Monday, April 26, 2010

Ten years ago

My oldest daughter was born exactly ten years ago.MC3When she was 6 months old, she and my wife were involved in a vehicle accident on a dirt road in Namibia.

After the accident, she seemed to be fine, but a while later my wife noticed that there was a dent in her head.  Something must have hit hard against her head – it may have been someone’s elbow, but we’ll never really know.

It looked like a golf ball had been pressed into the skull.  The size of this dent was roughly the size of a golf ball, although it did not enter the head that deeply.

She went for X-rays, MRI scans and all sorts of complex and upsetting medical tests.

Here is one of the MRI scans where they virtually “sliced up” the skull and checked different areas of the brain for damage.  This is the skull viewed from above:

scan0264 The dent can be clearly seen at the back of the head. 

When babies grow, their skull grows outwards as the brain grows. The growing brain pushes out the skull, which is still very flexible at this age. 

This injury could have been fatal, but the inward movement of the skull missed the crucial areas of the brain by millimetres, and did not cause any brain damage or bleeding.  Of course, at the time, there was no way to be sure of this.  The only thing the doctors could tell us was that the skull is still flexible while it’s growing, and that the brain would eventually push the skull back out as it grows.  She did not show any signs of brain damage, and responded well to the huge array of tests that are applicable to 6 month old babies.

It was basically down to a wait and see approach.

It would be an understatement to say that this was a stressful time in our lives.  You feel really helpless when your little baby has to go into big noisy MRI machines and no one tells you what’s going on.  And no one really seemed to know anyway.

The medical theory proved to be correct, and the skull slowly grew back to the way it was supposed to be, with the brain pushing it back into position.  I can’t really remember when I realised that the dent was totally gone, but it’s gone now, and we’ve pretty much forgotten about it.

We are very lucky and grateful today to have a healthy, bright ten year old daughter who excels in all she does, and who bares absolutely no sign of any damage.  She’s a great kid, and I can’t begin to describe how grateful I am.


God gave us a gift ten years ago, and when it was nearly taken away, He gave her back to us again.

Happy birthday, my Special!


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