Woman's life changed forever after she dove into a pool at a party - and woke up quadriplegic

2022-11-25 13 Dailymotion

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A woman's life changed forever after she dived into a pool at a party - and woke up quadriplegic. Sporty Dana Barrett, 31, celebrated her victory in a game at a garden party by diving into a pool - but it ended in horror. The incident, on 29th June 2019, saw Dana hit her head on the bottom of the pool - and break her neck. After being rushed to hospital by air ambulance, she learnt days later that she had broken her C2 vertebrae in her neck - leaving her quadriplegic. Dana spent over a year in various hospitals as she was no longer able to move or breathe independently. Once very sporty, Dana was forced to come to terms with the fact that her life would be very different from now on - and warned others of the dangers of diving. Dana, a former restaurant manager, from Long Island, New York, US, said: "I remember diving into the pool and hearing my neck crack, then nothing. "I woke up briefly to my boyfriend giving me mouth to mouth, then I didn't wake up again until I was intubated in hospital two days later. "I thought I was having a nightmare at first, like I couldn't move because I was being held down - and then I was told what had happened. "Then nobody could visit because of covid and being alone so much made me really depressed thinking about how my life would be like that forever. "But now it's been three years and I've come to terms with my new normal. "I still have struggles and get upset sometimes but I am very happy where I am now - I'm still the same Dana. "I dived into that pool millions of times before, it's just something you never think will happen to you." Dana was once sporty and active - playing volleyball, basketball and lacrosse throughout high school and doing gymnastics from childhood. But she was at a pool party and barbeque with friends and boyfriend Seamus Cantwell, 31, at his home, when that changed for good. After winning a game of mini golf, Dana dived into the pool in celebration - but misjudged the depth and hit her head. She said: "The pool was shallow at one end and deep at the other, I went to run and dive into the deep part but didn't run far enough. "As I hit my head, I actually heard my neck crack. "I floated back up to the surface and I couldn't move - but could hear people around me. "My friend thought I was joking - I could hear her saying 'Dana, stop messing around now'." Then Dana passed out - because the moment she broke that vertebrae she became paralysed from the neck down, meaning she could no longer breathe independently. She recalled waking briefly to Seamus, a bartender, giving her mouth-to-mouth surrounded by all the party guests - but then didn't wake again until she was in hospital days later. She learned she had been intubated and put in an induced coma at Stony Brook University Hospital, Long Island, after being airlifted there. Dana said: "I thought I was having a nightmare at first, I felt like I was being held down really hard. "I would try and lift my head and I felt like it was being pulled back down. "I was getting so frustrated." This was when hospital staff came in to reveal to her the horrifying truth that her accident had rendered her quadriplegic. After two months she was then moved to an acute rehab for a further two months, Mount Sinai Rehabilitation Centre, where she began doing physical therapy. It was here she learnt once more to speak, eat and drink normally and move her head up and down and side to side. At this point Dana also began trying out some different wheelchairs to prepare her for semi-independent living. After that, she was moved and began recovering at a local nursing home, Medford Multicare, before catching pneumonia and being forced to return to Stony Brook for a month for further treatments. She was being visited every day by her family and Seamus - then Covid hit and curtailed visits. She was transferred from Stony Brook back to Medford where she couldn't see anyone due to nationwide lockdowns. Dana said: "I was on lockdown with no visitors and couldn't leave my room. "All that time alone got me really depressed realising my life would be like this forever. "All I would do was watch TV and sit on FaceTime with various family members so I wasn't on my own." In July of 2020 she was moved to a non-profit group home for people with trauma injuries - where she had a lot more freedom but was still assisted by nurses. No longer attached to a ventilator, Dana uses a trache tube and diaphragmatic pacer, which stimulates diaphragmatic contractions to force her body to breathe. She said: "This was a step back to normality. "I had a nurse with me which brought my anxiety down, and I started eating a lot more - I was just 100lbs (45kg) at this point. "I got to see my family and friends again and it made me feel like I actually had my life back. "My friends would come over and when lockdown got better I could go out to the restaurant I used to work at. "It was my first outing and it was amazing.