JOY TO BE HOME - After hospital release, Kaylan and sibling Shyann laughed, chatted and ate all night long
Having been released from hospital on Saturday, Kaylan Dowdie spent her first night at home rebonding with her family, especially her younger sister, Shyann.
"They laughed and chat, and watched TV. They were up until very late, although I keep telling them to go to sleep. They ate down the house like 'chi chi'," the children's mother, Veneisha Buckley, told THE WEEKEND STAR yesterday.
Shyann, 11, is Kaylan's only sibling. Like other family members, she spent the last 18 months on tenterhooks as her elder sister fought for her life following a vicious attack at a party in November 2020.
Following the incident, Buckley said doctors had given Kaylan a slim chance of surviving.
"I am just coming from the hospital, and the doctors are telling me that she is not going to make it," Buckley told THE WEEKEND STAR shortly after her daughter was admitted.
"Is one per cent chance dem give mi baby to live, just one per cent. The one per cent is just because her eyes are open. My baby cannot breathe on her own at all. The doctors say they can't take her off the machine. They beat my baby and gave her one per cent at life."
Despite the long shot, Kaylan, 19, fought like a Titan, to the point where she has now been released from hospital and is sleeping in her own bed.
"I am very happy to have her home, and it proves that with God all things are possible," Buckley said.
However, the teenager's journey to recovery has been far from easy. Her heart stopped beating at least 10 times, the longest being for 20 minutes. She suffered memory loss, has done multiple blood transfusions and surgeries, and has had major respiratory issues.
Buckley told THE STAR that the past 18 months have been very difficult. She said, too, that she was not prepared to give up on her child's recovery.
"My love for my child kept me going. I could not let go. We have a close bond and there is a lot of love in our household. One life is worth fighting for, and I would have wanted her to do the same for me had I been in that position. I will fight with my last breath and give her that last breath, should the need arise," the mother said.
Now home, Kaylan depends on an oxygen tank and a BPAP machine, which helps her to breathe. Her mother said that there is no timeline as to when she will stop using the equipment, as this depends on how quickly she recovers.
Neurosurgeon Dr Roger Hunter said that Kaylan can lead a normal life, with the right support.
"Babatunde (late radio host Winston Witter) had a severe head injury and he came back to lecture and work, but he was never quite the same again. He, however, lived over 20 years after his injury, and I was one of the surgeons who treated him when he crashed off his bike. Dancehall artiste Tiger came back as well, but he did not quite perform to the level where he was," Hunter said.
The neurosurgeon said that it requires a lot of community effort to rehabilitate someone following a severe head injury, as it can take 20 times the cost of keeping them in the hospital.
"It will be a long process to recovery. It is a lifelong process with life-changing injuries. It is very unfortunate what happened to Kaylan, but it's likely to be permanently life-changing unless there is a breakthrough in medicine, which you will never know until it happens," Hunter said.