Alahna expected to be home from Denver hospital

A girl puts money in a donation jar at Meeker Cafe during a benefit dinner Feb. 2 for the Martin family. The event was a sellout. Additional photos on Page 9A.

A girl puts money in a donation jar at Meeker Cafe during a benefit dinner Feb. 2 for the Martin family. The event was a sellout. Additional photos on Page 9A.
A girl puts money in a donation jar at Meeker Cafe during a benefit dinner Feb. 2 for the Martin family. The event was a sellout. Additional photos on Page 9A.
MEEKER I Alahna Martin has always been an overachiever, her father said.
And, once again, she’s surpassed expectations.
“She’s exceeded all of their goals, so they’re going to release her early,” Paul Martin said of his daughter’s progress in recovering from injuries she sustained in a two-vehicle accident Jan. 19.
Alahna Martin was expected to be released Wednesday from Children’s Hospital in Denver and return home to Meeker.
“She’s doing great,” Paul Martin said of Alahna. “Things have been improving so fast. Some things we thought might be issues, she’s worked through. She still has some short-term memory difficulty, but she’s getting better every day. That’s very promising.”
Alahna Martin suffered multiple injuries in the accident, including a broken sternum, collapsed lung, broken femur and bleeding on the brain.
“Just her cognition skills have improved exponentially,” Paul Martin said. “She has been responding to the different therapies.”
Alahna Martin was moved out of intensive care at Children’s Hospital in Denver — where she was airlifted after the accident — and moved into rehabilitation about two weeks ago.
In a message posted on a Web site for the Martin family, Denise Martin, Alahna’s grandmother, wrote, “We give thanks to a gracious and compassionate God every day! He has been so kind to bless us with Alahna’s continued improvement. … Her long-term memory has been great all along, and her short-term memory has improved dramatically in the past couple of days. I read to her yesterday and she was able to recall the facts today. This is the first time she has been able to retain facts from one day to the next. She still has some swallowing issues but is getting a few bites of some soft solids, like pancakes, mac and cheese, and even some cheese pizza yesterday. The rehab doctor said three more weeks in the hospital but she doesn’t know our Alahna! Please continue to keep her in your prayers, but also, remember to thank God for her recovery thus far!”
Alahna, while progressing faster than doctors expected, was becoming more like her old self all the time, her father said.
“Her personality is shining through. Her emotions are becoming expressive,” Paul Martin said. “She’s my little overachiever.”
Alahna Martin is a sixth-grader at Barone Middle School in Meeker.
“She may attend some school. But our concern is not to get her right back into the (class) schedule … grades are not a concern for us right now,” Paul Martin said of his daughter, adding she was a straight-A student. “She could probably skip the rest of this year and I’m thinking not be that far behind.”
Paul and Vanessa Martin met with doctors Feb. 4 to review Alahna’s progress.
“Right now, we’re very optimistic,” Paul Martin said. “She’ll continue with some therapy … and she won’t be able to enter school full time for a while. They suggested for the next four our five months not to try to teach her anything new, but just review things she already knows. They say that helps the brain repair itself.”
When it comes to severe brain trauma, like Alahna Martin suffered, Paul Martin said it is difficult for doctors to predict how a patient will respond.
“They are quite vague, because the brain is so complex and the type of injury she sustained … it’s more of a watch and wait. You let the processes take place,” Paul Martin said. “We’ll have to wait and see how her brain responds. But it seems her little spirit is intact, and we’re excited about that. We’ve got our daughter back. How could we not be thrilled about that?”
Paul Martin said the intense therapy sessions at the hospital had kept Alahna “so busy there wasn’t enough time to think about her brother.”
Nine-year-old Stone Martin died the day after the accident from injuries he sustained. He never regained consciousness.
“The more she remembers him, the more his memory is alive (to Alahna),” Paul Martin said. “I asked her if it made her sad (to think about her brother). She said she was sad, she was grieving, but she said if he was here he would want her to smile. He was always trying to make everybody smile and laugh.”
Paul Martin said grieving will be a process for the whole family.
“That’s a very individual thing. Vanessa and I are grieving differently. When I seem to have a bad moment, Vanessa is there for me, and vice versa,” Paul Martin said. “We’ve had people approach us and say a similar thing happened to them (the loss of a child) and it never goes away. But anytime I say I’m going to miss him (Stone) so bad, my dad would say he’s going to remember him so good.”
Paul and Vanessa Martin returned to Meeker on Saturday and made arrangements to take a look at the family’s Dodge Caravan — the vehicle Vanessa was driving at the time of the accident.
“That will be somewhat difficult … to see the carnage,” Paul Martin said. “But (Vanessa) is a strong woman. She’s ready to go to the next stage of healing.”
Paul, who works at White River Electric Association, and Vanessa returned to Denver and will bring Alahna back to Meeker after she is released from the hospital.
Paul Martin said his daughter was excited to come home.
“She can’t wait,” he said.