Miracle tot survives scissors through face
My husband always tells me that my son is the light of my life and I suppose it's true. I have a wonderful husband and a fantastic daughter but my little boy is my ray of sunshine.
Fengshuang is watching her son through the kitchen window. There is little furniture in the house -- most of what they had was sold to help pay the medical bills.
As he pushes a cycle backwards and forwards to a puddle of water - she smiles but then her face darkens and she starts to cry again as she recalls the day seven weeks ago when her ray of sunshine was almost extinguished.
Now that he is four years old he is so much more aware of everything around him and this was the first year when we were planning to get him involved in helping us with the festivities for the Chinese New Year.
This is the biggest event in the Chinese calendar -- everything shuts down and people celebrate the arrival of the new year. It doesn't matter whether you are in the capital Beijing or a small mountain village such as here at Erbozi village in Qinglong town where we live - here in northern China’s Hebei province.
My little boy Yuqi Lui was really excited - he vaguely remembered celebrations from the year before and this year we had promised him fireworks and coloured bunting. It was also a celebration of the fact that he had fully recovered from an illness. He had spent some time in hospital and cost us our life savings but had made a full recovery and now was just like any other mischievous four-year-old. When it was not following me around the house asking 1,000 questions he was out in the garden climbing trees or trying to get over the wall even though it is still much too high.
My husband, Tiancun, had put the wall around the house to keep him safe - and when he was in the garden I never really gave it much thought as I felt nothing could happen to him. How wrong I was.
It was mid morning on February 13th 2010, the eve of the Chinese New Year. It was a bright sunny winter’s day and Yuqi was helping me and my husband Tiancun with the preparations.
Because our garden is walled and secured for the little ones we had invited guests to us and we wanted to put up the bunting and scrolls. My husband is 38 like me and we knew we would never have another child partly because of my age and partly because of the restrictions on the numbers of children - so we wanted to really make this special. Children grow up too quickly. In addition we don't have much money -- my husband works occasionally in a local gold mine as a miner where he earns four euros a day - I don't have any job -- and we couldn't afford a bigger family. We are lucky to have this house -- it belongs to an uncle who is disabled. He has no legs and need someone to care for him -- and in exchange we get to live here.
We were married in 1995 -- you're only allowed one child in China and it was quite strict then -- although nowadays they are not so strict and when I got pregnant again by accident and realized we were having a little boy we were allowed to keep him.
My husband had gone out to hang some of the scrolls on the front door and then went to put some on the garden gate to welcome guests. The guest list included my brothers and sisters who we do not see very often and we wanted to make them feel really welcome.
I was in the kitchen -- there was loads that needed to be cooked and I remember hearing the garden gate creek open as my husband came back.
Yuqi heard it too and I heard him shout daddy and run out. He'd been sitting on the floor cutting up decorations with his sister Liu Ye, 13. They were making scrolls that are supposed to bring luck and fortune and ensure that the coming year is a joyful one. They were inscribed with good luck poems and phrases, but they turned out to be anything but. Yuqi too young to help hang things up so he was cutting up the pieces of paper.
It was great seeing how excited he was taking part in his first real New Year's festival specially with him being sick earlier. He couldn't concentrate on anything for more than five seconds - so when he heard the gate open and realised his dad was coming back and he leapt up and ran off shouting daddy daddy.
Tiancun was standing up on the step ladders pasting the last of Yuqi’s scrolls to the door inside. I looked out the window expecting to see him come into view and then suddenly I heard him scream. It was a terrible high pitched wail and my heart leapt into my mouth.
I remember I dropped the plate I was holding, sending it smashing to the floor. I was immobilised for a second as the shards smashed across the floor and then I spun round and ran to my baby.
I spotted him lying facedown screaming in pain just outside of our front door. Seeing that there was nothing he could have hit his head on other than the ground I started to calm down -- I thought he had just tripped over the door step and it would be okay.
But then I turned him over - I could not believe what I was seeing. Blood was pouring down my darling boys face. But worse than that -- a huge pair of scissors that he had been using to cut up the scrolls was now jutting from his face. He must have kept hold of them when he ran out to see his daddy and as he fell face first to handle that is that the ground and a sharp ends had plunged up to the hilt into his head.
I did not know what do. I almost dropped him in shock, but I knew I had to be strong for Yuqi and not show him how scared I was.
By this time my husband who had heard the screams had run over too and was holding onto Yuqi who had blood gushing down his face. He wanted to pull the scissors out of his face, but I stopped him. Even now I don't know why - but I now know that if we had pulled the scissors free we would have killed our son. Doctors said it was the fact the scissors had stayed there they kept him alive and prevented further damage and further bleeding.
My daughter Ye, she's just 13, that she had to get help. One of my brothers lived nearby and had an old transporter van. She was crying hysterically and I shouted at her and she ran off.
After what seemed like an eternity my brother arrived in his old van. By this time Yuqi was lying silently. We were talking to him trying to keep him awake and keep him calm. I didn't want him to go to sleep -- I was worried he might never wake up.
The journey was a nightmare -- where we live is very remote, and my brother's transporter is really old. It has no suspension and the roads are little more than dirt tracks -- with every bump in the road Yuqi screamed louder.
My heart was breaking to see him in so much pain, and eventually I couldn't take it any more so I told my brother to pull over and stop. I was convinced we were killing him with the scissors moving about all the time.
It took another hour to get somebody else to drive us. Not many people have cars and then it was another hour to the nearest clinic, a small, basic hospital.
