Here's the deal

On February 4, 2012 Wesley was in a skiing accident and broke his neck. He is 16 years old and is planning to graduate high school this year. There are not many 16 year old boys as amazing as he is. He is kind, thoughtful, and good date on his progress. I will make sure Wesley gets to read every comment this blog receives. My siblings and I will try to keep this blog current.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

The Story Part 5

I have told this some of this part of the story before but I will go ahead and include it from my dad's point of view.

Dr. Speth had just informed my parents that Wesley's spinal cord was being squeezed by his fractured vertebrae. The next step was to straighten out his neck to prepare him for surgery. Dr. Speth explained the proceedure and said it would be very painful. I will explain this proceedure in a moment.

After Wesley heard how painful it would be to straighten his neck he asked my dad to remove my mom from the room and far enough away so that she would not be able to hear him if he cried out. My dad said, "I did as he requested thinking again his head is much more clear than mine. He is not thinking about himself when so much is happening to him and all around him. Wes is thinking about his mother's peace of mind and well being."

As they walked out into the waiting room they noticed that Lance and Gayla Sieler had arrived to show their support. Their son, Tanner, had been skiing with them earlier in the day and he asked them to go to the hospital and told them why. Lance and Gayla are good friends and neighbors to my parents and my family. Gayla was able to comfort my mom while Lance, Bishop, and my father went to give Wesley a Priesthood blessing.

To give Wes a blessing the three men gathered around him; he was still strapped to a board. My dad asked Bishop to give the blessing because my dad knew he would cry if he did and he did not want Wesley to see him cry.

Dr. Speth was now ready to start the proceedure to align the vertebrae in Wesley's neck. "Dr. Speth and his P.A. put a C-clamp in place. Both ends of the c-clamp were right above Wesley's ears with the 'c' part of the clamp above his head.  Dr. Speth injects a numbing drug above each ear, which he was told will only help a little with the pain. Then he tightens down the screws. It is very painfull in spite of the drugs. After the screws get past the skin and flesh they tap into the bone of the skull. Once the screws reach bone the pain ceases. At the head of the bed the back board is strapped to a pully system with a rope attached which is falling to the floor. The doctor attaches one end of the rope to the c clamp and then asks his PA to put 5 pounds of weight to the other end of the rope, that is towards the floor. The clamp, rope, and weight now start to pull on the skull which starts stretching the spine in Wesley's neck. An x-ray type machine is rolled in which seems to show real time pictures of how the spine in the neck is being pulled into alignment. Dr. Speth asks hi PA to add another 5 pound weight. I hear him exclaim that Wes' neck is being stubborn. He manipulates Wes' neck to try and align it... Wes was incredible as all this is done without any pain killer.

"As I was right next to the doctor holding wes' hand, I marveled that Wes did not cry out ( I felt like crying out). I know he was apprehensive and frightened about all that was taking place, what did all of this mean and how would it affect his life. None of the feeling had returned to his extremities. "

After everything was lined up properly, Dr. Speth added another 5 pounds, making it a total of 15 pounds hanging from Wesley's skull to keep it aligned properly.

After this procedure, Dr. Speth starts evaluating Wesley. He starts with Wesley's head and starts poking and pushing on different parts of his body and continually asking, "Can you feel this?" He works his way down, when he gets just above Wes' elbows Dr. Speth starts getting the answer 'no.' Dr. Speth then blocks Wesley's view and continues down Wesley's elbow, hands and fingers with a pin. There is no feeling. He does the same with his legs- down his thighs, knees, ankles, and toes. No feeling. Dr. Speth had a worried look in his eyes.

At this point, Dr. Speth has one more test to do. This last test will either give him hope or almost complete devastation, as it will tell if there is hope for some feeling to return. As he performs this test, my dad watches his eyes. "Instantly, without saying a thing, his eyes say everything, it is as if the light of hope completely left his eyes. I see sadness in his eyes. It lingers just a moment and then the professional in him kicks in. He tells me we need to get your wife and need to visit."

Dr. Speth takes my parents into a semi private room. He shares with them that their lives will never be the same, nor will Wesley's. For the second time that day, my parents felt sick, as if they would pass out.

"Wes was going to be a quadriplegic. He left no hope for anything else. He did not want us holding on to false hope. The sooner we realized the gravity of the situation and the reality of his injuries, the sooner we could come to terms with it and start helping Wes. Dr. Speth then moved on to the mechanical aspect of fixing his neck. He told us this would not bring back the feeling he had lost. It was just allow the structural portion of the spine to heal. The would remove a top portion of the hip bone and utilize that bone to help fuse the vertebrae in the neck together, along with pines and screws. The operation had two parts; to fuse the bones together in the front, then turn Wesley over and fuse the bones in the back."

My parents then went back to Wesley's bedside to check on him. They wondered if they should tell him what the doctor had just told them. They felt the spirit whisper to them that they should not tell him. Surgery prep began within seconds as the anesthesiologist came in. My dad recalls, "We touched our faces to his. We told him that this was a very serious operation, we were both choked with emotion. We had to be strong and project to Wes a sense of well being and great hope. We told him we had great faith and reminded him that he did as well. We told him we believed in miracles and assured him that Heavenly Father was involved in this. We all had great faith as we told him we loved him, understanding he was in the hands of God. He was asleep now and they rolled him out of the Emergency Room and into the O.R."

"Karen and I cried and held onto each other, we were surrounded by people who cared about us and loved us. We called our children and explained everything to them. Our kids wanted to drop everything they were doing and come. Trevor had already started driving up from Idaho. Ryanne called to say that they had already purchased a plane ticket and would be flying in the next night. Brittnee and Dallin wanted to come as well, but we told them to hold off and stay home to take care of their families."

Part 6 is coming soon... I promise.


  1. I have not met Wes but he is in my prayers day and night. Our son was hit by a car when he was 9. He was very bad. We watched as God healed him and made him whole. We believe in miracles! Brett graduated from ASU with honors, married a wonderful woman and has a great paying job. He loves to climb the mountains in Phoenix. God did heal him! Miracles do happen today. We must keep the FAITH and never give up hope. Our goes to you, Wes and your family at this difficult time. Paul and Ruth Hatch
    Karen tell your Father hello for us.

  2. Ryanne, Again, thank you so much for keeping us up to date. We appreciate news and are glad we can feel included in Wesley's progress even though we are far away. Our prayers continue to be with your family. Chris and Dana

  3. This was a tear jerker! I'm glad I read this knowing what we know now....that he has feeling and moved his arm!!! It just testifies to me that real miracles happen and prayers work. Love you guys!

  4. It did not take Wesley long to prove that diagnosis wrong! What an amazing story Wesley will have-to see God working so evidently in his life as a result of faith and prayers. Your blog has over 17,000 views in a week because clearly a lot of people love Wesley, but I think it is also because reading Wesley's story inspires and gives hope to so many people as they see God in action and miracles happening right now. Your whole family is remarkable! We are praying for you always.