Charlee Shaw has been released from the hospital and is headed home to be with family
STEAMBOAT SPRINGS — You can hear the excitement in Clark resident Brett Shaw’s voice as he talks about picking up his 6-year-old daughter Charlee at Children’s Hospital on Friday in Aurora and bringing her home for the first time in more than a month.
“I’m very excited to get her home,” Brett said. “It will be great to get us all back in one house and to allow this transition to take a good step forward.”
Getting his children back under the same roof has been something that Brett has been working to accomplish in the months following an Interstate 70 crash that killed his wife, Sancy, and left Charlee fighting for her life in the hospital.
Brett has called his daughter’s survival a miracle, and when Charlee returned home Feb. 20, family, friends and community members lined up along the route, holding signs celebrating her inspiring story of survival and recovery.
But less than a month later, Charlee was back in the hospital after she suffered complications from a follow-up surgery March 13, when doctors were replacing a section of her skull that had been removed to reduce pressure on her brain. As the anesthesia started to wear off, doctors noticed that Charlee was not responding properly and that her right arm and leg were not working.
Charlee was rushed back into surgery, and doctors were able to address bleeding on her brain and a blood clot. The setback meant she once again faced a long road of recovery working with physical, occupational and speech therapists.
Throughout the ordeal, Brett’s faith and his dedication to his family has remained strong. On Friday, he once again was looking forward to bringing Charlee home.
“There are no other surgeries scheduled,” Brett said. “She knows that she is coming home. … She is very excited and happy. Whenever anybody talks about coming home and seeing her brothers, she gets very excited.”
Brett said her energy level has gone up tremendously over the past couple of weeks and that she continues to progress.
“I’m very much looking forward to being at home and seeing how she is able to progress even quicker,” Brett said. “Even through the therapy down there is wonderful, there is nothing like living life with our family and seeing her progress through the challenges of having brothers around and the blessing of having brothers around.”
Brett said Charlee currently is working to count to 20 and that she will be back with her classmates when they return from spring break on Monday.
Charlee will continue to work with physical and speech therapists at UCHealth Yampa Valley Medical Center and with a team at North Routt Community Charter School. He said the family also plans to hire a speech therapist to work with Charlee at home.
“It’s still slow and steady. … There are things that are coming along, and there are things that are just going to take a little more time,” Brett said. “She is starting to be able to link words together to form sentences, but they are still very short sentences. As of two weeks ago, she really had to struggle to say the word ‘bye’ when somebody left the room. Now she says ‘bye’ like it’s no big deal.”
Brett has been doing his best to spread his time between Charlee, who was more than three hours away in Aurora, and his sons Jaxon, 9, Mason, 11, and Wyatt, 13, in Clark.
It’s a challenge for the single father, but he’s had help from family members and friends who have stepped in to watch his boys in Clark when he needs to be in Aurora or make sure that Charlee is not alone when he is in Clark.
Brett has spent the past week traveling across Colorado with his boys as part of a spring break getaway before heading Friday to Aurora to meet with doctors and bring Charlee back to Clark.
“The plan is that we are bringing her home,” Brett said.
To reach John F. Russell, call 970-871-4209, email jrussell@SteamboatPilot.com or follow him on Twitter @Framp1966.
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