Wednesday, July 1, 2009

The Whole Terrible Story

Monday dawned a beautiful day here. We went to swim lessons, painted outside and the girls rode bikes with their 3 friends. The girls were great! I made a special new recipe and my husband came home to eat with us. We all innocently loaded into our van and drove to lessons. The Hippie got the horse and was riding. The Genius was sitting about 2 feet in front of us on the grass petting a dog. A border collie. A thousand times we have replayed what happened next. Both my husband and I struggle with feeling guilty. I honestly cannot type without crying. The dog, Jim-Bo was laying on his back so the genius could rub his tummy. She leaned down to whisper to the dog and before you could blink Jim-Bo was on top of our baby. The snarling was awful and the image of him tearing into her and trying to shove her head side to side. I just keep praying for God to erase it. It is awful and it seems whenever I am trying to relax that is all I can hear. My husband is the hero in this awful story. He was up and on top of the dog before the first scream tore out of me. I ran screaming to the Genius and picked her up and ran. Someone got the Hippie off the horse. There just so happened to be a vet there. She was wearing a pretty little riding outfit. We both know that God put here there just to help us. She told me to follow her to her truck. She yanked out a bunch of medical stuff and calmly said, "I cannot fix this we need a little trip to the hospital." The Genius and I were both still crying. I ran with her to van and put her in her seat. The vet hopped in and started treating and bandaging her. My husband got the Hippie into the van and she buckled herself in. Right now, my husband just told me what he did. I guess he threw the dog off her and saw me grab her. He saw the vet helping us and thankfully he had the presence of mind to remember our other daughter. He looked over and everyone had deserted the field and the Hippie was all alone on top of that big horse! Thank God he remember her. I honestly would have left. You have to understand how incredible my husband is in an emergency. The girls could not have a better daddy. That was another way we knew God was watching was the fact that my husband WAS there and not gone to the field. Anyways, he said he got her off the horse and I did remove her helmet and grabbed their bottles of gatorade (don't ask me why but God knew what He was doing). I ran back and hopped in the van and the vet was in their sitting in front of the Genius. She rode with us and kept talking to her and treating her the whole way. She had a very calm voice and demeanor. I have no idea who she was or how to thank her, but God was watching out for us. My husband put on the hazard lights and flew (safely) to the ER. I grabbed the Genius and ran inside. I already had my military id card out and handed it to them and kinda cried out, "Um, our daughter was attacked by a dog!" They rushed us back and it seemed like there were people everywhere. They got her height and weight and took us back to triage. The owner of the dog came and told us Jim-Bo was current on all shots and he took the lady vet back with him. Oh, the gatorade. I was not joking when I said God knew what we needed. The vet was worried about the swelling and wanted ice. We did not have any, but remember those bottles I grabbed? They were still cold, so she used those to try and help ease the swelling. Back to the ER, I was in, I'll say, medium panic mode. I was trying SO hard to calm myself but I was having trouble breathing. There was just so much blood. All over me, my husband and our daughter hair was no longer blonde. Her whole head was dark red and was dripping everywhere. Blood was pouring out her nose. I was terrified. My husband is the most amazing person. He was asking things that I was too shook up to think of. We called our friend who lives close to us and she came to get the hippie. I guess we were in triage for about 1 hour or so. The plastic surgeon came down to photograph the wounds and they were not sure they could treat them at that hospital. They took her back for x-rays to make sure she had not fractured her skull or the inside of her nose. My husband left to go get the hippie, bring me back clothes, phone chargers etc. He packed a bag of our daughter's favorite things. Then