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Also, if you are a reader who must have a tidy document you may have to wait until Sam recovers for the mistake proof version of this. Samantha is our family's grammar/spellchecker; she is much more reliable than microsoft. And if this blog doesn't make any sense right now, wait and try again at 3:00 in the morning, it will sound much better then.

Wednesday November 3, 2010
Samantha is now home! She is delighted. She sat down at the piano and was still able to play, not quite as speedily as before, (which might be a good thing) but she was able to do quite well under the circumstances. She will continue to do therapy in Bear Lake twice a week and 3 days a week in Logan. Her eyes still have a ways to go but all in all in all she is in marvelous condition.

This has been quite a trip for everyone. Thank you all so very much for your prayers and concern. Sam would not have done so amazingly well without all of your faith. We are grateful to all of you and especially our Father in Heaven for allowing this miracle to take place. With that, we will put this blog to rest. Have a fabulous day!

Tuesday November 2, 2010
Guess what! It's the news we've all been waiting for. Tomorrow Samantha gets to go home. She will still be doing therapy, but she can do it as an out-patient. She has a little trouble with balancing on one foot so she needs more work with that before she can walk on stairs and things of the like without someone there in case she falls. Her vision is still double, but keeps improving, and with time and eye exercises it will eventually correct completely. She probably will not go back to school until next semester. She has been laughing and joking today and doing lots of therapy. She is very excited to be out of here. She said, "Going home rocks." It is amazing how much of her experience here at the hospital she remembers. She is a bit fuzzy on the timing of events, but she is quite clear on many details. She still knows the significance of SOH CAH TOA (from trigonometry) so perhaps school will be just as easy for her as usual.

Monday November 1, 2010
Samantha was back to work again today. They did a lot of left hand coordination practice that involved a board with a bunch of different shapes. This was one of her more difficult tasks, but she was able to do it and didn't get discouraged. Tomorrow, the docotors and therapists will have a meeting and decided what goals she needs to meet to be able to leave and go home.

Sunday October 31, 2010
Today was a slow day, in the rehab department since they do not do therapy on Sundays. Sam took several long walks with her parents and went outside for the first time since the accident. She expressed a sense of kinship with Boo Radley (from to Kill a Mockingbird). She said her vision is a little better today. I asked if she would like to say anything to everybody and she said, “Hi and thanks for the prayers”. If you would like to send a letter to Sam, the address is below:
Eastern Idaho Regional Medical Center
Samantha Nield
Room 619
3100 Channing Way
Idaho Falls, ID 83404

Saturday October 30, 2010
9:30 p.m.
Samantha has had family over all day. For therapy she walked all around the whole hospital. She had to walk around bowling pins, she played catch and kick with a ball. She had to do some hand exercises that involves putting pegs in holes in a criss cross pattern. She had some memory practice where she was shown a busy picture. She was allowed to look at it for as long as she liked, then the therapist would take it away and ask questions about it. She did really well; the therapist said she didn't bring enough challenging material. She played tennis on the wii to work on coordination with her left hand and she had eye exercises on the computer. She is still having double vision so we are praying specifically for that to improve. She had a little Halloween party; they watched "Hocus Pocus" and ate ice cream. She looks like life is starting to be more enjoyable now. It is so great to see her smiling, laughing and talking.

Friday October 29, 2010
10:30 p.m.
Sam is down to only one piece of hardware left, her central line. There are some antibiotics that will run for a little longer, then that will be the next and last item on the chopping block. She was doing so well that the doctor decided to take her feeding tube out today and the small button that had been left in her throat started to come out on its own. It was removed, and the hole covered with a bandaid because it was already healing up. She is now in the rehab unit and they are working her or perhaps it is the other way around, but however it is, she is doing exceptionally well. She has been talking and laughing with visitors. Tonight she is going over a list of questions that the therapist wants her to be asked. There are all kinds of simple yes or no questions, for example, “do you use a leash to walk a cat?” She knew the correct answer but had a good time pondering on the potential consequences of trying it. She didn’t have any trouble with the questions and found several occasions to offer a sarcastic answer. She looks so good and is really starting to sound and act like her old self. We have been asking her lots of memory questions; we haven’t had any luck stumping Sam, unfortunately the same can’t be said for the rest of us.

