Last week we had 3 doctors' appointments which is not out of the ordinary. But this week we only had ONE! Each time a doctor stretches out the time between appointments it helps us realize that Shannon is continuing to heal and is well on her way!
Here's a few updates: Rollerblading: Every chance Shannon gets, she wants to go rollerblading! So much so, that this "old mother" of hers, decided the old blades that she had been using to skate with Shannon were not going to cut it! So I bought me a new pair in hopes that I can get MY BALANCE back and keep up with Shannon for a while. She is doing marvelously well! Last night she rode her blades down to a friends' house (about 2 blocks) and all the way back with out any problems. It is a slight hill which she hadn't really been on since the accident. She really is doing great on them and it has also helped a lot with her balance.
The miracles don't seem to stop. Shannon is doing very well in school, even in her AP classes. We found that her ability to stay focused for a long time is difficult especially when she would take a test. So with the help of the 504 plan, it was decided that she would do every other question on a long test. That has helped immensely. Some things can't be done that way, like the group section of the test. But she did ok there. Her test scores may not be as high as they used to be but so far she is still pulling "A"s in all of her classes. She definitely studies more than she used to--or at least it seems to us that she does. She is still tired at the end of the day but it seems to me that it is not as extreme as before. It is very difficult for her to stand in one place for any amount of time so she says she just has to keep moving some how or another. That issue was one of the main factors that she decided not to go to the "Sadie Hawkins" dance. She didn't know if the boy she was thinking of asking would know enough about a TBI to understand.
Challenges still continue in several areas. I think when you first hit a hard trial as we did, it was easy to be spiritually in tune. When we "lived" at the hospital, our thoughts were focused on the Lord and His amazing grace, power and support. As I type this it reminds me of how it was in the missionfield. Without distractions of normal life, one truly can draw nearer to God. It's when things are somewhat back to normal and the demands of life take time away from that intense concentration that we seem to lose our intense focus on the Lord. And that then becomes our trial...staying spiritual in tune with the Lord with the distractions of life. I think as far as a trial goes, as far as spiritual growth goes, that is the bigger trial.
Another challenge that Shannon faces is that as she continues to improve, I have a tendency to assume and expect things to be back to normal. It is hard in the challenges that are faced with teenagers, to remember that Shannon is a teenager and the emotions and desires are intensified because of the TBI. So when our relationship gets rocky, I want to handle things as I have in the past with teenagers. But I can't do that. It is a very fine line to know where the issue is a typical teenager maturing issue and where the TBI takes over. Typical disagreements that most all parents have with their teenagers seem harder to deal with because of the TBI. Fortunately, Shannon's goodness and desire to do what is right prevails.
The last challenge is a delicate topic for I don't know who all reads the blog. But one day, Shannon will want to remember how it was so she can be more understanding of others. Because Shannon is at school and involved with friends at school, there is often expectations of her friends that she should be the old Shannon. Depression is a major obstacle as those with TBI attest. It is difficult to accept a new life when the old life was going great!! Shannon has been negative about her situation--who wouldn't be? Depression is not something that you get over in a day or two or with a pill or two. There are many components to it and a TBI brings added components as the brain is healing the emotional connections. It seems that many of Shannon's friends are not able to accept, deal with, remember, support, etc as Shannon continues to heal. The visits, calls, texts, invites, etc from friends has almost become non-existent unless Shannon initiates them. She is amazing how she continues to reach out to them. They certainly interact with her at school and support her there which is good. I have heard from some friends that they don't know if Shannon is allowed to go do things. Could that be the excuse?? That surprises me because she had been going and doing lots of things including going to other people's houses, YWs, and now even school, etc. And I have told many of them that she can go. It has been a hard thing to watch especially with some that I thought for sure would always be there. Maybe there are other reasons but the ones I mentioned are the ones that I have been told about.
Now rather than end this on a downer note, let me tell you about Shannon's volunteer position. Shannon has signed up to be a volunteer at the American Fork Hospital in pediatrics. My goodness there is a lot of paperwork and training that has to happen before a person can volunteer!! She had to show that all her immunizations were current. They had asked us in the hospital when Shannon had had her last tetanus shot and she was due for one. We just assumed that they gave it to her. So when we went through the hundreds of pages of hospital records, no mention of a tetanus shot was found. So we had to get that shot taken care of. The hospital supplied the TB tests which took 2 shots a week apart and a follow up check to be sure all was clear! She took all the trainings needed and did all the paperwork. She picked up her uniform shirt and her badge and she starts next week!! She is excited to be able to serve and especially serve where there are children. This by the way was Shannon's idea.
In the past, we wouldn't have known about all the details of things like school or volunteering. But because we get to be Shannon's chauffeurs and help her with such things, we have the opportunity to be more involved in the details of her life. It is a great blessing and a joy to us to spend more time with Shannon than we would have if she had not been in the accident. If we could change whether Shannon had her accident or not, as hard as it has been, as her parents I don't think we would want it changed. We have seen too many miracles, felt the love and the support of family, friends, ward members and people we don't even know, watched the great qualities of our daughter grow even stronger, and have felt God's presence in the details of our lives to want to give that up. That's easier to say now because we know we will have that full recovery!! But we have seen tremendous blessings in our lives and many others due to this trial in our lives. The trial isn't over yet and there are still tough aspects to deal with but knowing that God loves us and is there for us makes it do-able. We know God will bless us and help us to see things a little better. Oh, if we could only always "look through the lens of eternity".
(Oh and by the way, we have passed the 4 month mark since the accident.)