By Kaelanne Jordan
An accident on what should have been a beautiful Easter Sunday (April 11) family outing to Paria, resulted in 15-year-old Ayden Attin, an aspiring technology student being paralysed from the neck down.
In his excitement on bathing in the Paria river after a game of football, Ayden dived in without checking the depth and hit the sand with such force it fractured his #7 cervical vertebrae, leaving him instantly paralysed.
“He said he couldn’t feel his legs. His father thought it was cramps. He [Ayden] said no. The cousin said, do not move him. And they called for an airlift,” Ayden’s mom, Arlene Rodney told The Catholic News over phone.
Ayden was airlifted to Arima General Hospital then transferred to the Eric Williams Medical Sciences Complex until his discharge in May.
He underwent numerous tests and surgeries which have allowed him to at least sit up with a neck brace on for safety.
Rodney explained the fractured vertebrae put pressure on his spine. They were removed and replaced with a plate.
Since then, with continuous therapy, Ayden has been able to regain use of his arms, in a limited way, and very slight feeling in his legs.
“The feelings coming slow but sure. I trust in God…. The doctors said he won’t be able to walk again but I refuse to believe them. God has the final say….” Rodney declared.
She said Ayden is “moody” at times and would comment, “Why me? Why me? Why this have to happen to me.”
“But I try to keep him occupied …he has his phone; he will chat with his friends …but at times he’ll be very moody because he’s only human and as the social worker said it’s something that plays on your mental.”
Ayden is a Form Three pupil at Diego Martin Central Secondary School. Rodney praised the school, adding that the school has been good to them.
“The school offered a case of pampers at my job. I told the teacher, ‘Miss you have done too much for us already’ and the teacher said, ‘let me tell you something, Ayden was never a rude child and the day that child step foot in our school, he became our child’. His teachers have been reaching out daily,” Rodney explained.
She mentioned talks with the school of Ayden being homeschooled. However, Ayden is eager to return to the physical classroom. The school is not wheelchair accessible.
Emotional and financial toll
Rodney explained the cost of the therapy sessions is taking a financial toll on the family. “Everything is a lot of money,” she said. The family hosted a barbecue earlier this month to raise funds to offset therapy sessions.
One hour and a half session costs TT$350. Rodney said they aim for three sessions a week at home. Ideally, Ayden is required to visit the therapy facility in Chaguanas, but the family is constrained by lack of transportation. Sometimes they would have to hire a taxi. “It’s hard,” she said.
Rodney explained the sessions are to help Ayden regain movement. He is learning to regain upper body strength to move from the bed to the chair.
Of the ordeal, Rodney revealed, “I break down. It’s not easy. I cry. The doctors and nurses said mommy when you came in here, I saw the tears on your face. Sometimes I now doze away, and he is waking me up and I getting up shaking. It plays on your mental. Sometimes everybody calls me, and I have to give them the story and I keep crying. It’s hard. I talking to you and my eyes teary right now,” Rodney said.
She shared Ayden’s siblings are all equally affected by the ordeal. “My big son don’t like to see him. When he came to see him at the hospital, he cried, and he walked out. He couldn’t handle it. He doesn’t want to see him. He said his brother was not like that so it’s hard for him to come and see his brother like that. So, he doesn’t stay around him for long. But I have to be strong for him,” Rodney said.
Rodney remains hopeful that with therapy and her faith in God, Ayden will walk again.
“…he will get there, and I believe this is going to be my testimony, my son will walk again,” she said.
Ayden needs our help. You can make financial contributions via Direct Bank Transfer to:
Republic Bank, Tragarete Road, POS
Chequing Account: 560021775701