STEAMBOAT SPRINGS — Clark resident Brett Shaw found himself sitting next to his 6-year-old daughter’s bed at the Pediatric Intensive Care Unit at Children’s Hospital in Aurora on Wednesday night, leaning on his faith in God and asking for the prayers to help his daughter, once again.
“When all this started happening, I reached out to whatever avenue I could to try to reach people,” Shaw said. “We requested prayers on Facebook, CaringBridge, and I started calling people in my network of friends and family. We did the best that we could to try to get the word out there that we needed prayers for a specific point of time and for a very specific thing. It was very comforting.”
His daughter Charlee, who suffered life-threatening injuries in a Christmas Eve crash on Interstate 70 that killed her mother and his wife Sancy, was once again fighting for her life. Brett had taken Charlee to the hospital Tuesday, a day before a scheduled surgery Wednesday morning to place a skull flap over a part of Charlee’s skull that had to be removed to relieve pressure after the accident.
“We had five appointments on Tuesday,” Brett said. “They looked at her eyes, and they looked at her leg, and those were both good. She has been cleared to do any type of activity she wants as far as her leg is concerned. Her head is another story.”
Brett said the surgery on Wednesday went well.
“As she was coming out of anesthesia, she was able to talk, and we played a little bit of thumb war with her right hand,” Brett said. “The trauma surgeon came in to see how she was doing and started to talk to her and try to get her to be responsive. She wasn’t very responsive other than crying, and her right leg and right arm were not working at all.”
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The surgeon called for an emergency MRI, and they discovered Charlee had bleeding on her brain and a blood clot. Less than 20 minutes after the MRI, Charlee was back in surgery.
“They had to completely undo everything that they did in the morning,” Brett said. “They had to open up the access again, take the skull flap back off, find the clot, find the bleeding and fix it. Then, they put the cap back on and stitched her back up again.”
After the second surgery, which lasted about 2 1/2 hours, Brett found himself back in the PICU for another sleepless night.
“You know that the doctors are working to relieve the pressure on the brain that is causing her paralysis on her right side,” Brett said. “You also know any time you have a surgery like this there is the potential for catastrophic failure, so that was a very real concern that night.”
On Thursday afternoon, Charlee was still in the PICU. She has already met with occupational, speech and physical therapists, who are currently evaluating her, and doctors will wait and see if there are any long-term effects.
“With this surgery of replacing the skull flap, she would have been in the hospital for five days for monitoring,” Brett said. “So, we are in a sense still on that schedule, but this has added an additional element to it, and it’s probably going to be a little bit longer.”
The 6-year-old spent nearly two months in the hospital recovering from a long list of injuries suffered in the accident before returning home Feb. 20 to streets lined with large crowds of people holding signs and cheering to show their support for the family, which also includes Charlee’s three brothers Jaxon, 9; Mason, 11; and Wyatt, 13.
“We are hopeful. We should be moving back up to the sixth floor today,” Brett said Thursday. “That’s an indication that medically she is stable … that’s what the goal is today.”
To reach John F. Russell, call 970-871-4209, email jrussell@SteamboatPilot.com or follow him on Twitter @Framp1966.