“I can’t help but to smile when I see my baby smile,” said Nikki Dennis, Edward’s mother.
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Mom Nikki found NiKai’a was okay, but Edward wasn’t. Trapped under the bus in the wheel well, he was moments away from death, his right leg broken in several places, his left leg mostly severed below the knee.
“It’s my understanding with the injuries with the amputation that he would normally have bled out within 15 minutes, but miraculously, he didn’t,” Nikki said.
Edward was in a medically-induced coma. Doctors at Riley at IU Health performed several surgeries in that time. How he would respond wasn’t clear, not until he woke up and began to communicate not with words, but his hands.
“I couldn’t talk?” Edward asked his mom.
“No, you couldn’t talk, but you can talk now.”
Even when the words came back, the thumbs stayed up and became Edward’s signature move.
“So when I would ask him are you okay, he would do this and so now he does it double,” said Dennis.
And soon, Edward went from his hospital bed to a wheelchair. That’s when his healing seemed to kick into high gear.
“Just him moving, getting those muscles strong and getting the trache out, everything is fast forward, very thankful for that,” said Dennis.
To move forward meant fighting through pain. Pain no child should have to know, but is necessary for Edward to do the things he used to do. That’s where the therapy comes in and the expertise of pediatric physical therapist Brooke Patrick.
“He probably doesn’t understand all the pain and doing what I’m doing,” Patrick said. “He’s done a great job, and he’s a really tough kid.”
And as Edward stood for the first few times, it was hard at first. He winced the pain away. And in the end, his reward was the kind of therapy he clearly enjoys more than the rest. All of it’s focused on moving past the injury that fails to define his future.
“I think he can lead a fully functional life,” Patrick said. “We’re getting him a prosthesis now. Once he gets that, we’re going to work on standing on both legs, and once he’s able to do that, I think the sky’s the limit: walk, run jump, whatever he wants to do.”
“No matter what, nothing happened that’s going to stop him from doing anything he wants to do,” said Dennis.
Faith tells Dennis that, faith that’s come through prayer and determination. All she needs to do is look at Edward’s face to see both. It’s in his eyes, and on his face: a scar the accident left behind.
“God was with him the whole way and His way of showing me that was to brand my son with cross on his face. They said they could work on it to clean it up and make it look better, and I said leave it alone, it’s his brand from God.”