Last night was supposed to be a semi-relaxing night with a couple of my girlfriends at one of their houses. I say semi only because we still had all of our little girls. Their husbands took all the boys out to a movie and we were having a girl’s night in-house.
While we were out on the back porch sipping our wine, our daughters were all in the front room dancing up a storm. Then we heard a bloodcurdling scream. Ainsley was hurt. She had fallen and hit her back on the coffee table. What made this different from a normal fall was that she was unable to feel anything from her waist down.
After trying for several minutes to test for any feeling at all and getting no response, my friend Tammy called 911. Ainsley was terrified. She began screaming that she didn’t want to be paralyzed. I was doing my best to stay calm and keep her from losing it by telling her everything would be all right. The ambulance was on its way and they could help her.
Once the ambulance arrived I backed up so EMT’s could assess her. They were running tests, looking to see if her legs responded. They poked and prodded, but got no response. They put her on a backboard and started strapping her down. I laid my hands on her head and prayed for complete healing. Then I heard them radio in that they were bringing a level one trauma into the Children’s Hospital and that was when I started to shake.
Ainsley’s anxiety was continuing to increase as they immobilized her and she began thrashing around when they tried to start an IV. This was actually the first sign of good news because we saw some movement below her waist. They loaded her into the ambulance and I had to get in the front seat so two of the EMT’s could ride back there with her.
She was screaming as they were putting in the IV, in case you can’t guess, she hates needles. She calmed down after they finished. Personally, at this point, I am still on autopilot. I have this ability, or liability, considering how you look at it, to shut down my emotions to deal with a crisis and this skill definitely kicked in. I prayed.
Once we arrived at the hospital, they wheeled her into the trauma room and start cutting off her clothes and asking her questions. She tells them she has a little feeling above her knee, but still can’t feel anything below it. I see them do the reflex test on her knees with absolutely no response. They are running sharp tools along the bottom of her feet, again, nothing. The doctor asks her to wiggle her toes. They keep asking and she responds in a panicky voice… “Are they moving? Are they moving?” They weren’t.
All of this felt surreal. As if I was watching this happen to someone else. Except I wasn’t. My daughter was the one lying there on the table surrounded by two doctors, three nurses, and few others. I felt a peace though that everything would be all right. I stood by her, watched and prayed.
One of the doctors down by her feet continued to prod and pinch her legs looking for any response. Finally, she said she felt something. He had been literally taking sections of the skin on her leg, pinching and turning it, which typically would have hurt. Once she said she felt something it was a huge relief. She described it as very light, but within a few more minutes she could move her toes again. Praise God!!!
With the main concern of paralysis gone, we were given a room while they set up a CT for her to see if there was a fracture. After about an hour the doctors came back. They had spoken with a neurologist and needed to see if she could walk, which would determine whether she needed a CT or an MRI. With their support she could stand, but was still unable to walk. Now an MRI crew would have to be called in.
At least another hour slips by as we wait for them to arrive. I start to get a little concerned when I remember that Ainsley’s father has a degenerative back condition. He has had a back surgery, as has his sister, and their father. I’m hoping Ainsley hasn’t inherited this. Transport comes in to take her for the MRI. I sat in the room with her while she does the test, which is about 30 minutes.
Thankfully, they got the results back to us fairly quickly and it is all good news. Nothing broken. They tell us she had a spinal concussion. These are rare but we could expect a full, quick recovery. A little while later she was able to walk out of the hospital, very gingerly. She had to take it easy today, ice it and rest. She should be good as new in the next day or so. Again….Praise God!
This experience has taught me once again that we are not promised tomorrow will look the same as today. The unlikely or unimaginable can actually happen with no warning. Every day is a gift.