Thursday October 28, 2010
10:00 p.m.
What a fabulous day. The prayers of last night were answered even sooner than we hoped for. The trach was taken out this morning. We are so happy and grateful. The doctor left in a small button (that's what we've heard it called anyway) just in case it is needed, but she is breathing normally through her nose and mouth now and . . . wait for it . . . she is talking! Her voice is soft and her words are just a little drawn out, but she has been communicating beautifully. One of the doctors came in and asked her what grade she was in, and she said, "11th I think," she probably feels like she's been there so long she wondered if she really was still in 11th grade. She got all of the questions he asked her correct. She also took numerous walks today. We went up to visit and accompanied her on one of her walks. When we stopped for a minute, Sydney (Sam's niece) was trying to look out the window and the rest of us weren't paying that much attention until Sam reached down and started to pick her up to look out the window. She can really walk fast; her balance is a little tipsy, but she has always been able to stop herself from falling. She watched part of Kung Fu Panda today and laughed quite a lot. Another bit of good news, the counting of calories has begun; if she eats enough today and tomorrow, Saturday the feeding tube will be removed. She is positive most of the time, but sometimes she gets a little down and homesick. Everyone's letters and visits have really been appreciated. She enjoys having friends and family with her. Sam received a package with some crazy red and white striped socks and a fuzzy blue hat. She wore them on one of her walks today and seemed to quite enjoy it. She also put her socks on by herself.

Wednesday October 27, 2010
9:00 p.m.
Sam is getting better at swallowing every day, but her throat is still very sore. Today she was given a walker to help with her balance and she practically ran down the hall with it. Mom and Aunt Rozanna helped Sam attempt to escape (her idea), but they only made it to the second floor. Her writing looks much better now. She wrote and asked where Rozanna's car was parked (we aren't sure what she's planning with that information). She also wrote, "my doctor is evil." Sam is always calling this or that evil, it's one of her pet phrases. The occupational therapist confirmed that she is seeing double and is having her do some exercises to help her eyes focus together. We are praying as a family for her throat to heal so that she can get the trach removed.

Tuesday October 26, 2010
9:00 p.m.
Sam walked a 6 hall marathon today. She started getting a tray sent to her room; all the food was pureed, however, which doesn't seem to impress her very much. She has taken interest in the pudding and ice cream though (it kind of helps that puree IS their natural state). Her good sense of humor has been shining through even when she is not feeling great. Tonight when Mom and aunt Rozanna asked her if there was something that she would like to eat, she spelled out, "killed cake" . . . ok that probably deserves some explanation lest you think her mind is not in such great shape as we have been alluding, here goes:

      Teresa has this amazing bon bon recipe which requires the sacrifice of a perfectly good cake.
    The cook crumbles and mashes the cake with her hands before all of the dipping and rolling in delightful fatting ingredients begins.
   Teresa once tried this with a red velvet cake. She came out of the kitchen, her hands soaked in red and eyes suspiciously shifting downward.
    When we inquired what she had been doing, she replied, "I just murdered a cake."
    It has been one of those standing family jokes ever since.

Her balance gets a little better every day. Today when she started to lose her balance she was able to cross her other foot in front and stop herself from falling. She can move her mouth really well now. She just can't get sound to come out with the trach in. Hopefully that will be out soon, but it is quite a procedure to wean someone off of it. We were told that a person needs to be retrained to breathe through their nose and mouth again, so it, like everything else, is a process.

Monday October 25, 2010
5:00 p.m.
Sam passed the applesauce test. This helps determine if she is ready to swallow. She is now allowed to have honey thick liquids and is much closer to having the feeding tube removed. She probably would rather have the apple pie test but she forced herself to eat the apple sauce anyway. She was able to say the word "Mom" during speech therapy. She is getting out of bed with help regularly. The neuro surgeon said that within two months it will be difficult to imagine her at the level she is now, she will improve that much.

