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April 11, 2012
Desirea Vazquez comes home for Easter
Vazquez is recovering from a brain AVM (arteriovenous malformation) she suffered back in December of last year
WESTBROOK, Minnesota (STPNS) -- WWG — Like most people Andy and Gusty Wahl and their children were getting ready for Christmas when their world was turned upside down.
It all started about five o’clock December 20 last year. Twelve year old Desirea and her two younger siblings Memphis and Joanna were at home waiting for their parents to come home from work. Desirea had just eaten a cup of yogurt and she felt sick and went to the bathroom and threw up, and had a terrible headache. Her sisters helped her back to the living room and she fell down. Memphis helped her up, and she was unconscious.
Her sister Joanna ran to the neighbors house for help, but shortly their step-father, Andy, arrived home and Memphis told her what had happened. He then dialed 911 for an ambulance, and went with her to the Tracy Medical center, while a neighbor stayed with the girls.
They had tried calling their mother who works in Marshall, but she did not hear the call, and was on her way home when she met the ambulance, not knowing her daughter was in it.
When she arrived home the girls told her what had happened. Gusty said “the girls and me jumped in the car and headed for Tracy. When we got there, they were doing tests and the helicopter was on the way from Sioux Falls. They took her immediately to the ER in Sioux Falls. When we arrived at Sioux Falls we were told by the doctors that she had a massive brain bleed due to a AVM.” The doctor there told them he knew a doctor at Hennepin Medical Center in Minneapolis that specialized in this type of brain surgery, so fifteen minutes later they were on their way to HCMC by air ambulance.
When they got there that night, they were met by brain surgeon Dr. Tumala. He removed a section of bone to do the surgery to stop the bleeding, but the section had to be left off for two and a half months before they could do the surgery to fix the AVM because of the swelling.
Gusty said, “Desi was there for 56 days — it was the longest time of our lives!” The first two weeks they were there, Desi was mostly comatose — it was almost a month before she began regaining small amounts of speech and movement.
Gusty said, “it was very much like a massive stroke, but she is not paralytic. Because of her age she will continue to relearn most of the things that were lost due to the AVM. Her right side is not functioning, but it is getting better.”
The doctors told them that the brain can continue to re-learn until about the age of 25. “So we are hopeful that she will eventually recover most of her movement,” Gusty said.
Desi was transferred to Sioux Falls Children’s Care Hospital and School Rehabilitation Center for five weeks before coming home about two weeks ago.
Desi continues to receive home therapy — she still requires assistance to use the bathroom, and uses a wheel chair most of the time.
Desi likes to talk but she is quite shy. She can talk well, but if asked a question she has trouble processing the information. “She really enjoys being able to play and interact with her sisters,” said Gusty.
The family has had a long haul going through three vehicles since the incident began. Two of them had transmissions go out, and three weeks ago they were in a roll over accident in South Dakota.
Gusty, her father John, daughters Memphis, and Joanna were on their way to see Desi in Sioux Falls. They had just entered South Dakota on Highway 34. Gusty was driving, following a semi truck, when a couple coming from the other direction side swiped the semi trailer. She hit the brakes and skidded and ended up rolling the vehicle. “No one was injured — it was a miracle no one was hurt,” she said. The vehicle was totaled — “it has been a really eventful few months,” said Andy.
The Wahls are really grateful for the work the Loggers did, building a wheel chair ramp, for Desi at their home in Walnut Grove. Working on the project were Andy, Mike, and Matt Wahl, Dean Baker, Tim Doubler, Rob Hansen, Tom Noram, Trent Baker, Nate Knakmuhs, and Dustin VanDeWiele.
Desi, a seventh grade student at Tracy Area School, is anxious to get back to school.
Gusty said, “it has been quite an ordeal for us — we are ready for it to stop.” “We are part way down a long road,”
Desi said, “I am happy to be home and I want to go to school so bad.”
The Wahls were blessed to finally celebrate both Christmas followed by Easter, as a family in their home.
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