So why should I write a blog about my daughter? What's so great about her? Well, beside the fact that she is the most beautiful little girl in the world, I wanted to do this blog because she has a traumatic brain injury, and a lot of my friends, who live far away, want to know how she's doing. I also want to let other people who are raising kids with developmental difficulties what we do, because if it helps them, that's always a good thing. What's Mia's history, you ask? I'm so glad you did.
On 18 April 2003 (Good Friday), I was driving with my seven-and-a-half-month-old daughter in my car on Interstate 10 (eastbound). I got off the freeway on the Chandler Boulevard off-ramp and was almost immediately stopped by traffic (there's a light at the top of the off-ramp). While I was sitting there, not moving, my car was struck in the rear by a flatbed tow truck traveling at approximately 60 miles per hour. The driver had bent over to look for a map and didn't see the lineup of cars. He saw me at the last minute and tried to swerve, as did I when I saw him barreling down on me, but we both failed and he nailed me, spinning me around and knocking me about 200 feet. I broke my scapula and the driver's seat collapsed backward into the back seat. Mia was in her car seat, facing backward, and she wasn't moving and her eyes were closed. After freaking out for a few seconds, I calmed down and managed to get a few small grunts out of her. The ambulance came and took her to Maricopa Medical Center in Phoenix.
She had to have surgery, because she had a subdural hemotoma -- a mass of blood between her skull and brain. The doctors cut her skull open and drained the blood. They weren't sure if she would survive the night, but she made it through. She spent ten days in the ICU, and was in an induced coma for about five of those. Eventually she was transferred to Phoenix Children's Hospital, where she recovered for a while. All in all, she spent exactly five weeks in the hospital. While she was at PCH, her head started to swell, so her neurosurgeon put in a shunt to drain the fluid from her head. It's still there, and you can see it in her neck, which is kind of freaky.
Since she got out of the hospital she has had physical therapy, occupational therapy, and speech therapy, with music therapy thrown in recently. When she got out of the hospital, she was being fed through an NG tube threaded into her stomach through her nose, and she didn't move very much. Prior to the accident she had just learned to roll over, but now she didn't even do that. Since the damage was to the right side of her brain, her entire left side didn't work. She had seizures, and is on medication to help that.
Since the accident, she has made great strides. Her left side still does not work terribly well, but she can tummy crawl pretty well, and she can sit unaided, although she does tend to sit folded over her legs because her balance is poor. She has a frame that helps her stand, which she goes in every day to help develop her leg muscles. Her biggest physical problem is balance, which is keeping her from sitting up straight or standing, but we're working on that. She just learned how to drink through a straw, which was a big hurdle since she can't pick up a cup. She knows several signs and uses them pretty well, and her receptive language is far in advance of her expressive language. She understands plenty of what her mother and father say to her, but cannot tell us what she wants. It's frustrating.
She is now two-and-a-half, and is making wonderful progress. I just thought it would be nice to have a blog that chronicles her steps as she goes through them. As I mentioned, any advice is welcome. This is our first child, so it's all new to us!