Sunday October 24, 2010
5:00 p.m.
Sammy walked farther today than ever before. She walked down to the ICU waiting room which surprisingly enough is nowhere near the ICU; we have received great exercise benefits traveling between there and her room. She has been using the sign language alphabet to communicate which works great for her and Teresa, but the rest of our signing ability is somewhat lacking. So for the less educated, she points letters out on an alphabet board to spell what she would like to say. Last night she spelled out the name of her orthodontist, and appointment tomorrow. She did have a dentist appointment scheduled for the day after her accident. This leads us to believe her memories right now aren't really sticking. We have been told that most head injury patients don't remember anything from after the accident up until they are in rehab. That's probably good as I'm sure there are plenty of things she would prefer to forget. Today she was moved out of ICU onto the medical floor, then, later this week will move to the rehab floor. She is seeing an eye doctor today because her right eye is giving her problems. She keeps closing it and using her left eye to focus. Head injury patients have been known to experience problems with double vision, but we don't know if that is the problem for sure yet.

Saturday October 23, 2010
4:00 p.m.
Sam increased her walking distance again today. She has been laughing and smiling with Phil and Teresa. We told her about the night she performed Kung Fu Panda on the nurses; she really thought that was funny. The speech therapist did a test where she swallowed some special dye. It is part of the test that is done to determine if she can protect her air way. She was able to complete 1/2 of the amount and she needs about 2/3. She is almost there. She has been able to stay awake for several hours at a time now, but she still has some extremely sleepy times and that poses a risk to her airway; this is why extreme caution is being taken to make sure she is ready before she is allowed to eat or have the trach removed.

Friday October 22, 2010
8:00 p.m.
Today has been a fantastic day. It began around 10:00 a.m. when she walked the length of the ICU hall. People were there to steady her, but she was really doing it on her own. She no longer needs the neck collar (this was on because she had some muscle strains in her neck). During speech therapy, she tried to talk, but pointed at her throat a lot, it seemed to hurt her to talk. The speech therapist thinks that the talking difficulty is more related to the condition of her vocal cords than the brain injury. A little later in the day, she was bound and determined to get out of bed on her own and seemed to be going a little stir crazy. We get the impression that Sam doesn't think the therapists are pushing her hard enough. She has always been one to really push herself. Finally our parents were able to talk her into resting then a little later physical therapy came back again and took her on a much longer walk this time. She walked out of the ICU and took the route to the back door. At about 5:00 tonight, I called her on the phone. My dad tried to hold the phone up to her ear, but she took it out of his hand and put it up to her own ear. The nurses came to slide her up in the middle of our call and when they were done she stuck her hand out for the phone again. She listened and even tried to laugh a little, but with the trach in, that makes her cough. There has been talk of moving her out of the ICU early next week. That will be nice because the rest of the hospital has much less strict visitor guidelines, understandably so. Now the best for last: Around 7:00 tonight, she seemed quite worried and upset, so my parents asked her if she wanted to write something. She was able to write! The letters were a little difficult to decipher, so my parents handed her a chart with letters on it and she was able to spell out the words my parents couldn't read for them, she said, "This is not cool, couldn't I have waited for Christmas Break." What a relief to everyone, that Sam is doing well enough to be worried about her school work. We have so much to be grateful for.

Thursday October 21, 2010
9:00 p.m.
A smaller trach tube has been inserted. We are really hoping that she will be able to talk tomorrow. Today during her therapy, she was able to snap her fingers, do the "live long and prosper sign" high five and fist bump. It turns out that Teresa quoted one of Sam's favorite movie lines to her over the phone and that's what she smiled about earlier.
In the past Sam and I have been known to engage in evil laughing contests (Glen Close style), well on the phone tonight I did some evil laughing for her and she gave Sydney and I the most beautiful smile we saw via web cam; it lasted about 2 minutes, she looked as though she might be about to break into evil laughing of her own. I told her that all this throat business might prove to enhance her evil laughing abilities; she smiled a little wider at that. Even though she hasn’t been able to talk yet these experiences lead us to believe that she is exceptionally aware and is still the same old whitty Sam.

12:00 p.m
Sam was able to take several steps again this morning and move from side to side. She also gave a brief smile at something Teresa said to her on the phone. Right now if she tries to talk, not much sound would be able to come out. They are going to put in a smaller trach and see if that helps her be able to speak, then, if she is still unable to talk they will attach a speaking valve and try again. Hopefully that trach will not need to stay in too much longer. They might have to use a camera to make sure her throat has healed up from being intebated before removing it. She is working very hard.

