Ariel Carr, the 12-year-old Crossroads student who underwent extensive surgery at the Hospital for Sick Children in Toronto, is home.
It was just last Wednesday, March 25, that she underwent an 11-and-one-half hour surgery to correct severe scoliosis, longer 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.
The surgery was planned for July, but was moved up to get her home, away from the risk of COVID-19.
The surgery went well, but by Saturday, doctors were concerned about Ariel’s difficulty breathing. She was diagnosed with pneumonia, and water around her lungs. Her mother Denise was exhausted, frightened, and heart-broken her little girl was in pain and suffering.
But fortunately Monday brought a different story.
Monday morning, says Denise, Ariel had x-rays taken, and then got the good news that she could go home.
The hospital is being emptied in anticipation of COVID-19 patients — Denise says there aren’t any yet, but the hospital is preparing for them — and Ariel’s doctor was very concerned about her contracting the disease. She would be safer at home, he said.
“Her doctor said she was doing great, and walking really well. He said he’s really proud of her — she’s a real trooper,” says Denise.
The trip home was a cautious one, with Ariel’s dad Colin (Ace) driving slowly, emergency blinkers on, and Ariel surrounded by pillows, in pain from every bump.
She is on several medications, has breathing apparatus to keep her lungs open, and is expected to spend most of her time in bed, but she has a wheelchair.
Making sure Ariel continues to gain weight is important, Denise says. Ariel was 43 pounds when she got to the hospital, and is more than 60 pounds now. She is also five inches taller, thanks to her straightened spine.
She’s in good spirits, happy to be home, and surrounded by family also delighted to have her there. They will be practising extreme caution, with Ariel kept in isolation to protect her from the virus, knowing with her compromised lungs, home is the safest place for her.
As the doctor explained, says Denise, there is medication for her current condition, “but there is no medication for COVID-19.”