Knowing how to swim doesn’t stop 6-year-old from drowning

So many times, when you see a story about a child drowning, there will be comments such as “This is why my kids learned to swim” or something to that effect. People seem to think that knowing how to swim will safe guard their child from drowning. But sadly that isn’t the case as my neighbor found out.

Last Saturday, my neighbor had some friends over to enjoy her pool. That group included her daughter and her granddaughter. Six year old Ryland is a good swimmer. She has been taking lessons since she was three. She even has competed in a few swim meets. Ryland loves the pool and plays in her grandma’s (who she calls Bunny) pool all the time.

The doctors chalk it up to exhaustion causing her oxygen levels to suddenly drop while she held her breath as she tried to retrieve all of her dive sticks. The drop caused her to pass out. Her family was right there at the pool, but it still took them a moment or two to realize Ryland hadn’t come up for air. They immediately jumped in and pulled her out. She wasn’t breathing.

Luckily, there was nurse attending the party. She performed CPR as someone else called 911. Ryland began breathing again and was rushed to the hospital. While she was breathing on her own, she wasn’t conscious. They admitted her to the pediatric intensive care unit where they decided to keep her in a medically induced coma while they evaluated her.

It would be three days before they decided to bring her out of the coma. At that time, they knew she had some liver damage and there was still fluid in her lungs. But they wouldn’t know if there was any brain damage until they woke her up. Instant relief could be felt in the room as she immediately recognized her mother and her Bunny. She was able to whisper the answer to a few questions.

The next day, they took her off oxygen and even allowed her to get up though she tires easily and definitely isn’t back to her normal cheerful self. There will be a few more tests to run before she will be released from the hospital and her lungs will need the heal but so far everything miraculously looks good.

But Ryland’s story is a reminder to all of us that we need to be alert when our children are in the water. They could get a cramp, hit their head or as in the case of Ryland, suddenly pass out, and drown. Knowing how to swim is a good thing for everyone but it doesn’t make you “drown proof.”

Ryland’s mother is a single parent. While she has insurance for Ryland, there will undoubtedly be medical bills to pay. To help her out, a Go Fund Me page has been set up to collect donation to cover these costs. I know you don’t know this family but if you want to help, they and I would appreciate it. Even a small donation helps.

Losing a friend to cancer…and raising money for her family

I’m incredibly sad. My beautiful friend lost her fight with cancer. She was beautiful on the outside with gorgeous red curly hair. Trish was always smiling, so full of joy. And she was beautiful on the inside with her positive attitude and energy that was so contagious.

Never before have I seen someone so sure that she would beat the diagnosis of breast cancer. (See my post Explaining cancer and chemo to the kids.) Not once did she seem down about it. And it wasn’t just an outward show for others. Even her husband marveled at her “I can beat this” attitude. And she did. Nine months after her breast cancer diagnosis, she was cancer free.

That lasted just three months. Then the headaches – intense, hurt-so-bad-I can’t move type headaches – came. They admitted her to the hospital while they looked for the cause. It turned out to be cancer cells in her spinal fluid. (See my post about her cancer returning.)

I looked that up on the Internet after the diagnosis and found nothing good. It always indicated a tumor somewhere else, typically in the brain. But the doctors couldn’t find the source of the cells and started her on chemo.

She made it through this again, but her spirit began to wane slightly from this second round of chemo. trishBut she still made an effort to be involved in her children’s lives. She threw her annual Easter party for the kids. She came to their school performance. She took them to theme parks and festivals. She cherished every minute with them.

For Trish, her family meant everything. She worked hard to provide her kids with so many opportunities. She also worked to allow her husband to be a stay-at-home dad which in turn allowed him to volunteer at the kids’ school and be deeply involved in his children’s lives.

And now I fear all of that is going to change. I am not only sad to lose a friend, but I am sad that this is going to change the lives of her children and husband. She was the bread-winner for the family, and now her husband will be looking for full-time work.

Her children – eight-year-old boy/girl twins – are friends with my kids. They walk to and from school with us and often her kids are over here or mine are over there. Jase had Emma in his kindergarten class, and they now have third grade together. Noah is Jase’s best friend. I am heartbroken for them. No child should ever have to lose a parent.

When I picture Trish in my mind, I don’t remember the woman who was sick. Even though she was brave in the face of something that I don’t wish on anyone, what I remember most about her was her smile and upbeat attitude. So when I think of Trish, I picture her wearing her black dental hygienist scrubs, her long red curly hair pulled back in a high pony tail, her glasses perched on her nose. She is smiling and bouncing around as we walk the kids to school. And that is how I want to remember her.

Now in all my posts about my friend and her cancer, I have referred to her as Patty. This is the name she grew up with, but I have always known her as Trish. I used the other name originally to protect her privacy. But now I am going to do something I typically wouldn’t do.

Trish loved her family. But as I said, she was the main income provider for the family. Her husband worked part time a few evenings and weekends when she was home to take care of the kids. But now the family is without Trish, and things are about to change. Her husband will have to get a job that pays more than his part-time employment. They have medical and funeral expenses hanging over them while they transition their lives.

A friend of mine and I have set up a fund to help out Trish’s family. (On the donation page, I am part of the “Henry family” – in case you are wondering.) And this is where it gets to something I typically wouldn’t do – I am asking anyone who can help to donate money to her family. Every little bit will help. I know they would appreciate it and so would I. She truly was a wonderful person. She will be missed but not forgotten.