Ariel Carr, the 12-year-old Crossroads student now at the Hospital for Sick Children in Toronto, has had some moments to brighten her days, but is still struggling.
At 43 pounds, she has 24 pounds of weights attached to a halo bolted to her head, with a goal of straightening her spine, which is severely curved from scoliosis.
It’s having some effect, says her mother Denise, but doctors say they can’t add more weight unless Ariel can gain some weight.
They’re feeding her Ensure, lots of chocolate milk and snacks she likes, says Denise. For every two pounds she gains, they can add another pound of weights.
They’re estimating at least another six weeks in traction for Ariel, says Denise, before another round of surgery to straighten her spine and add some metal rods.
In the meantime, Denise took Ariel’s dog Freddy for a brief visit last weekend. “Ariel loved seeing him,” she says. “And he was really excited to see her. He misses her.”
She also loved a visit from James Cadeau, her former hockey coach — she won’t be playing for a while, but one of her goals is to get back on the bench beside her teammates.
Denise, who won’t leave Ariel alone for more than a few minutes, says she had to buy her some new clothes, mostly pyjamas, that she could get on around the halo, and buying them in the hospital gift shop was an expensive shop trip, “but she had to have them,” she says.
Ariel has begun doing school work, which helps pass the time and also makes her feel she is keeping up with her classmates.
Denise says she’s grateful for being part of a community that is so supportive, but acknowledges there is still a long journey ahead of Ariel, with risks attached at every step.