he took the hippie to our friends house. They know her real well and she thinks my friend's husband is really cool! They kept her and my husband came back. While he was gone, they took me and the genius upstairs to where they wait for the operating room to be ready. It was such a surreal time. All these nurses kept talking to us and asking questions. They gave her a cute little monkey, we call him Hospital Monkey. He was able to go to surgery with her. I was doing much better by this point and she was being so good. You cannot even imagine. If you know me, you know I get woozy at the sight and smell of blood. I almost passed out when my sister got her ears pierced. This was very hard. Both my husband and I had trouble making eye contact because it looked like her nose was gone. We could see cartilage and plus, it was OUR baby. While he was gone they took her back for surgery. That was so hard. I had to walk away from her and she kept flashing me the "I love you" sign. A nurse walked me over the waiting room, where I was alone waiting for my hubby. He came back and we hugged and cried and starting talking through everything and the fact that our daughter was in surgery. They called us several times to update us. There were 5-6 people working on her. After 2 1/2 hours it was over. About 30 minutes after that we got to go see her. She was so pitiful. She was out of it from the meds but wanted me to hold her. She had been intubated and wanted a drink but was not allowed. The doctor explained her injuries. She ended up with over 40 stitches on her head and eyes and nose. He was not able to fix her nose. The cut was too deep and too much dog bacteria. He told us we will have to come back in 2-3 weeks for a skin graft for her. We got checked into her room about 2 in the morning. They gave her some more meds through her iv and checked all her vitals. She was running a fever and her heart rate was VERY high. It was making her body look like it was shaking because her heart was beating so hard and fast. She was sleeping and her heart rate was about 145 beats per minute. They told us it was normal, but it did not help us feel better. She slept through the night. People were in and out of the room every 30 minutes or so. My husband slept sitting up and I laid down on this very short cot thing. About 5 we woke up for the day. I got in bed with the genius and we watched tv together. All day long we were literally flooded with visitors! Some we did not even know personally! You have no idea how that blessed us. It was astounding! Last night we got to bring her home, but I kinda wish we were still there. She is starting to get back to normal, she is playing with the Hippie, but we have to change her dressing and clean her stitches 3 times a day. It hurts her and it kills us. Plus it is gross and scary. I will end up doing it alone and I honestly would rather drive in 3 times a day and let someone else do it. Last night she said, "Mommy, I think that doggie did not hear me right. I was saying, 'Oh, you are good boy', but he thought I said, 'bad boy' huh? That is why he put his teeth on me or maybe he thought I was someone else." Oh, it hurt to hear her say that. You cannot even imagine how good and brave she was through all this. She broke down 1 time and it was because she learned that she cannot finish her swim lessons. She just hugged her legs and sat there crying quietly. If you know her, you will know why that broke our hearts worse than if she had screamed at us.
So far she does not show any hesitation about anything. She hates us changing her bandages because it hurts her a LOT. She is sad about not riding her bike.
If you have been praying here is what we need...
1. Complete healing for her in every way. Right now they are not sure if they can fix her nose. Even though it is a vanity issue, we want our baby back whole. I don't really care if it does sound selfish. It is what we are praying for and trusting God for.
2. For my husband and I. To be able to bandage her and do it well and safely. And for God to ease the nerves I am having. The genius is handling it better than me right now =)
3. For the Hippie. I know things don't feel normal to her and she has been a little slighted on the attention scale. She is not complaining at all! Her only complaint is that we have to find her a new horse to ride! =)

