Feb 24, 2010 Erin Wisneski Uncategorized
Life changed drastically for Judy Aguirre last fall.
On the eve of Sept. 26, the wife and mother of two read quietly in her Van Buren dining room while everyone else slept. When she finally decided to retire to bed, she turned off the lights and headed in the dark towards the stairs leading to her home’s second level. Walking through her kitchen to the hallway leading upstairs, Aguirre overestimated the distance. Believing she was stepping into her hallway, she stumbled down her basement stairs landing on her right side.
The commotion awoke the household and her 10-year-old son, Nicolas, called 911.
“I was out of it for 24 hours,” Aguirre said.
The fall left Aguirre paralyzed. She spent two and a half weeks in intensive care where doctors worked to straighten out her spinal column, which resembled a staircase after the fall. Aguirre remembers the injury making it difficult to breathe.
“I wasn’t event worried about being paralyzed, just being able to breathe. I couldn’t take a deep breath,” she said.
Suffering an incomplete spinal cord injury, Aguirre spent three months at University Hospital in physical therapy relearning how to breathe, move her extremities and feed herself.
“There was a little bit [of improvement] everyday,” she said. “First my toes moved, then my ankles, knees and to my hips. It went right up my legs and kept me encouraged.”
Aguirre returned home to her husband, Xavier, and children, Nicolas and 8-year-old Diego, right before Christmas on Dec. 21.
Despite the obstacles Aguirre has overcome, she is still unable to walk, let alone provide daycare to children in her home and taking care of her family as she did prior to her accident.
“It’s hard, but we’re trying to stay positive,” she said.
Her right side sustained more damage than her left, leaving her right hand without feeling and her entire right side severely weakened. While Aguirre can move her left leg and put pressure on it, she can’t quite stand on it yet. She needs help dressing, getting into her chair and around her house. With the support of her extended family, everyday tasks are accomplished such as laundry and cooking.
“I can’t really contribute in anyway and it’s tough. I’m not that kind of person,” Aguirre said.
Being in a wheelchair, modifications had to be made in their home. These included widening doorways so her wheelchair could fit through, renovating the downstairs to include a first floor bedroom and bathroom, which could accommodate her chair, and installing a ramp in the front of the house.
While she admits the events of the tragic evening run through her head, she has no self-pity.
“It would’ve been so easy to do one thing different — gone through the living room, stayed in bed — but I’ve never gone back and said ‘why me?’ It is what it is — it’s better,” Aguirre said.
To assist with medical and renovation costs, a benefit will be held for Aguirre from 3 to 7 p.m. Sunday March 14 at Thunderbird Lanes in Baldwinsville and will include food, raffles and a silent auction. Some of the businesses that have donated include Mirabeau Spa, Ichiban, Handprints and Bosco Liquors. Participants are encouraged to put bowling teams together and ask for sponsorships. Bowlers who raise the most money through sponsorships will receive a prize.
The event is for adults only and tickets are $10 per person. For more information, call Sarah Bailey (706-8781) or Terri Hunold (668-8165). All proceeds from the event will be donated to the Aguirre family.
“Judy is a really great person,” said Erica Bolesh, who met Aguirre six years ago. “[She] is the type of person always willing to help others. Come out, have a great time on a Sunday afternoon and help a person who really needs your help.”
Judy Aguirre, center, suffered an incomplete spinal injury last fall when she fell down her basement stairs. Pictured with her sons, Diego, left, and Nicolas, a benefit will be held for the Van Buren woman March 14 to assist with medical and renovation costs at the home she shares with her sons and husband, Xavier.