A 9-year-old girl named Adalynn McDowell complained of a pinch while getting changed, next day, when she was taking off her nightgown, she felt a small sting on her arm, near her armpit area. She told her mother that she wants to donate the nightgown because it had a tag in it that was poking her.
Her mother, Jessica Calvillo dropped Adalynn off at school. She told People, “She was perfectly fine, happy and healthy. And then, at noon, her symptoms started.”
The young girl was experiencing “extreme pain in her arm.”
Mrs Calvillo told the media outlet, “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 mother rushed her daughter to the emergency room but the doctors could not identify the problem. After Mrs Calvillo instead they handed over a few antibiotics for pain relief.
She was dismissed by the doctors, “Oh no, that’s not a bite, it’s just a pinch.”
The mother then took her daughter to another hospital and they did not give any satisfactory diagnosis. “It kind of broke my heart because I’m a mom who is scared for my child. I wanted somebody to help me and I felt like nobody cared enough to help me. And my daughter, my 9-year-old daughter, was realizing that as well, and it just kind of broke my heart,” she recalled.
In a matter of hours, her daughter’s symptoms worsened.
“It was about 5:00 a.m. the next morning, less than 12 hours later … I knew things were severe. She got absolutely no sleep at all. I tried alternating Tylenol and Ibuprofen. I even gave her melatonin to try to help her sleep. Nothing helped.”
When the little girl went to the bathroom, she discovered a “terrifying” amount of blood. “She laid in bed, trying to sleep and would roll over and tell me how much pain she was in,” her mother told the media outlet. “She was definitely experiencing the pain fully, she knew that something was off.”
She was again rushed to the hospital and within an hour it was confirmed that she was bitten by a brown recluse.
“They told us she needed to be transferred to a children’s hospital for further observation,” the mom of four, shared. “They had to transfer her two hours away.”
The mother of four shared that it was a reaction to the bite, a reaction that less than 1 per cent of people face.
Adalynn was in the hospital for six days and she was “under the care of a plastic surgeon, haematology, orthopaedic surgery and nephrology, and she had to have a blood transfusion because of humanistic anaemia, which caused a complete breakdown of all her red blood cells.”
Her arm was braced over her head due to a lack of blood circulation. Mrs Calvillo shared, “Her hand was basically resting in a tube above her head, and she was on that for three days and that helped with the swelling and kind of moving the swelling from her hand, down the rest of her body.”
The doctors were also concerned about Adalynn’s kidneys shutting down when she was released from the hospital.
Throughout her road to recovery, Adalynn kept her spirits high.
“She was scared but we tried our hardest to keep her from understanding how bad it was or how bad it could have been,” the mother said. “I think with the type of person she is, she could realize we were all so scared that she was trying to be brave for us. Even through all her pain and drowsiness from the medication, she’d give us smiles. I knew the smiles were for me. They weren’t necessarily her happy smiles but more of a reassuring, ‘it’s going to be okay,’ thing.”
Jessica Calvillo shared her daughter’s 76-day ordeal on TikTok in hopes of spreading awareness and empowering other parents who might find themselves in a similar situation.
Adalynn has a big scar on her arm but has recovered completely. “She has a pretty big scar on her arm but that’s okay. She knows that it comes with an insane story and it shows that she’s a fighter.”
“She was selected for the softball all-star team. She’s back to being a happy, healthy girl who takes care of her younger siblings and is such a blessing to all of us,” the mother shared.