Saturday, July 30, 2011


As usual this very determined girl shows us all up!  SHE IS GOING HOME TODAY!!  Those wanting to visit Shan are welcome to come by the house!

Shan's eyes were swollen shut this morning but when we said moving around helps, sitting up more, etc., that's what she did along with her ice!  Dr. Walker was in a few minutes ago and she had the swelling down enough that both eyes were open!!  So he said she could go! She is one happy camper!  And I can't say I am disappointed, I would much rather be home!


Ugh! Swollen Eyes

Thought we might have escaped swollen shut eyes but that is about what Shan's eyes are this morning.  She is so disappointed and a bit discouraged.  She has been so faithful about packing herself in ice in hopes that it would stop the excessive swelling.  But her poor little head went through a lot and needs to heal its way.

Slept pretty well--got about 7 hours of sleep with interruptions for meds and vitals at midnight, IV change at 2:30 and awake at 5 ready for pain meds.  That's when she realized how swollen she was.  So after all the necessary meds adn the likes, we went for an early morning walk which brings us back to now, resting in her room.

Yes, visitors are more than welcome.

Friday into Saturday update

It's about 2:30 am (Saturday morning) and they just finished putting in a new IV for Shannon.  Not counting the ones for surgery, this is the third IV.  For whatever reason, her IVs have been very painful and end up blowing the vein.  Hopefully this one will do better.  They use the IV for some of her meds.

Friday was a good day!  Shannon had lots of visitors -- thanks to all who came yesterday, it did a lot of good for her and helped to fill the long day.  She also had a couple phone calls as well and she enjoyed those.  Thanks!  She loves you all!!

Shannon has continued to swell which was to be expected.  The doctors don't expect the swelling to peak until day 3.  So by the end of today--but there is a lot of day left to go.  Her poor little face is getting bigger and rounder. Her left eye is swollen nearly shut and is getting more black and blue.  Interestingly, the area around the temples is really swollen, looking like she has 2 small eggs under her skin on both sides of her face.  One doctor said that was because of a pocket area we have there and so it is a good place for the swelling to flow into.

By the time Dr. Walker made his rounds, we had talked with the residents of neurosurgery and from plastic surgery and the plastic surgeon as well.  Each had their opinion about how long the drains should stay in her head and none of them were anxious to get them out too soon.  Also, one resident said that she couldn't wash her hair for 5 days.  She was quite dismayed.  Then the plastic surgeon came in and said, oh no, you can wash your hair after 48 hours.  She was thrilled.  He wanted to wait until Saturday to pull either of the drains and then only if the output was small enough.  And then, Dr. Walker came in--the one with the final say on everything and rightfully so with his vast knowledge, expertise and experience!  We asked about washing the hair, stating we had been told 48 hours.  He shook his head and said no way!  5 days at least.  When it came to the drains, he said, let's get them both out of there today!  The reason, he stated simply was his concern for any chance of infection.  He said, the plastic surgeons aren't the ones that have to deal with an infection if she gets one!  Although disappointed, we all have great faith, trust and respect for Dr. Walker and we will abide by his word.  The bad part...can't wash her hair for 5 days, the good part, he said to take both drains out.

Well, that was about 10 or 11 yesterday morning.  Dr. Walker stopped by 2 other times throughout the day just to see how Shannon was doing.  Who sees their surgeon 3 times a day unless there is something wrong?  The nuerosurgical team was swamped yesterday (probably because they had bumped at least one surgury that was scheduled for Wednesday to later in the week).  Evenso, Dr. Walker kept checking in.  The second time he came in, he brought Shannon a CD with pictures of her skull he had taken during surgery.  They aren't for the faint-hearted either but they are definitely educational and certainly show us the extent of the surgery.  He had saved some of the plates and screws they had taken out for Shannon.  The resident brought those in early in the day.  They are TINY!  I don't know where I got my perceptions of what they would look like but they are a lot smaller than I could have imagined.  Then when we looked at the pictures from the surgery and saw where the plates and screws were, it was really incredible.  Modern science never ceases to amaze me.  Our bodies are such miracles!  I can't even begin to express the profound respect I have for our bodies and how they repair themselves and are so resilient through so many things.  I don't think we stop and consider that very often and what a blessing our bodies really are.

