Alix's Story: Parent's Letter Project Severe accidental injury- Alix's dad

I was sound asleep in my hotel room in Paris. It was 3:30 am on March 24, 1995. I remember the exact date because it was the day after my daughter Alix's first birthday. I had been feeling sorry that I could not be home to mark the occasion, but was glad that my wife and her parents were there to make sure Alix had a good day. After a long week of work, I was looking forward to a day of seeing the sights and then returning home the next day.

But it did not happen that way - the phone rang and it was my wife telling me, between sobs, that my precious 1-year-old had escaped supervision and tried yet again to climb the stairs by herself, and in doing so had fallen backward and fractured her skull. With a dent in the back of her head and slipping in and out of consciousness, in was not clear if she was going to survive.

The rest of that day was an experience in anxiety that is hard to describe. An endless wait at the airport, an endless trans-Atlantic flight...

But the reason I am sharing the story is that the staff at Children's National responded so well to this crisis. They were calm and attentive when Alix and my wife arrived, quickly determined that they could probably address the problem by "popping out" the dent in Alix's head like an auto body specialist with a dent in a fender. They performed the procedure right away, and calmed my wife down. The doctor that performed the procedure came by 10 minutes after I arrived and explained the injury and what had been done to correct it in a calm and forthright manner. The nursing staff was supportive over the next 48 hours as my wife and I took turns staying with Alix until she was released from the hospital.

Alix was quite a sight with her head wrapped in bandages. I will never forget it. Subsequently, every fall that she took over the next few years provoked more than a little overreaction on my part. But now, as I watch her charge up and down athletic fields playing whatever sport is in season, it shocks me to realize that memories of that night and the anxious days that followed almost never enter my thinking. Children's National took care of her. I am forever grateful.

Sincerely,

Alix's dad, Mike

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