Wednesday October 20, 2010
4:00 P.M.
Sam has worked really hard today. This morning she took two steps forward and backward. She still has weakness on her left side and seemed hesitant to put her weight on that foot but was able to. She is using hand signals to answer questions. She indicated that she would like to talk, but is having trouble getting her mouth to work, but on that note, when the speech therapist came today, she was able to open her mouth and swallow twice. It was very difficult for her, but she was able to do it. She was also able to point to correct pictures on a chart such as a snowflake a car etc. She seems to be driving herself. She kept wanting to get out of bed, but dad finally convinced her to rest for a while.

Tuesday October 19, 2010
10:00 P.M.
Today around 3:00 Sam was able to stay in a sitting position on her own power. The physical therapist only had to steady her a little bit. Yesterday when he tried to get her to do this, she had no balance at all and wasn't awake enough to do much. But today, she even stood up with his help, then, when he said, "let’s try again," she didn't bother to wait for him; she put her hands right down on the bed and was doing it all on her own before he jumped in to steady her. She is starting to get her balance back!! Her eyes were open this whole time and she looked determined to do whatever he asked, and she did. When her therapy was over for the day, her therapist asked if she was tired and she nodded - she looked really tired and has slept most of the time since then except for the few minutes she was awake enough to wave good bye to our parents when they had to leave at 6:30. Our day of waiting for great things to happen has ended well. We are all anxious to see when she will be able to talk, but the progress she made today is thrilling. Thanks again so much for everyone’s caring and concern. We love you all.

2:00 p.m.
Samantha has done a lot of sleeping the last day and a half, but this morning she did several note worhty things. This is what mom wrote on instant messanger:
The speech theripist came in and tried to get Sam to open her mouth so he could put in a small ice chip. She wouldn't open her mouth, but before he left, she put her hand out to shake hands, smiled at him briefly, but what a beautiful smile, gave him the thumbs up and thumbs down sign,bumped knuckles, gave the high five and pointed at both your Dad and I when instructed.

Monday October 18, 2010
6:30 p.m. She has been able to do some work on the left side for the physical therapist. One of the doctors today told mom and dad that they wouldn't expect her to be responding any more than she is. She is right on track. They also said that she will probably start doing quite a bit more this week. She is no longer considered in a coma. There is a name for the state she is considered to be in right now, which unfortunately no one can remember. Oh yes it's Idaho, just kidding, it is long periods of sleep with short wakeful times. She sat in the chair for an hour with her head being supported. She still hasn't been able to get her balance yet, but that is normal as far as the progression with this type of injury goes. She will get that back with time.

1:00 p.m.
She was able to stick out her tongue when the doctor requested. They have asked her to do this for the last 2 days and this is the first time she has been able to. She is also able to nod her head in response to questions. She sleeps most of the time, but seems to have improved a little more after each period of rest. The progress for this type of injury is like a stair step function. She does a bunch of things, then plateaus for a while then a bunch more and so on. This is the type of progress we have been told to expect. When she no longer needs the ICU they are going to get her into an acute rehab facility. The closest choices are Pocatello or Ogden so far as we know.

Sunday October 17, 2010
10:30 p.m.
Today was a wonderful day. Sam opened her eyes many times and has been able to keep them open for long periods. She seems to focus every time her eyes are open. It is still hard for her to open them, but she is doing it more and more. We try to explain to her what happened when she is awake like this incase she can't remember from one episode of wakefulness to the next. Most times she seems quite calm, but occasionally she will get distressed – that’s where it gets a little tricky, until she can talk or communicate a little more we don’t know if she is in pain or unsure what has happened or just what. When that happens she is given a little pain medication; it seems to help. This afternoon while talking to her, I noticed she did the one eyebrow lift that she always does, and her facial expressions are starting to be more obvious. We noticed she keeps crossing her ankles, the neurosurgeon called it assuming positions of comfort – since it was important enough to be assigned a special name we figure it must be another milestone. Around 4:00 today the nurses got her up into a patient chair, it holds her head up for her because she can’t do that yet. During her time in this chair, she kept her eyes open for half an hour and was able to focus on people. Dad said, “Sam do you know who I am,” she gave a small nod and also squeezed his hand. When mom and dad had to leave the room because the ICU closes for 2 hours in the morning and 2 hours at night (something about the privacy act and not wanting families to hear all the juicy gossip about the patient next door during shift change discussions) they explained why they needed to leave, and she waved. Her left hand still has some catching up to do, but she is getting much faster at moving it when requested to do so. One step at a time, she is getting better. The doctors said that she is very close to being medical stable. Once that happens, she will be able to leave the ICU. We aren’t sure where exactly she will go to, probably another floor in the same hospital for a while. As time goes on and they can see how much rehabilitation she needs, they will decide if there are any hospitals closer to home that could meet her needs, but who knows, maybe she will amaze everyone and walk out headed for home.

