When Everything Falls Apart While Your Husband is En-Route Home
--Guest post by military wife Brittany Wright
The beginning of 2011 did not start off well for my family. On January 4, 2011, just two days after our oldest son Zachary turned two, he was brutally attacked by our household dog; an event which nearly took his life. It was the worst experience any parent would ever want to endure. I was 39 weeks pregnant at the time.
We were all watching television late that night when Zachary decided to snuggle up with our dog like he has always done before. For some unexplained reason our dog’s behavior took a turn. He pinned my son down to the floor, locking his teeth into my son’s skull and shook him across the floor like a rag doll. My mother and I jumped up to pry the dog off. We tried everything from pounding our fists into the dog’s head hoping he would let go to trying to pry his teeth apart - but nothing worked. Finally, I made a crazy decision to poke the dog in the eyes which got him to release my son and drop him to the floor. My mother picked our 45lb dog up with one hand and threw him outside.
While she was handling the dog, I was able to pick my son up. I assumed the worst because during the whole attack we didn’t heard a cry from my son. We were worried that the dog had killed him so I was relieved when he started to sob. I knew we weren’t in the clear yet though and I told my mother that we had to rush my son to the hospital. He had a gaping hole in his skull and blood was gushing out of him.
I was frantically searching for my keys until my mother calmed me down and said we needed to call 911. When the paramedics arrived they observed his wounds and immediately rushed my son and I to Maricopa Medical Center in Phoenix, AZ. When we arrived they flushed out his wounds to get a better view of what was going on underneath all the blood and that is when they decided he needed to get a CAT scan of his head to make sure the teeth didn't puncture through the skull.
When the doctors decided he needed emergency surgery, I started to cry and the doctor on call that was helping us proceeded to tell me it looked like the dog punctured a hole through the skull and possibly into the main vein in the brain and parts of his brain. He told me that I would then have to meet with the neurosurgeon to discuss further details. When it came time for surgery the neurosurgeon was incredible. He was able to explain everything in detail so I fully understood what was going to happen. He kept me calm until he had to tell me the three possible outcomes: The first outcome was that the main vein was punctured which would result in death. The second outcome was that parts of the brain which were punctured which would need to be cleaned out and possibly removed. Third outcome was that the brain and vein were not punctured so all they would have to do is clean out the inside of the skull to prevent infection. Waiting for his surgery to be lasted an eternity.
The worst part of all of this was my husband was in mid transit coming home from Afghanistan for his R&R. I made several calls to the Red Cross so they could contact him but because he was in mid transit they said it might not be possible.
Out of desperation, I wrote on my husband’s Facebook wall in case he decided to check his emails when he stopped to switch planes. And that was exactly how he found out. By the time he received my email my son was out of surgery. The neurosurgeon came out and announced with joy that Zachary was ok. The puncture was 1 cm away from the main vein in the brain and there was no permanent damage.
But that wasn’t the last of our problems. While Zachary was resting from the surgery, the nurses noticed my legs swelling and ushered me to the maternity triage where they took my blood pressure. It was so high I was at risk for a heart attack. They then ran a urine sample where they found protein in my urine. I was diagnosed with preeclampsia and hypertension and had to be medically induced ASAP.
My poor mother was running back and forth between two floors checking on me and my son. My younger brother arrived at the hospital and was able to stay with Zachary while my mother assisted me in birth since my husband was still en route to the hospital. Instead of having back or stomach labor I was having chest labor. Every time I peaked in a contraction I couldn't breathe and my chest hurt. The OBGYN was so concerned she ran an ultrasound to make sure I wasn't having a heart attack. Sixteen hours later I gave birth to my youngest son, Skylar at 4:01am. My husband arrived the very next day.
The very next day is when my husband finally arrived home. Zachary remained in the hospital for an entire week before being released but had to return two more times for suture removals from his skull and face. Just last month Zachary was finally given a clean bill of health.
Today we face another challenge. Our youngest son; Skylar was diagnosed with a moderate to severe case of Plagiocephaly and Brachycephaly which requires him to wear a Doc Band "Helmet" for 23 hours a day for two months to re-correct his misshaped head. He will need to meet with the cranial specialist once a week for band adjustments and physical therapy to strengthen his neck muscles. Unfortunately, we were denied by Tricare because this treatment is considered cosmetic. Luckily, my parents were kind enough to pay the $2,500 for the procedure.
I contacted several other insurances companies to see if they would pay for this but I was turned down. I even went down to Social Security to try to get SSI but according to them my husband made too much money.
My husband returned home this past October to many surprises in store. I had his dad fly out to Fort Drum and surprise him at the welcoming ceremony and I also bought him a brand new truck. But the happiest moment was watching my husband hold his little boys for the first time in almost a year. The last time he saw our youngest was shortly after he was born so when my husband was reunited with him again he was 9 months old.
Skylar and Zack with their dad
**Tune In to "Coming Home" Sundays at 10p/9c on Lifetime.