Wednesday, November 7, 2007

Jimi's day of fame in the Kern Valley Sun

It has a few pictures with it too, pretty neat. They got some things wrong but you get the jist of it.
Mom and Dad... I will mail you a newspaper so you have it in print. Love you!!

Jimi Hurley stages miraculous and unexplained recovery
Valerie Cassity-Special to the Sun

Jimi Hurley has always been a normal, perfectly healthy kid. She attends South Fork Elementary School, where she has never missed a day due to illness, and she also enjoys cheerleading and other activities. This year, Jimi and her family have survived a nightmare and been touched by a miracle.
It was Labor Day weekend, and like most kids, 10-year-old Jimi was enjoying the three-day holiday; carefree and playing outside soaking up the last of the summer weather, until Sunday, Sept. 2 when she became ill and started vomiting. Her mother, Danyll, thought Jimi might have gotten a bug and become a little dehydrated, so she took her in to Kern Valley Hospital on Monday, and in doing so saved the life of her daughter.
After running some tests on Jimi, Dr. Martin found her white blood cell was at 53,000, when the normal level is 10,000. The doctor suspected the cause was a ruptured appendix, and had Jimi quickly transported to Bakersfield Memorial Hospital. When her parents arrived in Bakersfield, the medical staff were still were running tests and getting Jimi set up for surgery. They had done a contrast MRI, and found her appendix gone, so they stressed the urgency of the situation.
The medical staff was having problems because Jimi’s blood wasn’t clotting, and they were afraid she would bleed out on the table. After Jimi’s parents gave permission for a plasma transplant, the doctor began surgery at 5 a.m. on Tuesday, assuring her parents that it would be a quick forty-minute surgery. 'I was a panicked mother; my husband and I were upset and worried so I asked the nurse, who had kids of her own, if she would come in and let us know what was happening,' remembered Danyll, 'She came back a little later to tell us that the surgeons had run into problems, and our daughter had to be cut completely open and they were flying her to a children’s hospital.'
When the surgeon began the routine procedure, he was shocked at what he found. Jimi’s appendix was dead, as was part of her colon and her omentum (stomach lining), and she had severe gangrene in her whole abdomen. Although the surgeon is still not 100% sure what caused this condition, he thinks that perhaps she had a blood clot in her appendix and colon, and that it was a blood disorder that caused her organs to die off. 'The surgeon was panicked, you could see it,' Danyll recalled.
Jimi was flown by helicopter to UCLA Medical Center, and the helicopter pilots broke protocol to allow Danyll to ride with her daughter to Los Angeles. 'They normally don’t let family go in the helicopter, but they didn’t think she would make it to the hospital and wanted one of her parents there when she passed away,' said Danyll.
But Jimi survived the trip, and when they arrived at UCLA, she was put into ICU on a respirator. She was still sedated from her previous surgery at Memorial Hospital, and the surgeons went to work. Jimi was cut from pubic to sternum in addition to the 5-inch incision on her right side where they had originally tried to clean out the appendix. They put a tube down her nose into her stomach, and were finally able to stabilize her, but the doctors didn’t have much hope of her survival. The hospital staff had the Chaplain visit the Hurleys, and she said that she would be praying for Jimi, but she and the doctors felt that the girl probably wouldn’t make it through the night. 'My husband was arguing with her saying ’─▓it’s not true,’' said Danyll, 'I was devastated, and it’s strange how you react. You go into survival mode, and disbelieve that your child is that close to dying.'
But despite the dire predictions of the doctors, Jimi survived. Two days after her surgeries, her breathing tube was removed, but the fluid in her lungs made it difficult to breathe. Jimi remained in the ICU for 20 days, during which time she suffered kidney failure, where her kidneys were functioning at only 8%. Jimi’s blood pressure skyrocketed to 190/120 and the doctors were afraid she would have a stroke. Her liver was failing and she got pancreatitis, which made her unable to eat or drink anything for 15 days. Jimi also became very swollen, and when the doctors removed the fluid her lungs collapsed, which the doctors said was the least of her worries at the time.
On top of her many physical ailments, Jimi developed ICU psychosis, where she couldn’t get any good sleep due to noises which interrupted her sleep cycle, and this made her delusional and combative. She didn’t know who her parents were for hours at a time, and she was ripping the tubes out of her body. 'At that time, the doctors told us that they didn’t know if she would overcome everything her body was going through. We would have one good day and two bad days; it was a horrible roller coaster the whole time. It was one thing after another, she would be good then something else would fail,' remembered Danyll.
Danyll says that the outpouring of support from the Hurleys’ friends, family, church, and community are what kept them going during this trying time. Jimi’s father Jim works at Verizon, and his coworkers donated their vacation time so that he could be with his daughter during her illness and recovery. Jim’s brother Ken and his wife Terry drove Jim to UCLA, and Ken stayed with the family the entire month they were there and wouldn’t leave their sides. 'That meant so much to us,' said Danyll.
Jimi’s friends rallied around her from the Kern Valley, as well. Every teacher and student at South Fork Elementary wrote her a letter, which Danyll says really kept Jimi’s spirits up and kept her going through the times she had to fight for her own life the hardest. Danyll remembered that Jimi told her a few times, 'I can’t do it any more; I’m just going to have to die.'
Now, Jimi is back home, and has returned to school and even cheerleading practice. The doctors have cautioned that there may be permanent damage to her kidneys, and are monitoring her regularly, but for all purposes, Jimi is once again back to her normal, healthy self.
Danyll thanks God for Jimi’s health, and says the experience has made her appreciate her family even more. Of Jimi’s miraculous recovery, Danyll says, 'She has a greater purpose; there will be a greater purpose to her being here. This experience has brought our family, church, and community a lot closer. There was a great outpouring of love and support from the whole community.'
Jimi Hurley
Copyright © 2007 Lake Isabella Kern Valley Sun