Saturday October 16, 2010
10:20 p.m.
If that last entry seemed to be a few steps up the quality ladder it's because Teresa wrote it (she is a journalism major afterall). Anyway, back to the good stuff. Sam was very tired after her grand opening but still managed to do a few things for Michael. She pretended to shoot a gun and showed the "live long and prosper" sign upon request. Oh brother, she probably feels like she's in a dog and pony show. Infact earlier today Michael had asked her to wiggle her toes, and she did. Then as an after thought he asked her to wiggle her toes if it was annoying when people kept asking her to do things and she waved her foot up and down, with emphasis. Her personality seems to be finding subtle ways to come through. It may have just been coincidenc, but when one of the doctors was visiting with us at the door he said that he didn't think she was capable of opening her eyes all the way quite yet. It was right after that she opened them wider and longer than she ever had before (about 3/4 of the way open). She has always hated being told she can't do something. Today she also was taking a great interest in her central line. She had her fingers curled around it and was beginning to tug before Jess and I engaged her hand in a new adventure. Her nurse this evening is a fastidious little worker and does not allow any sort of visiting with her at night. She watches like a hawk, and that's just the way we like it! Sam will be not be extracting any equipment tonight.

5:15 p.m.
Sam has slept quite a lot today. She is still following commands, and her eyes seem to be gaining in focus each time she opens them. The battle to keep her in her bed continues as she consistently seems to be inching her legs off the bed. Sammy's eyes are almost lightly closed and they twitch frequently while she is being spoken too, as if she is willing them to open. Also, right now, her legs are crossed like she is just chillin' out. Earlier, Mike asked Sam to wiggle her toes and she moved just a little bit. A moment later, he asked her to wiggle her toes if she thought it was annoying when people yelled at her. Sam moved her whole foot back and forth. Her color looks really good and her face looks like she is just lightly sleeping.
(about 15 minutes of non-typing)
Okay, exciting news, Lacey, Jessica, Teresa and Alsiha (Sam's neice) all just spent the past ten minutes talking to Sammy while she held up two fingers very quickly on command for the neuroseurgeon and then focused, yes, focused, her eyes on his face. Then she held her eyes open, about half way, and looked at the four of us for about 10 seconds, then she would close them for about 5 seconds and open them again. This lasted about 5 minutes before she seemed to get tired. She is resting peacefully once again and we are all a bit excited at the progess she has made, even since last night.

Friday October 15, 2010
10:45 p.m.
Sam has been very tired for most of the day. We watched her sleep then when she started moving we would talk to her and ask her to open her eyes. We could see her trying to open her eyes, but she couldn't quite get them open. She started wrinkling her eyebrows as if she was trying to concentrate a couple of times. She still can follow commands when she is in a more wakeful state. Most of the day not much happened, but tonight at 8:30 she was able to open her eyes for about 10 seconds when Teresa got there to visit, Sam must have been waiting for her. After she opened them for 10 seconds, they closed and she opened them again for another 5 seconds. This is the longest she has been able to open them yet. It was worth sitting in there watching her for 3 days just for that moment. We wanted to keep encouraging her, however, the nurse said we should not give her anymore stimulation tonight because she is not going to be hooked up to the ventilator and we want to let her save her energy for breathing which, by the way, she has done perfectly all day. It is comforting to know she is being so closely watched - even when it means telling us we need to let her relax. The ventilator was put on a spontaneous status last night(it gave her some help breathing in case she needed it), but she is on her own now except for the supplemental oxygen she is getting. She stays at about 88 percent oxygenation without supplemental oxygen, (above 90 is considered good), but the more oxygen the better for the healing process.