The third time Dr. Walker came by, he was just looking in on her and said he was sorry that they hadn't gotten the drains out yet, but that they had been back to back in surgery.  I commented that I figured it would be one of the residents and not him to which he responded, they have been there right with me!"  So the drains didn't come up until 9:15 pm.  A resident did do it, but he wasn't freed up until then.  When they take the drains out, they say it is a very weird sensation but not necessarily painful.  Shannon begs to disagree!  They had loaded her up on her pain meds right before but still she was very uncomfortable when they pulled the drains.  I think the resident was really tired because most generally after taking the drain out, will deaden the area where the tube was inserted and put a stitch or two in the hole.  He taped one side and pressed a guaze to the other side and said that should do it but that if it continued to drain tomorrow, he would come back and stitch it!  Fortunately, they haven't seemed to drain or bleed much since.  So the drains are gone and Shannon's comment was, now there is only one thing left invading my body (referring to the IV).  It's a count down for her! :) 

It is still Shannon's greatest desire to leave the hosptial Saturday night but when I asked Dr. Walker tonight what he thought the time table would be, he said, MAYBE Sunday.  I reminded him that she had this farewell she really really wants to go to.  He kind of shook his head in his own way and said, "we will see how she is doing tomorrow."  At this point, I am sure he was thinking that we needed to see how the swelling was doing.  So we keep hoping for Saturday night but we want what is really best for Shannon and so she may not be home as soon as she would like.

The packing of the head in ice continues to be quite the ordeal and a great time consumer!  Fortunate for Shannon some of her visitors yesterday were willing to try all kinds of options to find ways to make the ice packs stay where Shannon wants them.  She is determined to keep ice on continually to decrease any possible swelling.  I am sure that it has helped immensely but the body has a right to swell and pull fluids and other resources to the injured area!  Contemplating the complexity of the surgery Shannon had, I can't see how the body could not need some swelling time! 

Pain management has been better but it is still taken some heavy duty pain killers to keep her even close to comfortable.  It really does help to have her distracted by company.  The swelling , saw just a few minutes ago when they were changing the IV, was definitely quite a bit more than she has had up to this point. 

Well, I have given much more detail than any one might want but it is still the easiest way for me to send information out to the many that are following Shannon's progress.  Thank you all once again for your faith and prayers on Shannon's behalf.  We certianly know that God is in control!


Friday, July 29, 2011

Friday morning update

We mentioned we were having some challenges keeping Shannon's pain under control.  We were successful in her getting a few hours of sleep which helped.  So this morning they are adding torodol? (ibuprofen) which she got just a few minutes ago and she is already napping!  Yeh!  She still has the 2 drains in her head and the doctors aren't in a hurry to take them out although Shannon is.  They really are uncomfortable and make it hard to be comfortable to sleep.  So when Shannon made her wishes known to the doctors, they decided that if the drains continued to decrease in the amount of fluid they are draining off, they would take one out this afternoon and one tomorrow morning.  Although the doctors say that people say it doesn't bother them at all when they take the drains out, Shannon is quite nervous about the whole ordeal.  Evenso, she wants them out as soon as possible!  (Of course, once they are out, there will not be any place for the swelling to go except into her face.)

I have to tell you how funny she looked last night.  Shannon is determined to keep the swelling down as much as possible and so she wants ice packs on her head all the time.  You may remember how she used ice packs before and no matter how we arranged them, she had to redo them.  This time, we help and sometimes they are positioned right! :)  She has SIX of the 12" long 5" wide reusable ice packs which she rearranges over and over to be sure they are covering every part of her head.  Last night, to get her set up not to be rearranging but sleeping, we added about 4 pillows that were propped up around her head to keep the ice packs from slipping off her head.  Our biggest challenge was with the one that she wanted on her forehead, coming down enough to cover the eyes but not to slide off the nose!!  She has her stuffed bear here and we used it under her chin with the bear laying on its back and its legs propped up to hold the ice bad on either side of her head.  It was hilarious!  When she pulled her covers up where she wanted them, all you could see was a little nose and a mouth inside this tunnel.  You couldn't see any other part of Shannon!!!  I know that must be hard to imagine but when we get where I can transfer some pictures over, I will post one so you all can see.  It really is funny!

So sad to say, even with all the ice, Shannon's head is swelling quite a bit.  It is nothing like when we were in the hospital before so she still looks great.  And the doctors are so pleased that her eyes are not swollen shut!!  One eye is getting a little more narrow due to swelling and turning bluish so we don't know where we might end up.  I don't think we have "peaked" yet in her swelling although we are hoping! 

Yes, Shan is still up for visitors any time.  It helps distract her from the discomfort. 
So until the next post...

