Skye Renee’s Survival Story
On April 1st, 2012 my daughter Skye Renee Jordan was hit by a truck. I will never forget the day as long as I live…
I had planned a volleyball tournament that week and was planning on playing that afternoon at 1:30. I was at home getting the kids ready around 12:45 and had it scheduled for my mother-in-law to watch the kids at 1:00. I went outside and my husband, Jordan, was shaving our dog and he said that he was going to change and head over as soon as he was done. I drove my car over there with my babies in the back. We sang the whole way to country music, and they were excited to spend the day with Grandma and Grandpa. I got there and took the kids inside; I found out that my mother-in-law had gone to town to get a car part for my father-in-law. It was no big deal, so I fed Caleb and Skye while I was there.
It became 1:00 and I needed to head to the courts (just a mile away) and spray the out of bounds lines, and put the bracket up. In that time Jordan had got to his parents house and he told me to just go down and he would wait at the house until his mom got there. I remember Skye coming into the living room and had a bottle of lotion in her hand, I took it out of her mouth and said, “Skye baby, this is not food, it is lotion.” Then I walked out of the house, not knowing what the next minutes would be like.
I got down to the courts and passed out rules and regulations and set stuff up. I saw that I had a missed call at 1:25 from Jordan. I joked and said, “Oh man, Jordan is going to be late.” So I called him back and he was screaming and crying and said, “I am taking Skye to the hospital, meet us there.” I knew it was bad because of his voice and I had never heard him to frantic. I was trying to get information from him, but he was screaming and just hung up. (I found out later that he had to let me go because Skye was unconscious, but throwing up on him.)
I just started crying, and told everyone that Jordan was taking Skye to the hospital, but I had no idea why. From there my adrenaline told me just to run the mile, because I could get there faster with out a car. (Obviously not realistic) When I got in the road I waved down a man coming to the volleyball tournament and asked him to take me to my in-laws house. When I got up the hill my mother-in-law was standing on the top of the hill on the phone with 911. I remember just yelling, “Robin what happened???” She told me that my husband had run over my daughter with his truck. I fell to the ground screaming… I was in shock.
We then drove 30 miles to the hospital. I called my mom and dad and told them. There was lots of screaming, crying out loud, and not knowing what was going to happen. I remember telling my mom that I can’t live my life without my baby girl, and that there is no way that God would give her to me and take her away. I prayed out loud and couldn’t stop crying uncontrollably. I was so scared, and the hardest part was not knowing what was going on and how bad she had been hurt. This was the worst day of my life.
My mother-in-law was on the phone with someone asking questions like, “Is she still alive?” I remember her saying that Skye was being life-flighted to Children’s Mercy Hospital in Kansas City. When I got to the emergency room I ran inside and there I saw my husband on his knees crying so hard and the doctor crying while telling him something. The doctor on duty that day was the same doctor that brought Skye into this world. I just started screaming, and told the doctor to go away because I needed to know what happened, I just needed to wrap my head around it all.
We were interviewed by the trooper, because it is protocol. Then they said that we could see Skye before she left for Kansas City. She was so swollen and beat up. I could hardly look at her beautiful face, motionless, and knowing that there was nothing I could do for her. I was so emotional not knowing if that would be the last time I would see my baby girl again. The doctor said she was stable for now, but they were keeping us aware that she was very critical and they didn’t know how long she would stay stable.
The doctor lifted up her eye and showed her enlarged pupil and said that this would indicate that the brain was swelling and that she was going brain dead in the right side. Then she showed us the right ear and all the blood that was coming out, and she said this would indicate that there was bleeding in the brain, and there was also spinal fluid coming from there. Her left side was all bruised, swelled, and scraped up. I just bawled until I felt like there were no more tears that could fall from my face.
The helicopter got there and they sedated her for the trip. I held her hand the whole way to the helicopter and sang to her, “”You Are My Sunshine.”” I sang that song to her in the hospital while she was born and every night since that day. I change the words and say, “”You are my sunshine, my only sunshine, you make me happy when skies are gray, you’ll never know dear how much I love you, please don’t take my Skye Bug away.”” That day it was so hard to sing the last part.
I prayed please God don’t take my Skye bug away. I saw her go in the helicopter and then we drove for the 2 hours to Kansas City, not knowing where the next few hours would lead us. When we got to Children’s Mercy we were brought into a room and a doctor came in to meet us. He told us that it would take time for us to know what Skye’s body was going to do. Then, she was very critical and we were told we needed to live minute by minute. She had a lot of trauma to her head. We headed up to the PICU and they showed us to her room. I held her hand and couldn’t stop kissing her sweet cheeks. She had a ventilator down her throat, a neck brace on, an i.v in both arms and in her thigh, she had a heart monitor on, and she was very swollen in her face.
The doctor came in with the Cat Scan results and he told us some good news. Her brain was not swelling, and it looked like her brain was not moving at all. She had a fracture in her front and back of her skull, and a blood clot forming in the front of her brain. They were unsure if it would get larger or stay the same, but if it got larger then they would have to closely monitor it and make sure it did not get into her brain. We would have to wait another 6 hours before the next Cat Scan. There is typically a 72 hour window to either get better or worse with brain injuries. They told us that it was just a waiting game, and that we would have to be patient. 6 hours felt like 6 days.
While the doctor was telling us about her first cat scan he started telling us that he was going to need to do a surgery to see if her brain was still functioning. He was explaining of shaving her head, and having to put a stint in her brain and then all of a sudden Skye started moving her arms and legs, and the doctor looked shocked and he yelled for the nurse and asked if she was sedated? The nurse told him yes, and then he said well it is a miracle, but she won’t have to have that surgery, because obviously her brain is telling her to move. I was praising God for that. It was amazing. Skye was trying to open her swelled eyes, and all she could do was look up. I could just see one little blue eye look at me and I was talking to her, kissing her and would not leave her side at all. My little Miracle Baby.
