Saturday, September 29, 2007

Delie's accident

[I wrote this in an email on Sept 19 about Delie's accident on Sept 13. -George]

We have been boarding about 10 horses in our pasture for the past couple of months. Last Thursday, we were going out to catch one of the horses that we like to ride. Beverly, Joy, Delie, and George IV were in the pasture and had caught the horse we wanted when some of the other horses started running and bucking around. One of the horses accidentally kicked Delie (age 8) in her right eye. Anna, Samuel, Thomas, and I were watching this from the yard, and I immediately jumped the fence and ran to get her. I didn't see any big cuts, but she was covered in blood and her right eye was shut and could not open.

We loaded all the family into the van and rushed to the emergency room in Brownsville - the closest one. Delie wanted to go to sleep, but Beverly talked to her the whole way (about 15 minutes). We were encouraged that Delie made sense in her talking and had short-term memory. The Brownsville hospital is small, so they just did a CT scan and some x-rays and called for a helicopter to take her to Le Bonheur Children's Hospital in Memphis. The ER doctor said her eye was ruptured, but there wasn't any evidence of brain or spinal injury. We praised God that her injuries were not as bad as they could have been.

Beverly called her sister, Alison, who lives in Brownsville, to come get the children, and she was there within minutes. Alison and her husband, Jerry, took the children back to our house to pack some clothes for them to stay with her and for Beverly, baby Thomas, and me to stay at the hospital. Joy also had to go home to find her shoe - one of her flip-flops came off while running to the van, so she made it to the hospital with only one shoe. And we had left the crock-pot on, so Alison kept our house from burning down also.

So Delie was airlifted to Memphis while Beverly, Thomas, and I followed in the car. When we got to Le Bonheur they told us that the CD that Brownsville had sent with the images from the scan was either blank or incompatible, so they had to repeat the scan. An eye surgeon looked at the scan and checked to see if Delie could see a bright light shone into her eye. She could not see the light. He told us that there would be many surgeries (Delie also had several fractures around her eye), but there was a very good chance that she would not regain sight in that eye. The first step was to try to put the eye back together as good as possible, so they did that right away.

We stayed in the hospital all day Friday and talked to a couple of doctors from the UT Medical Center in Memphis - one an opthalmologist and one specializing in plastic surgery around the eye. They both checked for light response and didn't get positive results. They were encouraging about fixing the bones, etc so that she would look like the old Delie again, but they said we would probably need to consider a prosthetic eye.

We got to go home Friday night but had to go back to the doctor's office on Saturday. They were mostly checking for infection in the eye since it was a "dirty wound," but there was no sign of infection. Again they checked for a light response. It looked to Beverly and me like Delie could see some light occassionally, but it may be that she was just guessing when the light was on. The doctor did not seem impressed by her response to the light.

On Monday we went back to Memphis to check for infection and to talk to another plastics doctor. Again, no sign of infection and no (or questionable) response to light. Delie has fractures above, to the outside, and below her eye, and she is scheduled for surgery to repair that on Wed, Sept 26. They don't anticipate any problems or difficulties with that procedure.

They also asked us to consider removing her eye while they are doing that surgery. They say that usually if a patient cannot see light before the first surgery, that they will not regain sight. Because she still has not seen light and because of the severity of the injury, they don't believe that she ever will. The danger in leaving a non-seeing eye in place is that very rarely the body will attack the good eye. Obviously we don't want to do anything to put the good eye in jeopardy, but we haven't decided if we're ready to take that step yet.

We still hope and pray for a miracle, but we are very content with whatever God chooses to do. There are many things that we don't understand, but we know that God has a purpose for all things, and we gladly trust in Him.

We praise God that the injury was not more serious. As life-changing as this may be, at least it is not life-threatening. Delie is already smiling and laughing some (although it sometimes hurts). She seems very much like her old self in many ways.

We thank God for the tremendous support that we have received. Countless people are praying for Delie, and many people have brought us meals or plan to do so. One of the women in our church has organized meals for the next week, the girls' ballet teacher is organizing meals for us from her church, and we've had family, friends, and even neighbors we don't know bring us food and/or offer to watch the children whenever we need them.

We thank God that Delie has recovered so well already. She has a long way to go - many months - but she is doing very well. She is emotionally and spiritually very strong. She is a perfect example of "child-like faith."

We pray that God will heal her and restore her sight, but more importantly we pray that His will would be done. Please pray with us for her continued health and recovery.

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