You never expect to be chasing a helicopter from Cape Girardeau to St. Louis at 2 in the morning with your son holding on for dear life inside of it, but that is what we unfortunately had to experience on December 5, 2015. Our 16 year old baby boy, the youngest of 6 children was in an accident about a mile from our house. He broke his femur, knee, shoulder, 6 ribs, he fractured a few vertebra and concussed his lungs. Upon arrival to the ER at Cardinal Glennon, we were received by a kind and sincere group of nurses and doctors who not only paid careful attention to my son, but to my family and I, as well. They could see how distraught I was, and tried to console me by letting me know that they would do “everything they could” for my son.
Once relatively stable, he was moved to the PICU. I was extremely pleased with all of the extraordinary staff from this unit. They not only treated my son with genuine love and care, but they put up with all of Alejandro’s family and friends for 38 long days and nights. Alejandro needed surgery to fix all the broken bones that could be surgically repaired, but his left lung was so bad we had to wait till it was strong enough to withstand the basic ventilation and anesthesia. On the second night into our stay his right lung blossomed and it was one of his most critical moments. If the nurses and doctors had not reacted so quickly, I do not believe my son would be here today; however, they were EXTRAORDINARY…..and they saved his life.
After that incident, Alejandro was on nitric oxide for his lungs, which would help oxygenate his body better. It was truly a critical time, but the medical teams all worked together until approximately day 21 when he was strong enough to go to surgery. About a week after surgery, he was able to come off the ventilator. At this point he began to feel all the pain he hadn’t felt because of the sedation, ESPECIALLY a nerve pain in his leg that no amount of medication seemed to be helping. The pain management team came up to talk to him and his pain was uncontrollable. Dr. Bansal educated us about a nerve block treatment. He did a test run with a single dose; it lasted 12 hours and completely took away his pain! Once we saw that this treatment would work, Dr. Bansal and nurse Virginia returned to put the nerve block catheter in for 7 days. This treatment was like magic, and it gave his body time to get the other long term medications working. I’m not sure how we would have survived without the block, because up until then, nothing had touched his extreme pain. We are so immeasurably thankful for everything that the wonderful people at Cardinal Glennon did to make this horrible ordeal a little more tolerable. From the cleaning ladies like LaShonda, Sandy and Ikea cleaning the rooms with a smile on their faces to the extraordinary nurses like Anna, Lucy, Kayla and Cierra, we are so grateful for everything they did for us. This is not even mentioning the out of this world doctors that basically live at the hospital making sure that their patients are safe and cared for.
We spent both Christmas and New Years in the PICU, and although our circumstances were not ideal, we can definitely say that we got our Christmas miracle and it’s all thanks to SSM Health Cardinal Glennon Children’s Hospital. From the beginning with the Cape Girardeau Pediatric Transport Team to the staff in the Dan Dierdorf Emergency and Trauma Center, the PICU, TCU, and ALL of the staff that helped us to get Alejandro home where we continue our journey to recovery, we are grateful we had access to the best care when we needed it the most.
Tamara & Carlos Rivas
Please join us and #TeamAlejandro #GBR16 in raising funds to support Cardinal Glennon’s lifesaving work! So many children and families benefit from this amazing hospital and we are excited to help make it even better! Every penny raised will go to the hospital and directly affect the children.