Thursday, July 28, 2011

End of Day Thursday

We are certainly grateful for the good times so we have strength for the tougher times.  This afternoon Shannon's pain began to get out of control.  She had been on morphen and tylenol.  They changed that to oxycodin and tylenol and it did nothing for her.  She had just been miserable without any relief.  So they called the doctors and they added lortab that has worked for Shannon before.  So in hopes to get her to be able to sleep, they have given her a dose of morphen, topped with benedyrl for the itching from the morphen, and then they have given her the lortab.  We will add the oxy again in a couple hours.  Our hope is to get on top of the pain and stay on top of it so her body can worry only about healing!!  Some of the pain is generated from the drains in the back of her head.  They are positioned in 3 spots across the back of her head making it impossible to lay her head back without pain.  She is generally a back sleeper but we rigged up about 5 pillows so that she could lay on her stomach with her face buried in between pillows.  Then we have 5 ice packs, one that her forehead is laying on, one right above that one and then 3 covering the back of her head.  Have you ever tried to get 5 ice packs to lay around your head?  It's not easy! :)  But I do think we may have found a combination that is going to work because she is finally sleeping. The sad part is that they will have to wake her at midnight and 4 for vitals and she isn't one that goes back to sleep easily.Please all pray for her to get some good sleep!!

Shannon's face is finally beginning to swell more. Still it is nothing like it was with the last surgery, she looks really good as compared to then.  She has had one visitor and a couple of phone calls that she truly has enjoyed. 

Thank you for all your prayers. 


Room and Phone

Hi all.  So this is Pheobe, not Shannon.  I wanted to give another update from my prespective.  Shan has moved to the Neurotrauma unit or NTU.  She is on the second floor as she said but she is in the E pod and not the B.  The room number is what is important--that is 2027.  That is also the phone number to her room; 1-801-662-2027.  You are welcome to call and you are welcome to visit.

Shan was doing so well last night that I left Udell here and I went home to do some of the many projects that were needed there.  I returned about 1:30 this afternoon.  The report is that she has been doing very well but it has been hard to stay on top of the pain.  The morphen doesn't last but 45-60 minutes.  So they have changed to oxycodeine which will last 3 hours and they are also giving her tylenol which they count as every 3 hours.  One would think with all that pain med that she would always be sleeping but not so.  She napped, I guess a little this morning but hasn't since I got here.  You would think with all that med that she would be loopy or something but she's not. 

Shortly after I got here, Shan wanted to get her own clothes on so she took a sponge bath and got dressed!  Sadly, we don't get phone service here or I think she would be texting a number of people.  :) 

Shannon received a blessing before coming to the hospital.  It was a beautiful, very significant blessing.  We can see by how well Shannon is doing that the blessings pronounced on her head are being fulfilled.  This is such a different experience than our last hospital stay!  Although the surroundings are the same, our feelings aren't the same.  We continue to be so grateful for the Lord's hand in our lives. 

Hospital Room

Hey guys! So, this is me once again, I am finally in the neurotrauma unit! (a.k.a. a room where you can visit me) I am in room 2027. So Primary Children's Hospital in SLC and in room 2027. And for those of you who don't know (such as Haley Clark, no offense!), that means I'm on the second floor. Then, I am on the D pod of the neurotrama unit. Okay, then, since we all get terrible, terrible service here, I'm giving you the hospital room number. Which means you can call, but you can't text... so it is 8016622027! Okay, once again I love you all! And remember we are all praying for me to pretty, pretty, please be out of here by Saturday night!

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

re: in ICU

Update: Well, we are in the ICU. Shannon looks great, so much better than I had imagined! I guess I expected her to look like she did when they did the first bone flap. But she looks good. The swelling hasn't really started much yet but it is still hard to tell how things are going to look. She has been very awake and talking to us. Her biggest complaint has been her sore dry throat (from the breathing tube) and her incision. She has her famous ice pack positioning going on and has been drinking water and eating ice chips constantly. About 20 minutes ago, they gave her more pain meds and now she is groggy and in and out of sleep. We hope she will finally settle and really sleep.

They did feel like they needed to put 2 drains in and they have been draining well. I haven't been able to tell real well yet how the shaved part of the head looks because it is pretty matted and covered with ice packs (via Shannon). The ICU doc was just in and increased the amount of moraphin to more of the appropriate size for an 18 year old. That should give her a little more comfort. But, the trooper that she is, she hasn't complained much at all. Interestingly, she even has a had time quantifying her pain levels. That will be interesting to Cindy.

If there are any developments different than what we have said, we will email again but most likely this is the last tonight. When we get moved to a permanent room tomorrow, we will let you all know. If you have questions, email is the best way to reach us. The phone does not work in all places here at the hospital.