The 2nd day they decided that they wanted to see if she could breathe 95% and the machine would just help if needed. She successfully started breathing on her own, and was monitored very closely all day. I had all of my family there with me the first night, Aunts, Uncles, Cousins, and parents. Jordan had his mom, and dad, some siblings, an aunt, and his grandpa there also. We had a good support system and it helped.
The 2nd day was mostly spent bringing people in and out of the PICU and letting them see Skye and just say hi if they wanted too. We had some friends come up and see us, and we found out that if Skye did good that night then the next day she would be brought to the Burn Unit on the 2nd floor. We were so excited, and kept on praying that she would be healthy enough to move out of PICU. I was unable to hold her the first 24 hours of the accident, because of the ventilators, and because of her neck brace, but I waited patiently for them to tell me, “You may hold your daughter.”
I believe it was the 3rd day, that morning I had woke up with her and the nurse came in and said, “How is our little miracle baby today?” Everyone around the ICU knew that it was a miracle that she was functioning the way she was, and they were all so happy for her. That morning they took her neck brace off and I got to hold her for the first time. Her little voice was so scratchy from the ventilator, but I heard her whisper, “Mama”, and started crying. It broke my heart, and I started crying right along with her. I couldn’t believe of all that she was being put through, and I wanted to be the one lying in that hospital bed, and going through all that she went through. I just wanted to take all her pain away so badly. It tore me up. That afternoon they got her ready to move to the burn unit and we got all of our stuff ready to go.
Although Skye was awake, and responsive, she was still not the same little girl from before. She would stare off into the distance, and at times I wondered if she could hear me or even see me. The doctors and nurses would tell me that it will take time for them to know what all her body will endure from the accident. All they knew is that she suffered from a traumatic brain injury, and that the healing takes time. We met with a doctor that discussed with us all the things that would happen, but would be good because that would mean Skye’s brain was healing. They told us that she would be irritable, angry, distant, and not want many voices around her. (This was not the same little girl that I knew).
Skye couldn’t hold her neck up, she couldn’t eat normal food, and she coughed every time she drank anything. That 3rd morning the surgical doctor came in and he had just looked at his charts and said, “Well, she is eating and drinking, I believe you guys can go home this afternoon.” I was shocked and stunned, because I knew that Skye was far from being able to go home. I got nervous and so I talked with our nurse, and she brought down another doctor. We spent more 3 days in the burn unit, and then the Rehabilitation Team came down, and decided that Skye would be a perfect candidate for their team! Yay! So we moved up to the 5th floor!
We moved up to the 5th floor and started Skye’s therapy that week. She did physical, occupational, speech and music therapy every day until 3:00. She was a busy little girl. When we went up to the 5th floor she was unable to hold her head up, drink clear liquids, or eat food that was not pureed. The therapists diligently worked with her and got her back to her own level.
I recall one day where I was so discouraged and sad, not knowing if I would ever see my little girl smile again. It had been weeks and I still did not see her focus on an object or crack any sort of an expression on her face. I cried myself to sleep the night before Easter, and just prayed to God to show me some hope and to just let me see her beautiful smile again. When I awoke I heard, “Mama!” and I looked up and Skye was looking over at me with the biggest grin on her face, and she actually started to giggle. I was so excited, I jumped out of bed and ran to her side and we played all morning. My little girl had come back to me, and my prayers had been answered. The best Easter ever! Thank you Jesus.
She was on the 5th floor for 2 weeks and then they let us have a weekend pass. We went to Crown Center and showed her the water fountains and then took her to the shopping center to look around. We got back and we took her to play in the toy room. She had such a lovely time. It made her very tired, and sleep fastly approached. That was also my first time of getting out of the hospital, because for the 3 weeks of her hospital stay, I would not leave her side. It felt weird going outside after 3 weeks. I didn’t even know what the outside of the hospital looked like.
Skye did amazing in her therapies. She went from newborn stage to 19 months in 2 weeks. I am so impressed by her willingness to keep going, and always keep that beautiful smile on her face. We got discharged on April 19th, 2012. That same morning the Rehabilitation staff picked Skye out of all the patients they work with to meet the CEO/Owner of Children’s Mercy. They got to show her off, and all the wonderful things she had been doing. Skye hammed it up. She blew kisses, she threw the ball to her, and she would give her hugs. I found it to be humorous, and also just so amazing. My little girl was finally being able to do the things she did before.
That same afternoon we moved over to the Ronald McDonald House. I felt so lost and sad leaving the hospital and all the staff that we had gotten to know and love. Skye constantly wanted to run around, and that made me so nervous because there were so many sharp objects. My heart would literally stop beating every time she tripped. She started working at the Rehab Institute of KC on April 23rd, and from there on out she has been improving every step of the way! I am so amazed at her progress and how far she has come. I can’t imagine where my life would be without her by my side. It’s a wonderful feeling to be told that my daughter will not make it and then be told that she is breathing on her own.
I have had a lot of ups and downs, but I truly believe that this is the will of God. He opened my eyes to many things, and has showed me that no matter what his love is far greater than any love I can imagine. He let me keep my baby girl, and I feel so special for that. Skye is my saving grace, and she has pulled me closer to God. Because I know that through faith, and prayer Skye is alive and well. I am forever grateful.
Casey (Skye’s mother)