2:00 p.m.
It has been rather slow going today. The sedation has been turned down and she is doing well as far as breathing is concerned, she is only receiving oxygen through a mask on the trach. She is on a bit of a roller coaster, for a few minutes she will be very responsive, then she will get tired and not respond much - we are told this is par for the course. The neurosurgeon told us that the MRI showed a large bruise in the motor control area of her brain which is affecting her ability to move her left side. She is still able to move her left side, but it is much slower to respond and she doesn't like to do it. He also said that he has seen many people with injuries similar to Sam's sleep for a long time, then wake up and begin to talk. We pray that will be the case here (minus the long time part).

Thursday October 14, 2010
11:00 p.m.
I wrote earlier that Sam wont need much sedation now. At the time I didn't realize they planned to keep her mildly sedated (enough to keep her comfortable) for most of the day and will for the night as well to help ease her into using the trach. She most likely wont need much sedation tomorrow. She had a really hard day yesterday and was clearly exhausted today. All of her vital signs have been great, and she doesn't need the trach to breath; it is there to be on the safe side. It is good that she is resting now. She still has responded to us, but there's nothing very dramatic to report today. She squeezed hands lightly when requested to and when her eyes were held open was able to look where directed to for a few seconds. The trach tube has not set her back neurologically, her brain continues to heal, it is a side issue that is manageable. When her vocal cords have healed from being so swollen and she is conscious enough to follow commands a little more consistently the trach can come out.

3:30 p.m.
Sam has the trach tube in and is waiting for the sedation to wear off. She was giving a paralytic (I have no idea how to spell that) so she wouldn't move while it was put in, but she is already beginning to move. She has some stretched ligaments in her neck so she still needs to keep her neck brace on. Once she is awake enough to tell them where her neck hurts they might be able to leave that off. She wont be need much sedation now, unless she tries to rip out her ng tube (used to feed her). Hopefully now she will be able to focus on waking up without the constant need to be sedated. We will write more later tonight after we have spent some time with her. Think hopeful positive thoughts!!

11:45
Sam has been resting comfortably since last night. At 2:00 today the doctors will put in the small trach tube. Everyone feels that she will do much better without the tube in her throat. That thing has been her evil nemesis from the beginning - now she can cast it into the the volcano from whence it was forged. She has been sedated and will be until after the procedure has been done. They can take care of it right here at her bed side. We were just saying nice things about her and she tried to sit up. There will be more to tell when the sedation has been turned down. Thanks again for everyone's concern.

Wednesday October 13, 2010 9:15 p.m.
The doctors have decided to re-intebate because she has had to work so hard to breathe with her throat swollen. She has been able to protect her airway fine so far, but they were afraid that she might have problems in the night and didn't want it to become an emergency situation. She is quite sedated, however, even in this state, she was able to wiggle her thumb and index finger when Michael requested it. Her brain healing has not been slowed down. The breathing situation is a side issue due to the equipment that causes problems but is necessary. They have to make absolutely sure that she has enough oxygen at all times. The new plan is: tomorrow morning or early afternoon, the doctors will insert a plastic tube via a small opening in her neck that she will breathe through. She still will be breathing on her own, this just by-passes her throat. This way her vocal cords will be able to heal. Dr Miller who we visited with tonight said that they should be able to heal fine within a week and when the tube comes out of her throat it will heal up on its own and wont even require stitches. We think this will be a much nicer situation for her. The tube in her throat has really bothered her and has caused much of the need for sedation.
On a happier note, she was able to hold up 2 fingers upon the doctors request earlier today. She also won the battle of the nose bridge. I'm not sure what it was called exactly but the nurses tried to put a device in her nose that would prevent her from being able to pull out her feeding tube. When I came into the room she was pouring sweat and had her hands and feet in Kung Fu Panda mode, and the nurses looked a rather frazzled. They had desperatly tried to hold Sam down and get the evil device in her nose. She didn't want it, and it didn't happen, no way, no how. Sam has always been able to accomplish what she puts her mind to, even in restraints.