We truly feel that the Lord has heard our prayers and accepted our fast.  I love that calm peace that comes when we know God is in control.  We have had the best of doctors, nurses and care.  We love the people at Primary Children's hospital.  We saw some of the nurses from the PICU that became friends when we were here 14 months ago.  Together, we reminisced on the miracles that have happened so that our sweet Shannon is not only here today but doing so very well!  She is such a delight in our lives.  We have much to be grateful for.


re: update on surgery

It's about 6 o'clock and here's the lastest update.  Dr. Walker just came out to talk to us. He said that she was fine but it was more complicated that they had anticipated. The bone was so rough and there were multiple places that needed more than a little patching, so they decided to take the entire bone flap out and smooth the bone. Then they took 3 bone pieces out of the back of her skull to use for grafting. They used them to fill in the holes, on the top of her head, the side above her ear, and on top of the forehead.

They had to cut one defective spot of the bone out completely and they put a new piece of bone in there. Dr. Suddiki had to do extra work with the bone to fill in the gap in her forehead, but it is all back in place now. They are beginning to pull the skin back together and stitch her up. That will still take an hour or so.

They are going to send her to ICU because it has taken so long. Amazingly, she has not needed a blood transfusion. Right now, her blood count was down to 29 and Dr. Walker is ok with it getting down to 20 before giving her more blood.

Dr Walker feels that it has all gone well.

While I messed with the internet, Dr. Suddeki stopped by and basically said the same things. He said that there would still be some deformity but it is much much better than before but the visble parts will look good. So we will let you know when we are set up back in ICU.

re: Surgery update

Hi All;

This is Shannon's Mom.  I am going to use the blog and will try the "real Shannon" facebook if I can get in to it to update those that check that most. 
Shannon had to be here at the hospital at 10 am and the surgery was scheduled for 11:30.  As typical for hospitals, they were a bit behind schedule.  She actually went in to surgery at 12:10 pm.  The surgery is scheduled for 6 hours!  We just got an update a few minutes ago to tell us that all was going well.  They have her opened up and are finally ready to begin the real work. 
We did ask the doctor to clarify how long he thought she would be in the hospital.  He said that to think 3 days would be overly optimistic but if all went well 5 days would be feasible.  He said she had to be feeling well enough to be eating on her own and for her digestive system to be working.  The swelling will keep her from wanting to eat.  The day after surgery could be pretty miserable.  But I will try to keep you posted here to know when she is really up to visitors.  I know she wants to see lots of folks! :)

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Surgery Again

Alright folks, some of you may already know, but I figured this is a monumental event I need to document. So, I get to go in for surgery again this wednesday (july 27th). This is a "reconstructive surgery" to make my head look all pretty again - on the inside and the out. So, what they are doing. They are basically opening up my head again, but don't worry, I don't need to get shaved bald again, otherwise I wouldn't let them do it. They just need to shave about 1-2 inches around my original scar from the accident. Then, they get to peel open my head like a banana. Then, they take a drill, put it in reverse mode, and take out all 64 of the screws that are currently in my head. Which, in turn, then takes out the 16 plates I have in my head as well. Next, they file down the random bone spurts which have formed in my head. Finally, the last step they get to do is the scariest. This is where they carve out part of my thick skull from the area where they did NOT take it out of my head before. The reason for this, is so that they can put it in places on my head where the bone has severely dissolved, such as my forehead. See, the good thing about this, the thing I just have to trust the professionals about, is that this part of my skull won't dissolve. It dissolved before, because it was in a freezer for 4 1/2 weeks which caused some of the blood vessels and such to die. Then, the bone couldn't get the nutrients it needed, so it dissolved. But, with this, they say because its brand new and super fresh, it won't have the same effect.
Finally, visitors are strongly encouraged! Especially since 6 days after the surgery takes place, is my birthday. I will stay in the hospital from anywhere between 3-7 days. So, there is a slight possibility that I will be in the hospital for my 18th birthday. That's the worst part about it, is that it's my 18th. But anyway, so, visitors = good, good, good! And I will be up at Primary's but I don't know what room I will be in until I get there. When that happens, I will - or at least I should - post just a 2 line blurb about what hospital room I'm staying in.
Thanks everybody! I love you all!

Saturday, July 9, 2011

rollerblading once again

So I've wanted to try out rollerblading again like all week. but this week has been so crazy hectic! But yesterday I finally got the opportunity to go out and do it again! I was super super surprised at how well I did. I went with my mom and I was circling around her, or like going far beyond her then coming back to be with her again. Dudes, i don't know man, it was just so great! :)