Leonie’s life - and thus the life of her entire family - was turned upside down on the 21st of October 2016. "A friend of mine lost control of his fully occupied car and crashed into a tree at an angle.“ Leonies doctors diagnosed a severe craniocerebral trauma, cerebral haemorrhages, and injuries from the 4th to the 7th cervical vertebra. “Upon my arrival, I was told that I should probably say goodbye to my daughter”, says Manuela. Even one and a half years after the accident, this terrible advice still haunts the mother of three.
Leonie underwent emergency surgery the same night. “Afterwards the senior physician told us that Leonie was paralysed from that vertebra downwards.” Her breathing was also affected. The young girl was kept in artificial deep sleep for four weeks. In order to spend as much time as possible in the ICU, Manuela decided to close her photography studio. “At first, I just sat with her. As she slowly regained consciousness, we noticed that she understood us and was able to react. It was a huge relief.”
For Leonie, everything was pretty blurry at the time - also due to the painkillers she was given. Once she successfully passed all neurological tests, her cranial bone was replaced during a third surgical procedure. Leonie was admitted to a station that specialises in ventilated patients. “When my husband and I left the room, I cried in despair for the first time.” Shortly thereafter, the parents started adapting their home.
Leonie soon made progress and her hopes were confirmed when she managed to wilfully press her foot against a pillow for the first time.
She was subsequently transferred to the general ward and weaned off the opiates and made further progress by the week. “Soon after, I was put in a wheelchair. That was good, because I could really move my arms for the first time.” In the course of her daily physiotherapy and occupational therapy she even attempted to stand up. “I felt quite dizzy, but I was able to stay on my feet with a little assistance. It was nice that some patients saw me as a role model. They were motivated not to give up" .... to be continued. Stay tuned to hear the remainder of Leonie's story!