None of the stories or pictures on these pages may be used without the express written permission of the Pediatric Stroke Network and/or the parents of these children. These stories are copyrighted by the intellectual property law. All stories are original submissions written by parents.

Jasmine's Story


    We were in the midst of anxiously preparing for our youngest daughter, Jasmines first birthday on April 18th by getting airline reservations to fly from Virginia to California for the celebration. This trip had been planned months in advance to introduce my husbands large catholic family to our youngest member for the first time, and also to include them in the baptism of both her and her three and a half-year-old sister Meagan. With our vacation two weeks away, a serious illness was the farthest thing from our minds.

                        

    Jasmine took ill with a high fever and extreme fussiness on April 6th 1998. I took her to the doctor that same evening, who announced her to be suffering from a virus, and home we went. The next afternoon my precious baby was rushed via ambulance to our local hospital, with grand mal seizures. Upon arrival at the hospital she was placed on a respirator and given a spinal tap. The diagnosis was bacterial meningitis. With the hospital chaplain by our sides, we got to see our unresponsive baby hooked up to numerous machines with tubes everywhere.

    My husband and I were told that Jasmine would be on numerous antibiotics for 14 days and that the full extent of the damage would only be revealed over time. They performed numerous CT scans, EEG tests and an MRI while she laid in the pediatric ICU. As the numbness that had invaded my being began to ebb, the questions began flowing through my head; When will all the medications let her wake up? Why doesnt she wake up? Why doesnt she respond or look at me? How long will she be on the respirator? When can she eat? Is she still having seizures? Does she know who I am? Why doesnt she like me to touch her? When can we go home?

      

    It slowly dawned just what the doctors had said, the damage had already been done, and there was nothing they could do but wait and see how Jasmine recovered. She had suffered permanent brain damage to approximately 30% of her brain and had a stroke which effected her right side; tongue down to her toes. She had hydrocephalous from the meningitis scarring her brain and she would need to undergo surgery to place a tube for draining that excess fluid. The alternative was not to do the surgery, which would result in an increase of the pressure, which would result in further brain damage, and ultimately, death. Her hearing could be affected, we were told, although she seemed to calm to music.

    My husbands mother and grandmother flew to us in order to meet their granddaughter for the first time, as she lay in a coma in the PICU. So we spent her birthday and Easter holidays. We soon began traveling between the medical college for shunt surgeries and the childrens hospital for rehabilitative therapies. Finally, two months and five surgeries later, we had a working VA shunt and a daughter who was medically stable enough to come home!

    We brought home an apnea monitor, feeding pump for her NG tube feedings (since she was unable to eat by mouth), seizure meds, a nurse and contacts for her on-going OT/PT and ST therapies. Our once vibrant toddler could barely tolerate my touch, did not smile, could not hold up her head, reach for a toy or roll/sit/stand or crawl. She was like a newborn, only less capable. Over the next two weeks, Jasmine learned to accept my touch as something soothing and not something to fear. She also blessed us with her first smile in almost three months! I ran to get my camera and snapped about a dozen pictures of my beautiful bald baby and showed them to every doctor, therapist, friend and family member that came by.

    Today, over a year later, with hours upon hours of therapies behind us and even more looming in our future, I can say that I am truly grateful to the doctors and nurses that gave us back our little girl. She is constantly smiling and laughing. She recently got hearing aides for a severe/profound hearing loss, and also has cortical visual impairment, which doesnt cause her a moments hesitation in finding her pacifier! She now has a G-Tube button in her stomach for evening feedings and can feed herself cheerios by day! She rolls and scootches all over, grabs toys (to put into her mouth!), is trying to sit up unassisted and is learning to use a gait trainer (walker).

                

    Because of the brain damage, her future is uncertain, but there is no doubt about the love shining from her eyes, or her pleasure at being in our lives. The future is an adventure full of endless possibilities. In this new world, Jasmine will take our hands and lead the way.
 
 

-Edgard, Bonnie, Meagan and Jasmine Morales
 
 

 

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This page last updated 12/31/2001