Posted: Friday, January 6, 2012 1:20 pm | Updated: 1:25 pm, Fri Jan 6, 2012.
Posted on January 6, 2012
Aguinaga, 43, was asleep in a Chevy Suburban on Oct. 16 when her boyfriend also fell asleep in the vehicle as he drove it near Llano, Texas. When he awakened, Aguinaga's mother Patricia Wade said, the driver over corrected and rolled the vehicle three times, breaking his own collarbone in the process.
Aguinaga fared much worse. The mother of four and grandmother of one suffered a spine broken in three places, along with fractured ribs and a slight brain injury.
Wade was at home when she got the call from Aguinaga's daughter about the wreck, and she called her other daughter, Chrissy Poole, of Roanoke Rapids, who works for the Halifax County Cooperative Extension office and informed her.
"When I got the call from my granddaughter I had to find out which hospital they took her to," Wade said. "They were giving her 24 hours and said we needed to get there right away."
Twenty-three hours later, Wade and Poole arrived at University Medical Center Brackenridge, where Aguinaga was drifting in and out of consciousness.
After 12 days in intensive care at Brackenridge, Aguinaga, who had no medical insurance at the time of the wreck, was flown to Pitt County Memorial Hospital in Greenville, where Wade said she needed to go in order to get better Medicaid care. And, of course, she would be closer to Wade's home in Conway.
As the days passed, Aguinaga's prognosis began to improve.
"They told us she would never move her legs," Poole said. "They told us the best we could ever hope for was an index finger and maybe a thumb, plus her head and shoulders."
Aguinaga, however, began to recover more quickly than many of the professionals believed she would and was able to go to Wade's home Dec. 21, where she remains, mostly confined to a bed but working to improve her mobility.
"I can move my left hand, my left arm and leg, and have very little mobility on my right side," Aguinaga said. "I can move my left hip, which makes it look like I can move both hips."
Despite her progress, Aguinaga has a long way to go, her family agrees, and taking care of her has already become a full-time job for Wade.
"She's here because she's my child, and there was no way I was letting her go into a nursing home," Wade said.
As Aguinaga progresses, Wade and Poole have to deal with various complications, including a lack of in-home care she was promised when Aguinaga was released.
"If they weren't going to have home health care in place, they should not have sent her home," Poole said. "Though we are glad she is home."
Aguinaga said she can feel her entire body and deals with "phantom" pains frequently, which are sensations that don't actually exist. Due to the brain injury, she has to be shown, however, before she'll believe.
"When I'm having phantom pains, it will feel like there's nails in my sheets or something like that," Aguinaga said. "(Wade) will have to actually show me there are no nails or fish hooks in my sheets."
Aguinaga also must be turned every two hours, given a lot of medicine regularly, and, if she gets out of bed, she has to wear a very painful rib and back brace she can't stand.
Despite the discomfort, Aguinaga, a former journalist and aspiring fiction writer, is looking forward to the day she can get out of bed and into a vehicle without excruciating difficulty. To that end, the family is hoping to hold a fundraiser in the next few weeks to raise money for a van equipped to handle Aguinaga's medical condition and carry her wheelchair.
Poole acknowledges, though, to plan the fundraiser, she's going to need help.
"One thing I know about our area is people are really great about buying plates for fundraisers," Poole said. "I just don't know the logistics."
In the meantime, Wade and Poole are happy to care for Aguinaga, and they are hopeful to see her walk again.
"This is my child," Wade said. "Even though she is 43, she's still my child, and I am going to make sure she gets the best she can get. But it's going to take a lot of work from a lot of people to get her where she wants to be."
Aguinaga is confident she can overcome this challenge with help from her family.
"My goal is to get back to normal," Aguinaga said. "I'm not going to let this ruin my life. This is a temporary thing, and I'm listening to the doctors who say I will walk again."
Anyone wishing to help may call Wade at 252-585-1191 or Poole at 252-673-9502.
Bobbie is my oldest and dearest childhood friend-Angie-