Every Shade of Joy
Rowan was just 4 years old when an ear infection turned into something much more serious. When she woke one morning with her eyes crossed, her mother, Lilly, who is a nurse, immediately knew that something was wrong. She rushed Rowan to Cook Children's where doctors discovered that the infection had spread through the back of her ear, pinched the jugular vein and caused a significant blood clot in her brain.
Rowan's diagnosis was sigmoid sinus vein thrombosis secondary to mastoiditis. She went straight into surgery where she had a mastoidectomy to remove the infection, had tubes placed in her ear drums to help prevent negative pressure and fluid buildup and also had her adenoids removed.
Following the surgery, Rowan spent 47 days at our medical center. Her recovery was long and extensive, including weekly therapeutic lumbar punctures. She also had to undergo an eye surgery when swelling on her optic nerves jeopardized her vision. And in an attempt to remove the blood clot from Rowan's brain, she had a thrombectomy that unfortunately was not successful, so she was given blood thinning injections twice a day for seven months and had a PICC line with IV antibiotics for 10 weeks.
That's a lot for any child to go through. Luckily, Rowan knew exactly where to find joy during the difficult times: art.x
During her long stay, our Child Life team would bring Rowan art supplies and craft kits. Her mom joked that her room looked like a hobby store. Art is a huge part of who Rowan is, so it was natural for her to use art to cope with her pain or just have fun while she was in the hospital.
Though she can be reserved and mellow, Rowan's creations are very loud and bright. She uses every color she can, and makes the biggest mess possible. She lets her true personality come out when she is creating.
Over the past four years, Rowan has had several more ear surgeries and her regular checkups with her specialists are becoming further and further apart. Her eyes have healed themselves and she no longer has to wear glasses. Thanks to the care she received at Cook Children's, Rowan can do all the things she loves to do, like play sports, show animals and rodeo.
"We never wanted to come here," said Lilly, "but I sure am glad we have Cook Children's."
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