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Oct. 11, 2018
For those who don’t know yet, On October 7, we were in Stinson beach with a group of 35 or 40 people having a glorious day celebrating Olivier’s 13th birthday, when Alexis went into the water one last time before cake, and had a boogie boarding accident. He must’ve hit his head on the ocean floor because he went unconscious, got a concussion, & lost all sensation and mobility in his legs and hands. He was dragged out of the water by two of our incredible guests and resuscitated by another who acted as a human ventilator for 10-20 minutes while we waited for the medics to arrive.
Alexis came to, but definitely seemed like he was in a concussive state - confused, repeating himself, asking over and over if he was going to be paralyzed.
Then he was airlifted to John Muir Medical Center in Walnut Creek. When he got there they gave him a brain scan and a CT scan. The brain scan was negative meaning that he did not have any brain damage or internal bleeding so that was good. And by the time I got there by car, he seemed completely cognitively himself (even on the beach when he started saying, “fuck, guys I can’t feel my legs” I knew at least his brain was fine:(
However, the CT scan showed that the vertebrae in his neck and been pushed over about half an inch to 3/4 of an inch during the blow between C6 and C7. He still did not have any feeling in his legs or stomach or hands.
Since then, it has been a whirlwind of sadness, shock, comforting kids, doctors, social workers, emails, calls, texts, plane tickets (Alexis’ best friend Eric came from Wisconsin and his mom and sister just arrived from France, and now my mom and Peter and dad are coming), sitting with him, standing over him, letting him sleep, turning on his beloved Brazilian music, visitors, food being dropped off, wonderful babysitters showing up and taking care of everything, offers to come, to visit, to do errands, cards.
The outpouring of love, support, and offers has been beautiful and sustains us. The kids - and I - find ourselves in the midst of our beautiful community with loved ones stopping by, bringing joy laughter into the house, making them feel so well surrounded and held. Plus, we never had so much good food. Thank you all!
Two nights ago, Alexis had the first of two operations this week to repair the broken neck. They put the vertebrae back into place from the front. When we went to visit him the next morning, he wiggled his hands. His hands! Then we saw him do it a few more times and move his wrists - both of which he wasn’t able to do before they realigned his vertebrae. One step at a time but that was good, potentially really good.
On Friday, (or later, depending on how well his blood pressure and breathing are going), They will turn him over onto his stomach and operate from the back of his neck. Because all the ligaments, that hold the vertebrae in the neck in place and give them support, got stretched or damaged, they will be replacing the ligaments with metal rods and screws. Because the two operations are so close together, they are leaving the ventilator tube in, so he is heavily sedated; in a dream like state. It’s important that they keep him sedated because the breathing tube is so uncomfortable that if he wakes up he will start coughing and choking.
This will be a long process...and a huge life change for all of us, and especially massively for Alexis; a physical beast whose mind body connection is the essence of who he is. 😢
Love to all,
PS. Also, please give only the most simple information to your kids, if you tell them anything. Only need to tell them if they know our family well. I don’t want them being traumatized, have a fear of the ocean, or for them that too many details to visualize. I also don’t want my own kids hearing anything from other kids. You can simply tell them that Alexis had a spinal cord injury and they are doing all they can for him to get better, but it might be a long process.