A Regular Morning Turned Concerning
A mother realized the importance of not dismissing her child’s discomfort. Jessica Calvillo’s typical morning with her 9-year-old daughter Adalynn McDowell took a concerning turn when Adalynn mentioned a slight prick while changing clothes.
A Minor Complaint Escalates
“At around 7 a.m., as she was taking off her nightgown, she felt a tiny poke in her arm, close to her armpit. She expressed a wish to donate the nightgowns due to an uncomfortable tag,” Jessica recounts to PEOPLE. Despite this, they proceeded with their day, unaware of the impending distress.
Unexpected Health Scare
After dropping Adalynn at school, where she seemed completely fine, Jessica received news around noon that Adalynn was now in “severe pain in her arm.”
A Frightening Experience
“She said it felt like lightning shot in her armpit and then she had fever chills. Her skin was pale and clammy, and her lips were purple and she was just shivering. She couldn’t stop shaking and she was kind of hunched over,” the mom recalls.
Emergency Room Disappointment
Jessica took Adalynn to the emergency room but quickly found she wasn’t satisfied by their experience there. “I explained to them all of her symptoms and what had happened and that I suspected the poke on her arm was actually a spider bite because the brown recluse spider is very common in the area we live in.” Despite her concerns, the medical professionals dismissed her worries. “I had explained that to the nurse practitioners who barely glanced at my daughter’s arm before saying, ‘Oh no, that’s not a bite, it’s just a pinch.’ ”
Dismissed Concerns and Discontentment
The nurse attributed the 9-year-old’s fever to a virus or COVID, but Jessica and her sister objected. Despite their insistence about a spider bite, they were discharged with a vague mention of redness and prescribed antibiotics to appease their concerns. Dissatisfied and fearful for Adalynn, Jessica decided to seek another emergency room.
Continued Desperation and Heartbreak
However, the subsequent emergency room visit was another disappointment, with a repetition of dismissal, leaving Jessica and Adalynn feeling uncared for and despondent. “It kind of broke my heart because I’m a mom who is scared for my child… And my daughter, my 9-year-old daughter, was realizing that as well, and it just kind of broke my heart,” Jessica expressed her agony.
Worsening Symptoms and Final Confirmation
Hours later, Adalynn’s situation escalated, revealing a horrifying amount of blood and undeniable severe pain. The desperate return to the hospital finally yielded a confirmation of the brown recluse spider bite, leading to an urgent transfer to a children’s hospital two hours away for specialized care. Jessica’s persistence in seeking attention and care for her daughter ultimately shed light on the gravity of Adalynn’s condition.
The Support of a Village
In this trying time, Jessica experienced the strength of community and family. Despite separate lives, Adalynn’s parents and their spouses collaborated seamlessly to ensure the wellbeing of all children involved. “It really took the whole family to work together to make it where it was possible for me to be there with Adalynn every single minute while she was there,” Jessica gratefully acknowledged.
Comprehensive and Compassionate Care
At the children’s hospital, medical professionals provided clear and considerate explanations, ensuring both Jessica and Adalynn were at ease. Specific discussions were tactfully conducted when Adalynn was asleep to avoid causing her additional distress. They discovered that Adalynn was among the rare cases experiencing severe reactions to a brown recluse bite, most of whom are children.
Intensive Care and Multiple Specialists
Adalynn’s six-day hospital stay involved the expertise of various specialists. Her condition required the involvement of a general surgeon, an infectious disease doctor, a plastic surgeon, and specialists in hematology, orthopedic surgery, and nephrology. The comprehensive medical attention, including a critical blood transfusion due to hemolytic anemia, underscored the seriousness of her condition and the significant impact of the spider bite.
Maintaining Spirits in Challenging Times
Despite missing joyful events like her softball season and school, Adalynn’s resilience shone through her ordeal. Her fear was countered by a strong attempt to shield her from the gravity of her condition. “She was trying to be brave for us,” Jessica reveals, highlighting her daughter’s courage amidst pain and the heavy impact of medication. Adalynn’s smiles, though not expressions of happiness, served as a comforting reassurance to her family in these daunting times, a gentle whisper saying, “it’s going to be okay.”
Finding Strength in Tough Times
For Jessica, navigating through this traumatic period proved intensely challenging. “Everybody says that going through anything with your child and that fear of losing your child is the worst thing a parent can experience, and it’s absolutely true,” she expresses her heart-wrenching feelings amidst the ordeal. At moments, the overwhelming fear almost shattered her mental fortitude.
Nevertheless, her robust support network played a crucial role in bolstering her resilience. The power of prayer emerged as a beacon of hope, infusing her with the necessary strength to traverse this tumultuous journey for her daughter’s sake.
A New Chapter Brimming with Hope
As the leaves turn and fall announces its arrival, Adalynn embarks on a fresh chapter, leaving her harrowing experience in the past. “This is a story, an experience, but it’s not who you are anymore or what you’re going through anymore,” she accepts with maturity beyond her years.
Brimming with renewed vitality, Adalynn reclaims her lost joy and aspirations. Despite the significant scar etched on her arm, a silent testament to her ordeal, her spirits remain unbroken. She embraces it as a mark of her incredible resilience and a reminder of the extraordinary story she carries.
Celebrating her unwavering spirit, she earns a spot on the softball all-star team, reclaiming her position in the field. Today, she stands as a beacon of health and happiness, a loving sister and an endless source of joy and blessing for everyone around her.