Ariel Carr, the 12-year-old Crossroads student now at the Hospital for Sick Children in Toronto, underwent an 11-and-one-half surgery Wednesday.
Thursday morning she was still in the intensive care unit, says her mom, Denise Carr.
Ariel is conscious and has been speaking to her mom. “She’s in so much pain. She has about a dozen intravenous tubes in her body, she’s swollen, she is bandaged everywhere, and she still has a feeding tube in her nose,” says Denise;
The intravenous tubes were because she was still bleeding from
Wednesday’s surgeries Thursday morning. The doctors have described her as a bleeder.
Ariel had a lot of her own blood taken before surgery for transfusion. “She was having blood taken from her left and right,” says Denise, but it wasn’t enough. Transfusions were expected to be necessary after surgery, and she is receiving her own blood, as well as blood from donors.
The surgery was much more than originally anticipated. In addition to the removal of a halo, which had weights attached to straighten her spine, she had two metal rods put in her spine. That part was expected. Ariel also had a piece of hip bone removed, which was fused to her spine. All of this was done to strengthen and straighten her spine, severely curved from scoliosis.
She also had three ribs removed. Her ribs were growing into her hip, because, after a recent growth spurt, there just wasn’t enough room in her little body for them. They were also pressing on her lungs, and reducing her lung capacity.
Denise says she and her husband Colin (Ace, as he’s known to friends), were with Ariel last night, although the hospital rules are one visitor at a time.
Ariel was frightened she’d have to get up and walk today, when she could barely move, but the doctor has told Denise Ariel is not ready to walk yet, and won’t be asked to.
Denise is exhausted, frightened for Ariel, and heart-broken her little girl is suffering.
She is also trying to remain positive about Ariel’s recovery and what it will mean for the little girl who loves to play hockey.
She knows Ariel, once she gets through this, should be healthier, stronger and in better shape than she has ever been.
“The doctor even said she might be able to play hockey next year,” Denise reports — news that will help Ariel through this. She was sad she wasn’t able to play hockey this season, and watched her teammates on the ice whenever she could.
Ariel’s coach, James Cadeau, has emailed her team members about the outcome of her surgery. “It appears that the young lady with the heart of a lion is beating the odds again,” he said, of the girl who has continued to impress and inspire him with her courage and determination.
The surgery Ariel underwent was moved up from July, in an effort to get her ready to go home, away from the danger of COVID-19.
Denise says half of the wing of the hospital is now empty, and has been thoroughly cleaned, ready for use if they need it for patients with the virus.
Ariel’s surgeon had cancelled all his other operations, but he couldn’t send Ariel home as she was, and with her reduced lung capacity, he was concerned about the risk of keeping her in the hospital.
Ariel, at 43 pounds and 47 inches tall when she entered the hospital early in February, has severe scoliosis. The top of her spine, before surgery, was shaped almost like a candy cane, and curving into her neck. Her first surgery when she enters the hospital last month was to bolt a traction halo to her skull, and she has gradually had weights added to it to help straighten her spine. She’s been fed Ensure, another similar kind of chocolate drink several times a day, and lots of chocolate milk, to help put on some weight so they could add weight to the halo. She was up to 26 pounds on the halo before Wednesday’s surgeries, and she herself weighed 55 pounds, quite an accomplishment for a girl who doesn’t like the high-calorie drinks they’ve been giving her, but she was expected to lose weight following surgery. She also has had a feeding tube, to get more calories into her.
In addition to the surgery Wednesday, as Ariel experiences growth spurts in the future, those rods will have to be replaced.
Denise was told before the surgery that Ariel would go home next week, likely next Wednesday.
She said Thursday morning she is still sleeping in Ariel’s room, and is allowed to visit her in the ICU, as can her dad, one at a time — although they broke that rule Tuesday night.
The family has set up a GoFundMe page, which explains what led to Ariel being where she is now, to offset the costs of travel, parking and food.
To help, visit https://ca.gofundme.com/f/ariels-scoliosis-battle.