The fourth would just be praise for all of God's blessings through this. The family and friends who rallied around us. I think we were on 8-10 church prayer chains. We had countless emails, calls and visitors. The vet who happened to be there. My quick as lightning hubby. The gatorade. The lack of traffic as we rushed to the ER. Just everything good that has happened.

I think that about sums up the story. I am not posting pics on her because a lot of people read this with their kids. If you want some I will email them to you, but I am going to post them on facebook in the album Dog Attack.


P.S. I forgot to mention... they are NOT putting the dog down. They will still have him. AND will still be offering riding lessons to kids.


Trinka said...

no words. I'm so thankful for God's protection and care. I'll be praying for healing for all of you.

I feel shocked at what appears to be a cavalier attitude by the place where this happened. Praying God will protect you from bitterness in this thing as well.


Anonymous said...

You said you cried as you typed it and I cried as I read it. I think you are so much stronger then you think you are. When she told you what she told the dog, I started sobbing. That broke my heart.
You are all strong and I think God your DH was there with you! I'm praying for you all and if I can do anything, let me know!!

StephanieD (CMW)

Miranda said...

Praying for you guys Kristen. As I keep saying, I can't imagine how scary. I'm proud of you for being so brave, the mommy in us gets us through so many things we never would have imagined. Praying that God will ease the scary remembrance and feelings of it all.
Must say, I can't believe they are not putting the dog down. Do they get to choose that kinda thing? Have alot of questions but I am sure you don't want to post them on you blog.
Hope you have a good day and that the daily care gets much easier to handle as she heals quickly!!!

heather said...

Kristen, I'm so sorry...we all hate to see something happen to our children and I can't even imagine what you are going through.
I can't believe they aren't doing anything about the dog...don't they have to?

Will they be covering your medical expenses?

jess said...

Oh Kristen! I'm just so blurry eyed! My kids are actually worried because I'm crying so hard. We will definetely be praying for your baby.
On a legal note, I'd imagine you could do something to have them put the dog down. It makes me ill to think that they would not offer this of their own accord, but oh, I now you know all of this and I don't want to upset you all over again, I just hurt for you! Hugs from one mama bear to another...

Morgan said...

Kristen, I am so thankful for God's protection over Kayla! I will be here if you need anything! Will be praying for you all! Love ya!

Bon said...

Love to the little genius and the hippie. I know this is so very difficult. You can do it Kristen, don't doubt yourself. I'm so grateful for all the good things that fell in to place during this awful time.
All my prayers.

Christina said...

I will be saying many prayers for you and your little girl. I've read your blog since "meeting" you on the OCS site. So glad I can add one more prayer to that chain! Your daughter sounds so brave and sweet. You're a lucky mom. God bless.

Christina said...

P.S. I'm sorry to hear that they're keeping that dog.

Anonymous said...

Jeff and I will be praying for you. I called Mom right away and she said she had already talked to I and N. She told them the story of my Dad's nose. Short version is that he smashed it off his face and relocated it over by his ear (or something) and they did FIX it. And later no one could even tell. If they aren't equiped to handle it at your med center just keep looking until you find someone.

I'm also sure you'll be able to handle the bandages but remember... When hubby has to leave there are a lot of people who would LOVE to help out it's just that sometimes you have to let them know.

Hang in there all of you.

Cousin Ria

Anonymous said...

praying for you and I can say truthfully i know exactly how it feels to have to deal with really gross oozy bandages and sores. all i can tell ya is you CAN do it because you HAVE to (trust me I am NO nurse either!)

I am curious; have they done anything with the dog or can anyone even the vet venture to guess what set him off?

Colleen/ MrsSaf

Belinda said...

Oh Kristen, I cried reading this. I can't imagine what it was like. Kayla has been so brave and I know you are intensely proud of her! Forgot to tell you yesterday that one of the ladies on my board had a very similar thing happen when she was 3. She has had complete healing and her scars aren't even noticeable. I'm praying for the same complete healing for Kayla. Mike said, too bad we weren't closer, he'd come over and do all the dressing changes for you. Just know that we love you guys and are praying everyday!

Rachel L said...

I'll be praying, too and yes, God did give you much to be thankful for, in a terrible crisis. As a nurse, I have much hope that with skilled surgery she can heal well. That will be even more grace from Him.

Claire said...

Wow Kristen. God was surely with you and Cliff -- you both had a good presence of mind and Cliff acted like a top notch officer through it all.

I really hope they reconsider having that dog around any children. If they are not going to put it to sleep then they really need to retire it to a home where no children will be around it ever again. I hope they do that in respect to your family and especially out of respect to little Kayla.

Anonymous said...

You and family will continue to be a part of my daily prayers. Please let me know if you need anything!!!

Jenny Aldridge (Hippie's soccer coach)

karen said...

(((hugs))). I am ill just reading this. How terrifying and heartbreaking. Joining you in praying for her complete healing.