On the way to the hospital, I kept telling Yuqi not to cry, as tears would make his wounds worse. By this time Yuqi was calm, the pain seemed to have eased. But I was still fighting back tears when finally we arrived at the clinic. As we walked in the look on the doctors and nurses spaces confirmed my worst fears.
A thousand scenarios were playing in my head, I was thinking of every possibility, what if he loses too much blood, what if he is blind, what if he doesn’t survive, but I had to calm down and think positive otherwise I would have gone mad. I had to place my trust in the doctors.
The head surgeon was summoned and he took one look at Yuqi and shook his head. He said there was nothing they could do and told us to get back in the car and go to another hospital.
In fact in the end we were turned down by three hospitals before we finally arrived 10 hours later at the Capital Institute of Pediatrics at the Xiehe Hospital in Beijing. Throughout that time Yuqi kept pleading for a drink of water, he was so thirsty, but I did not dare give him any liquid in case it aggravated his injury.
When we arrived at the final hospital doctors in the emergency department came rushing to Yuqi immediately. They said they had never seen such a horrific injury before. This made me nervous. I pleaded with them to do what ever it takes to help my son. I could not stand the thought of losing him. I promised that we would pay whatever it cost even though I knew it might take the rest of our lives to pay it all back.
Me and my husband then sat in the waiting room hugging each other and crying whilst doctors examined Yuqi. We had no idea what was going to happen to him.
The scissors had impaled Yuqi’s left hand side of the face and penetrated so deep that
they had jammed by the jaw bone. After examining Yuqi the specialist surgeon Dr Zhao Jizhi came to see us and explained surgery was the only option - and it had to be done as soon as possible. He told us that if the scissors had been pulled out when the accident happened our son would have died.
They said it needed a complicated operation and it was not just a matter of pulling out the scissors. If my husband had pulled the scissors out immediately he would have died.
He finally went into the surgery after 10 hours of travelling and two hours of tests to determine the extent of the injury. 12 hours in total. You have to remember it was the eve of Chinese New Year and it was very difficult to find specialist surgeons to carry out the operation.
Eventually the surgical team was ready. We were allowed inside to see our little boy before the operation -- he looked so small and helpless. The thought flashed into my mind that we might never see him alive again. I held back the tears until I got outside and then I just wept and wept. But I didn't want him to see me crying even though they said he was already under anaesthetic.
I kissed him on the hand because I couldn't risk knocking the scissors.
Once the doors were closed a team of specialists including Ear Nose and Throat Surgeons, Neurosurgeons and anesthetists worked together to remove the scissors and repair Yuqi’s badly damaged face in a four-hour operation.
The damage had been far worse than the initial tests have revealed but the expert team had taken their time and believed that a last-ditch was put in place that Yuqi would make a full recovery.
They said the scissor blade had pierced Yuqi’s upper jaw and by an incredible piece of good luck had stopped a millimetre from killing him.
I held my husband as Dr Zhao Jizhi explained they had had to cut more of Yuqi’s face and mouth so they could see exactly where the blades were placed. He said one millimetre of wrong movement on their part would have had fatal consequences.
When the surgery was over Yuqi was transferred to intensive care where he spent the next two days.
When I first saw Yuqi after the operation he was covered in bandages I could hardly recognize him. He looked so sick. But doctors reassured me he was going to be ok. I spent all day and night sitting by his bedside talking to him, stroking his hand and praying for his quick recovery. I do not remember the first days so well. They were a daze, I could not eat or sleep. I just sat there with my husband and Yuqi.
After two days Yuqi started to make a turn for the better. Doctors were surprised how quickly he started to recover and how bright he was.
I saw the wound for the first time a few days after the operation when the nurse came to change the bandage. His face was so swollen and he had so many stitches. It was horrible to look at my boy like this, but I was just happy he was making a recovery. Doctors reassured me that he would make a full recovery.
After 10 days Yuqi was well enough to leave the hospital. He was not fully recovered but could go home to recover.
On the day we left the hospital his face was still very swollen, but it was a lot better than it had been, there were no signs of infection and the wound was healing well.
Yuqi remained positive and was still the bundle of energy he had always been. He never complained although he was still in a lot of pain. He could not eat any solids for twenty days.
From day to day Yuqi got stronger and the wound healed. Yuqi had to go often to the local clinic for check ups and to get his bandages changed. But he was delighted to be home. He was still in pain, but he did not complain. He is very brave. He just liked to cuddle up with me and be looked after.
Now nearly seven weeks after the accident Yuqi is getting back to his normal mischievous self. I would say he has become a lot calmer. He still likes being adventurous but is a lot more careful. He now listens to us when we tell him to stop or to get down. I think he is scared such an accident could happen again.
I am now terrified to leave Yuqi alone. I always want to keep an eye on him. Maybe if I had been watching him closer this terrible accident would never have happened. I blame myself and I now never want to let him out of my site.
We thank our lucky stars that Yuqi is on the mend and will make a full recovery. It could have been so much worse."
Now we only have the financial implications to deal with. The treatment was very expensive, we are both unemployed and are a very poor family. We live on some benefits from the state, sometimes my husband can get work at the local gold mine, but this is very irregular. There is no regular work.
We now have a medical bill of 16,000 Yuan. We had some help from neighbouring villagers and family, but it will take a long time to pay back the debt. But yesterday I watched him climb his favorite tree. My little sunshine was back in my life and it was worth every penny.
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