2:30 p.m. The tube has been taken out of her throat. Now she is being watched closely to make sure they don't have to re-intebate. Her throat is very swollen because the other night she pulled the air tube out herself and really fought as they put it back in (she is very strong). The back of her throat got quite scraped up. She also has a lot of secretions that are making her have to work hard to breathe, but she is doing it. As long as she stays calm her respirations stay under 30 per minute. Her oxygen levels have stayed in the 95-100 range. Now the plan is to help her stay calm while the swelling in her throat goes down. We are praying that it wont be necessesary to re-intebate.

She has been trying to wake up. She put out her hand the way one does when they need help up. I gave her my hand; she tried to pull herself up. Since her hand was tied she pulled me down - this incident has not weakened her arm muscles. When her throat swelling goes down we can encourage her wakeful efforts, but for now we need to let her rest.

12:oo p.m.
Last night Sam opened her eyes for the second time at about 11:00 p.m. Phil noticed her eyes beginning to open so he said "Sam look at me," and she held them open for a few seconds. When Phil had to go home she tried to raise her hands to hug him (they were a little tied up at the time). When I arrived last night Sam tried to sit up when I talked to her. She also tried to sit up earlier in the day when mom put her cousin Mary's phone call up to her ear.

Also yesterday, mom played a tape for her that the Bennington Ward young women put together. At one point it looked like she was tapping her foot to the music. She moved around a lot during this time and her heart rate really jumped.

This morning she has opened her eyes three times and is moving around quite a bit. Her hands are still tied because we learned today that yesterday she helped the doctor in the process of removing the probe in her head and also pulled out a tube. Mom held the phone up to her ear and said, "Sam do you have something to say to Teresa," she took her hand out from under the blanket and searched until she found mom's hand, then squeezed it.

They are planing to excabate her today (remove the breathing tube). she has been doing all of the breathing on her own and the doctor feels she is ready, there are just a few numbers they are going to check to make sure.

This morning we played one of her favorite songs from the Newsies soundtrack, "Sieze the Day." I asked her to squeeze my hand if she could hear it, and she did then released. She had not squeezed my hand prior to that point during our visit so it seems that it was in response to the question rather than just a reflex.

Thank you for your patience in waiting for today's update. It took some time to get internet access. Thank you to everyone for your faith, prayers, kind acts of service, and visits.


Tuesday October 12, 2010
3:00 p.m.
Samantha's MRI confirmed that she had shearing as the doctor originally suspected. This is why it is taking her so long to wake up. The doctor said that some of his patients with this injury have recovered really quickly and others have taken a long time, but most often the patients do fully recover. We won't know how much recovering she will need to do until she is awake. I guess the point is: sooner or later she will recover, hopefully sooner rather than later but later is better than never. She is progressing quickly (quick in the brain world is apparently a lot different than quick in the rest of the world)and that, we were told is a very good sign.

12:30 p.m.
Her numbers have been stable enough that the bolt in Samantha's head used to monitor pressure has been removed (yes it is actually just like a bolt). Now she is headed out of the room for an MRI which will give a better look at what her injury is. She is moving more today and trying to get her hands to her mouth, which is quite a difficult task since they are tied to the bed to prevent her from pulling out tubes and wires. Mom noticed that she was moving her hand back and forth then up and down; looking as if she was trying to figure out how she could get it free - always the problem solver.

8:30 a.m.
Sammy's pressure is still staying under 20 as we come to the last hours of day 5. The 5th day will end around 5:00 tonight. She continues to move and was quiet restless last night. She is beginning to grab at the tubes. She knows they are there and doesn't want them there. We will watch to see if she can open her eyes again today. We have not given Sam a lot of interaction with the attempt to wake her up during these days because of the swelling risk. After today, as long as all is well they will continue to turn down the sedation. Tomorrow we may be able to give her a little more interaction to help that process along. Even when she is perfectly healthy she is not very easy to wake up; we are definitely on her time frame. Thank you everyone for all of your prayers. Keep up the good work!

Monday October 11, 2010
At 5:50 p.m tonight she opened her eyes for the first time. She was stretching a lot and mom noticed that her eyes were a little bit open. Dad said, "Sam, can you open your eyes", and she opened them all the way for a few seconds." She still looked a little dazed, but this was the next big step.

2:30 p.m Mom had classical music playing in the background. She asked Sam if she wanted her to keep the music on and she squeezed mom's hand with a really strong grip. The strongest she has done yet. Yahoo!!

