing to make. We cannot express enough the appreciation we feel for your concern and for your continued faith and prayers.


  1. Thank you for this newest update... it has been a process of miracles through fasting and prayer and lots of love. You and Phoebe (and your family) have been in our discussions, our thoughts, prayers and pleas as we have all united our focus for Shannon. Indeed, it's a miracle she's with us today...and we will continue to be with her and with you in the days to come. Love, Larry and JoAnn

  2. Dear Blackhams...we just learned of Shannon's accident. Katie didn't have any classes with Shannon, this year, and we were not aware until now. Please know that our thoughts and prayers are with you. If there is anything we can do, please, please let us know. Shannon and Katie shared so many fun times as pre-schoolers and early grade-schoolers. I will always remember Shannon's zeal when it came to any kind of party. She invited everyone and was the belle of the ball! Phoebe, I remember the one evening when Katie had been at your home playng with Shannon. I was there to pick her up and the girls were doing cartwheels on the grass and didn't want their fun to end. You said how it would be great if we could freeze the moment and then they could continue through their years as best friends.
    We send our love and best wishes.
    Terry, DeeDee and Katie Johnson