Thank you for visiting our CaringBridge site. We created it to keep family and friends updated on Tanner's condition. We will also use it post any prayer requests. Please feel free to sign our guestbook and leave an encouraging word.
Thank you for your continued prayers and support.Carol, Travis, and Tanner Underwood were in a serious car accident on I-35 Friday, March 23. Carol and Travis had minor cuts and bruises, but Tanner was flown to Scott and White in Temple to treat head injuries. He was sedated in the Pediatric Intensive Care Unit, where doctors monitored the swelling in his brain and brain activity. After several weeks Tanner began to experience partial consciousness, opening one eye and making a few gestures in response to our commands. He stabilized. One month later he was transferred to a Baylor-affiliated rehab in Dallas called Our Children's House where they specialize in treating pediatric victims of traumatic brain injury. Rather than focus on rehab here, we fought "storming" for multiple weeks. When this was finally brought under control, Tanner faced some significant GI tract inflammation and infection. At the end of six weeks, we were able to arrange through our insurer for Tanner to move to Cook's Children's Hospital in Fort Worth in it's rehab unit where we stayed for another four months. While at Cook's Tanner had surgery, got off some of his powerful (but inhibiting drugs), obtained a Baclofen pump (implanted in his abdomen), increasingly displayed more alertness and responsiveness. In short, he finally emerged from his coma. He began to answer questions with signals from his eyes, hands and feet. One of the most glorious days was when he demonstrated that he still had the ability to read. Then he showed he could still do math, even algebra. He began to work with an in-hospital school teacher and even was able to write messages to us. On October 3, 2012 we had a glorious homecoming parade awaiting us in our neighborhood and we brought Tanner back home--his first chance to be home since the late afternoon of that fateful day in March. We were able to hire a full-time (M-F) nurse and this has been a huge blessing, allowing Carol to return to work. In January, 2013 Tanner began to return to school, on a very limited basis. He has been doing significant therapy at Hope Therapy in Waco. And he returned to school on a M-F basis in August 2013 attending regular classes each morning and then doing therapy at Hope each afternoon. He has also been blessed with speech therapy through Baylor University. He still must use a wheelchair as his left side body movements are very minimal (the leg and especially the arm).
Tanner speaks with friends (labored but still speaking), he laughs, he shows his old wit, he plays video games, he watches his favorite Seinfeld episodes on t.v., he goes to Baylor basketball and football games again. There is laughter in our home where once our lives were filled with tears, sorrow, grief, horror, and fear. We have Hope.
Our path is long, non-linear, and full of intimidating challenges still. But we have already known joy and experienced celebrations. We are in a place where angels (posing as nurses, doctors, school teachers, and therapists) serve as the hands and feet of God making miracles happen. And so we await our continued miracle, letting Tanner's mind continue to heal and his cognitive thoughts re-emerge as God knits him back together again. Please join us on this journey of faith and healing. Please pray for our family (Tanner, his parents Carol & Jim, and his older brothers Travis &Tyler). We are asking God to heal him as we learn to trust in His goodness and love for us all.
Tanner's life is God's glory.
Valleys and Mountain Tops
Feb 16, 2014 9:25pmThis has been a week that we will never forget. We have experienced the loss of our friend and as well as some exhilarating moments being blessed by our community.
On Tuesday, our long time friend, Tricia Berry, entered into the gates of heaven. I (Carol) was honored to be with her loving husband and daughter, by her side, as she took her last breath. It was very difficult to lose a dear friend but I know that she is with our Lord, completely whole and pain free. That is comforting, but still the grief remains.
Meanwhile, we received a call that a local news station wanted to do a follow-up story on Tanner. Everyone knows what a huge Baylor fan Tanner is so we were put in touch with Baylor's basketball coach. They wanted to film Tanner in the basketball arena. Our family was invited to a practice. We (Travis and Tyler included) got to meet all the coaches and players. We were so touched by their sincere interest in Tanner. All of them shook our hands and thanked us for coming to the practice. Some of them sat down and chatted with Tanner, asking him questions about school or who is favorite player was. Once his favorite player learned just how much Tanner enjoyed watching him on the court and how important he has been in Tanner's recovery, he quickly offered to give Tanner an autographed pair of his game shoes. That was pretty cool! We were then invited into the locker room before the next game which was Saturday (Jim's birthday). What an experience that was! It was great to see the pre-game excitement and how they get pumped up. They went on to win their game in double over time! We completely believe that it was all due to Tanner's presence in the locker room and the fact he wore the special game shoes. After all, his favorite player made the buzzer beating shot to send the game into overtime! What a significant way to end a day celebrating Tricia's life, as well as Jim's birthday, as Baylor pulled out a much needed victory!
So we rose from the valley of the shadow of death to the mountain top of excitement embodied by Baylor basketball. Then down into the valley we went again as we went into battle with the state Medicaid office. Unfortunately, we lost this battle. It seems that the trust set up from Tanner's benefit a year ago was not done correctly. This has caused his re-application to be denied. So, Jim went to work to remedy this situation and was swift to comply. Sadly, we were informed that the mistakes made in the original trust cost us his benefits for the entire month of February. That was a shock! Fortunately, we have the trust with which we will need to cover his needs for February. Thank you Lord!
In the midst of our highs and lows, our amazing nurse, Steven, welcomed his second son into the world on Valentines' Day. We rejoice with his family for this new life!
Just like Ecclesiastes states, "There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under the heavens: a time to be born and a time to die ... a time to weep and a time to laugh, a time to mourn and a time to dance." We have done all these things this week. Our emotions have been pulled and tugged back and forth from moment to moment. It's been exhausting, but it reminds us that God is in control.
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