9:00 a.m. Her pressure has spiked a little as they expected but is still under 20. She has been given more sedation to compensate for this. She responded again for the physical therapist and is reacting correctly when they shine the light in her eyes (get that thing out of my face type response). The next big step is to get her to open her eyes on her own.

The nursing staff are not in a hurry to get her eyes to open until we have gotten through day 5. That is when the swelling should have peaked and hopefully begin to decrease.



Sunday October 10, 2010
Today is day three - we have been warned that days 3 - 5 are usually when the swelling peeks. Her pressure has done really well though. They are still using quite a bit of sedation but it is less than she started with and today she has done a lot of responding. One physical therapist asked her to wiggle her toes - and she did!!! He also was able to direct her to move her left hand. She did something we thought was amazing (funny what becomes amazing at times like this) Michael declared a thumb war with her, and she moved her thumb back and forth the way it is done in the game, then she very lightly held his thumb down. We thought that was a very good sign that her brain is working. When the nurse lifted her eyelids up she said, "Sam look at me, and she did." The nurse also told her to look at mom. She tried but her eyes rolled back before she was able to. We have been playing classical music for her. Who knows if it helps, but it couldn't hurt, and she has always liked it anyway. This evening she hasn't done much interacting or moving, but she did get some extra sedation before getting a bath (of sorts). She seems to become a little more alert everyday.

Saturday October 9, 2010
Today Sam made us all feel much happier. A few seconds after Mike gave her a hug she lifted her arms in hug like fashion. She also squeezed her hand together after Teresa stopped holding it and seemed to notice that her hand was no longer being held. The nurses were able to keep her sedation medication at a lower level today while still keeping her intercraniel pressure below 20.

Friday October 8, 2010
We have been told that the plan is to slowly reduce the amount of sedation medicine she is given while monitoring her icp not allowing it to exceed 20. We are becoming quickly educated on the many accronmys used here. ICP stands for intercraniel pressure. Twenty we have learned is the magic number the doctors don't want her to go above. Most often we noticed the numbers between 17 and 20 but they change depending on what was happening at the time. The pressure raises when the nursing staff has to move her or change a tube, etc. It is a slow and tedious process, but the doctors say she looks really good and is progressing as they expect her too. We have been told that others with much worse injuries have made full recoveries. It can be a slow process however so we need to be patient while she is a patient.

Samantha looks like she has been assimilated (if this means nothing to you - get some popcorn and rent a few Star Trek episodes for tonight). And she did not wake up when they turned down the sedation. I think we mostly expected she would. It is hard to see her like this, but we have managed to snap a couple of pictures for her. We are sure she will want to know what she looked like when she wakes up.

We are becoming quickly educated on the many accronmys used here. ICP stands for intercraniel pressure. Twenty we have learned is the magic number the doctors don't want her to go above. Most often we noticed the numbers between 17 and 20 but they change depending on what was happening at the time. The pressure raises when the nursing staff has to move her or change a tube, etc.

Thursday October 7, 2010
Samantha was hit by a pickup truck in Montpelier on her way to piano lessons. She stopped at an intersection on 4th street then pulled infront of the truck which was moving at about 35 mph. The driver didnt' have enough time to stop. Her seat belt was on, but she took a direct hit. The emt's had to extracate her from the car which she will be unhappy to find out is toast, unless of coarse she gets to drive the white car now.

She was transported to Bear Lake Memorial hospital where she was given a blessing by her father, grandfather and brother Timothy, a ct scan and xrays. We were relieved to learn she didn't have any broken bones only a few cuts and the scans of her head did not show any bleeding. After 2 hours of not being able to wake her up, they decided to intebate and transport her to a facility better capable of handling head injuries. We have learned that the reason for intebation is to protect her airway. In her unconscious state she could aspirate and choke and not be able to protect her own air way so putting her on a vent prevents that problem. It breaths for her, but she can breath without it thankfully.

She was flown to Eastern Idaho Regional Medical center in Idaho Falls. The scans taken here also showed no signs of bleeding. One of the doctors said she might have something known as "Shearing Syndrom" (who knows if that is spelled anything like it should be), which means she could have a whole bunch of small spots that are bleeding but are too small for the scans to detect. Which could explain the coma.