JACKSON, Tenn. — Chances are most of us have experienced the common cold, but for children it can be even more dangerous than you might think, especially when it becomes what’s called Rhinovirus.
In a backyard in Jackson, Tennessee, it’s not quite a World Cup stadium, but it might as will be as 14-year-old Emily Morales shows off her soccer skills. With every kick, head bounce, and defensive move against her younger sister and brother, Emily has always been passionate about soccer and being competitive in sports.
“I’m really, really into soccer. It’s been my life since I was very, very little,” she said. “It’s the thing me and my family really enjoy doing and it keeps us on schedule. So, I do soccer. If I don’t do soccer, I’m doing softball and if I’m not doing softball, I’m doing cheer.”
Emily does it all and enjoys getting involved in school activities like fundraisers, Beta club, and student council.
It was the last day of middle school when she suddenly felt very fatigue and dizzy.
“We were outside, and out of nowhere, I started feeling like lightheaded. I couldn’t see, and I didn’t have any balance or control of my body,” Emily recalled.
Even though it was hot outdoors, Emily said she was freezing, needed a blanket, and could barely walk.
“I was like, ‘I cannot walk. I need help. I cannot. I have no balance.’ I like leaned against my friend, and she said, ‘Are you okay?’ I said, ‘I’m not okay,'” she said.
Emily’s mom, Edna Morales, remembers getting a phone call about her daughter.
“It was very scary. Of course, you know as a parent, that’s like your worst nightmare not knowing what’s wrong with your children,” she said. “I remember getting the phone call from the nurse at school saying I think there’s something wrong with Emily.”
Edna is also a patient representative and works for the provider relations team at Le Bonheur. She knew to immediately contact Emily’s pediatrician, who said she needed to go to the Emergency Department at Le Bonheur Children’s Inpatient Unit located inside Jackson-Madison County General Hospital.
“Just having that expertise care so close to home and Emily needing it at that very moment. If the inpatient unit here in Jackson would not have been here, we would have sitting in the ER waiting for another ambulance transfer or waited an hour to get to Memphis,” Edna said.
Doctors and nurses conducted an evaluation of Emily and ran a series of tests to determine what was wrong.
“We found out she had an undetected UTI. She was very dehydrated and she had been showing some kind of cold symptoms like a runny nose and congestion. It actually turned out she had Rhinovirus,” her mother said.
Rhinovirus is a category of viruses which is among those that cause the common cold.
Edna knew her daughter would receive the specialized care needs at Le Bonheur’s Inpatient Unit.
“The actual unit is within the hospital, and just as soon as we crossed those doors, it’s like my heart sank, and I was like, it’s going to be okay. We’re here, and this is home, and they’re going to take care of her,” she said.
Because Le Bonheur’s Inpatient Unit was so close to home, Emily was able to get the expertise care she needed right away.
“When I went back for my check up to make sure everything was okay, I’m like, I’m so thankful that I have them and thankful that I’m okay now,” Emily said.
“I’m speechless because of people like them is that we’re here today and have my daughter with me and that she’s thriving,” Edna said.
Emily is thriving again because of Le Bonheur, but she’s also thinking about her future. Now, she wants to give back to the hospital by studying to become a pediatrician. Her mother also works for Le Bonheur, so Emily is now inspired to be just like her on a mission to take care of other children.
“In the future, I’m thinking about taking pediatrics, growing up around my mother,” she said. “Because if it was not for her, we definitely wouldn’t have a lot of things we have right now, and we definitely wouldn’t know how to be independent and powerful if we didn’t have a role model like my mother.”
If you’d like to support the life-saving work at Le Bonheur Children’s Hospital, scan the QR code, text “Go Jim Go” to 71777 or click here to donate.