I thought I would post here what happened to Eira as lots of people have asked me what happened. We are numb and exhausted so please excuse the structure and syntax, it is not my normal writing but this isn’t a normal post. The first but of the post i wrote yesterday and the second bit I wrote today so this is a full update.
Edit: We have since written several posts about the Eira’s accident & journey here, click > here < to see them all.
Written yesterday, Monday 30th July.
Last night we were at a party at a nice hotel we hadn’t been to before. There were several kids there and our girls were playing with them and each other, mainly around a wooden gazebo next to a swimming pool. This gazebo was built a bit higher than ground level so due to the wooden railing around it you couldn’t see behind it when standing at the front or side.
We had been at the party for a couple of hours and some of the mums of the other kids were sitting in front of the gazebo as our kids played. There was a certificate ceremony after which I walked back to the gazebo and all three of our girls were playing . There were paving stones to each side of the gazebo that looked as though they were a path so it looked like it carried around the back of the gazebo and around to the front.
There was a huge crash, and from the side of the gazebo I saw corrugated plastic sheets tilting downwards and it was immediately obvious that there was a hole underneath and that someone or something had gone through the sheets and below. EDIT: We later found out that during the game of jumping off the gazebo railings onto the cushions in the gazebo, Eira had stood on the railing at the back, lost her balance and fallen backwards.
I ran around and looked into the hole- it was dark and deep so it took my eyes a few seconds to adjust and then I saw Eira at the bottom, laying unconscious on the floor. The hole was some kind of cellar type thing and she had gone through the plastic sheets straight down onto the bottom onto tiled floor.
I screamed my head off for Patrick and an ambulance and ran down to her. She was unconscious and I remember screaming her name, screaming “Help” in Indonesian and screaming “Jesus, please, I’m begging you.” I don’t know why I did this, it was just instinctive. I heard Esmae and Patrick both screaming- Patrick for my mum, Esmae from fear- and then people running.
A man helped me carry Eira up the stairs and a guest at the party who was an A&E nurse lay her flat on the floor and got us to stabilise her head while someone got their car to take us to hospital as it was quicker than an ambulance. Eira had regained consciousness but was kind of semi-conscious, confused and making strange noises but could squeeze the nurse’s finger and say her name and age which was a good sign. I feel sick thinking that I briefly thought that meant she didn’t have a head injury.
We put her flat in the boot of the car and I sat with her and held her head still in case of neck injury. The hospital was 10 minutes away and when we arrived Eira had a neck brace put on her and was put on a stretcher. In A&E the doctor checked her vitals, put a drip in and took her through for a CT scan.
Patrick and I were told to stand with the radiographer in the room next to the CT scan so we could see it through a window and talk to Eira through a telecom because of the radiation- in hindsight I should have insisted I go in with her because things got worse very quickly. The radiographer was looking at her screen saying the bottom bit of the scan looked strange and that they thought Eira must have moved her head, even though she was strapped to a board with a head brace.
The radiographer went back into the room and as she got to Eira she started ripping the straps off and yelled for us to come through. Eira had vomited as she was laying on her back and we had to sit her up and get the vomit out of her mouth with our hands. She began to bleed from her nose and vomit blood and Patrick ran to get a doctor who confirmed that she had swelling and bleeding on the brain. She said she needed another CT scan but that they needed to stabilise Eira first.
Then Eira became very sick, glazy and unresponsive and was taken to the resuss unit where they did different things to stabilise her. She went the colour of chalk and her lips were yellow-white, it was terrifying. At this point we thought she was dying and I had to go and tell mum, who was waiting in the waiting room with the other girls, the news and that the neurosurgeon has been called from another hospital.
Mum said that we should let Esmae and Elfie say goodbye so we had Esmae and Elfie come and say ‘goodnight’ to her, and that they would bring her chocolate milk in the morning, and they went back home with mum so they could not be around for whatever happened and because it was around 10.30pm and they needed to sleep.
The doctors managed to stabilise Eira with drugs to stop any more swelling and some other medication, and then did four more scans, a CT and other head scans, blood tests and an abdominal exam scan as her breathing wasn’t right and they suspected a collapsed lung. Thankfully her lungs are ok.
The neurosurgeon told us that Eira had fractured her skull which was what was causing the pressure, swelling and bleeding, and that we would need to monitor her to see if she needed surgery.
She had lots of drugs to prevent infection, stop her throwing up and to ease the pain. Miraculously she does not have any other broken bones.
Patrick and I stayed with her overnight and she had more tests, blood tests and medication. We sat next to her bed and watched her to make sure nothing happened without us knowing, so that if her signs changed we could run and get doctors straight away.
This morning Eira woke up and spoke- the first thing she said was “thank you for bringing me to this beautiful hospital”. She is still very sleepy and sleeping most of the time, although she managed to say hello to friends who came to visit her. Unfortunately she vomited blood twice today. This is indicative of a continued brain bleed but hopefully one that is subsiding as the other symptoms were being managed, and we have another meeting with the neurosurgeon tomorrow to discuss options.
Patrick and I, and Mum, are completely devastated as you can probably imagine. The last 24 hours have been the worst in our lives, pure hell. Telling my girls to go and say goodbye to their sister, thinking it was the last time they’d see her and leaving her laying there so pale and still, is something I will never forget. In a couple of hours we went from complete joy to trying to figure out how on Earth you announce to friends and family that your daughter has died.
I thought of different ways to explain it to Esmae and Elfie, and about what Esmae’s life would be like after seeing the accident that took her sister. I thought about how incredibly long every day of every year was going to be, trying to function with one of us missing. All of these thoughts went through my head in about thirty seconds as I watched the doctors work on her in resuss- the longest thirty seconds. You don’t get to choose what your brain does in these moments, it just does what it needs to do to get to the next moment, apparently very pragmatically.
As horrendous as it sounds it was easier using my brain to think about how to deal with the worst outcome rather than be fully present while watching it happen because it was too painful. Mum said she reacted very differently, refusing to let the thought enter her head, because she had the other two girls to look after and she wouldn’t have been able to keep it together otherwise. Patrick has been a rock, he is distraught and the look on his face when he came into the CT scan room and said the doctor had confirmed bleeding, is one that will never leave me.
We have got a library of hellish footage in our heads to work through, but over and above everything else, we have our daughter. Our beautiful, feisty, joyful, patient daughter. We also have new perspective on everything, a completely fresh set of eyes through which to view life, because we can live it together.
Thank you to everyone for your thoughts, messages, prayers, love and kindness. We have received hundreds of messages and reading them had been a great help and comfort while in hospital. We will update our Facebook and Instagram pages and here with relevant information. In the meantime please send Eira your love, it creates miracles.
Written today Tuesday 31st July
An update on Eira.
We are thankful beyond measure to be able to say that Eira is doing very well. Yesterday we were watching to see if she would keep vomiting but after the second time she stopped and has not vomited since. She is off oxygen most of the time and is talking like normal, all her personality is there and it seems as though her memory is ok.
We have seen three specialists today- an ENT (ear nose and throat), a consultant paediatrician and the neurosurgeon again.
The ENT thinks she has an infection from swelling in her ENT region and she has ear drops and nose drops to help this as well as IV antibiotics.
The neurosurgeon confirmed we do not need to operate on the fracture which is our biggest relief and that we can continue the drug treatment that she is on and monitor her. Because of what the ENT says there is a concern about infection spreading to the brain as the fracture is close to her infection but currently signs are good and we have no reason to think it won’t continue like this as she is on meds to manage it.
The paediatrician says she has analysed the blood that Eira vomited as well as her blood tests and that there is no serious stomach or chest issue and that she is happy to continue with the treatment prescribed by the ENT and neurosurgeon.
Eira has been eating and drinking small amounts, complaining that my velociraptor impersonations are rubbish and saying she wants to go home so we are thrilled with this normal behaviour. This evening about half an hour ago she suddenly started sobbing and saying her head was hurting which was quite sudden and worrying but she has had painkillers and various injections and is now asleep.
Esmae is much happier after seeing Eira today and said “Eira the other night you were terrible, and yesterday you were ok and now you’re amazing!” Esmae is looking forward to helping care for Eira when she comes home and we are hoping that being part of her recovery process will help Esmae get over the experience of seeing the accident. Elfie is fine and woke up asking for ice cream for breakfast and is very happy because she has some new Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle pants, standard three year old.
Patrick and I are holding out for the doctors to say Eira can go home as to us that will mean they are confident that she doesn’t have anything ongoing that needs managing, whereas at the moment the infection feels like it is hanging over us. The doctors are all stunned at Eira’s progress, as are we and if all continues we hope to be home within the week.
We really can’t thank everyone enough for your support- we have received hundreds of messages from people who read this blog or follow us online and from our loved ones in the UK, and we know that Eira has been incredibly supported with love, prayers and thoughts the past couple of days.
Our friends here in Bali have been nothing short of stunning with their help and compassion and have rallied around us amazingly and we are extremely thankful to have such a community here. Please keep Eira in your thoughts and prayers and hopefully I will be able to tell you soon enough that we are home.