What started as flu-like symptoms has left a young Wyandotte woman wondering if she would ever walk again.
According to friends and family, 21-year-old Lyndi Morris was an “extremely talented” softball pitcher.
"She went to (Northeastern Oklahoma A&M College) after she graduated from Wyandotte,” said Morris' sister Josie Gwartney. “Then, she went to Northeastern in Talequah.”
Morris said she planned to attend classes this fall in Tahlequah, but an unexplained tragedy a few weeks ago has altered many of the young woman's plans.
On July 3, Morris went to the emergency room at a Talequah hospital with flu-like symptoms.
“I just kept getting sicker and my head was really hurting,” Morris said.
Doctors ran a series of tests checking her for lyme disease, kidney and urinary tract infections, toxic shock syndrome and meningitis - still they had no diagnosis.
“My heart was racing and my white blood count was five times higher than it should be,” Morris said.
After several hours of trying to find the source of Morris' illness, emergency room physicians decided to look deeper.
“They finally did MRI's and X-rays and a lumbar injection,” Morris said. “Then they kept me overnight for observation.”
Gwartney said she, along with her mother and younger sister, rushed to Morris' side in Talequah.
“We decided to head back to Miami late on July 3 to get some rest thinking things would be better in the morning. On July 4, I was awakened to a call from my little sister saying that Lyndi woke up and was unable to feel her legs,” Gwartney said.
A neurologist was called in to look at her sister and at 5 p.m. Morris was life-flighted to a Tulsa hospital in serious, but a still “unexplained” condition.
Gwartney and her husband, Cody, rushed to Tulsa.
“Around 4 a.m. on July 5, the surgeon told us he found a hematoma in her spinal cord that had built up so much that it caused nerve damage,” Gwartney said. “She had no control of her bladder and no feeling in her legs or toes.”
Doctors weren't sure if Morris would walk again or not.
“I saw her after the surgery and the pain she was in was too terrible for me to see,” Gwartney said. “I was unable to help her and that was the worst part.”
But doctors were puzzled about the source of the hematoma, saying that he collection of blood of that magnitude is typically caused by a serious injury.
“The surgeon told me this type of injury was common with someone who had been in a car accident or had fallen off a horse,” Morris said. “I hadn't been injured at all.”
Morris spent three weeks in the hospital and has finally regained the use of her bladder and is able to walk with assistance.
“She is persistent and refuses to give up,” Gwartney said.
Ultimately, her surgeon concluded that Morris was suffering a very serious urinary tract infection when she went to the emergency room.
“He said the only way he can explain the blood clot was when I had the spinal tap something was ruptured,” Morris said. “But, they really don't want to say it was their fault.”
Without the help of her family and friends, life is difficult for Morris.
“It's not too terrible,” Morris said. “I just can't do some of the things I used to.”
She won't be returning to Tahlequah this year. Instead, she is moving back to Wyandotte so her family can help her until she is on her feet again - without assistance.
“Lyndi is unable to work and unable to walk without the help of her walker,” Gwartney said. “The hospital bills are already in excess of $100,000 and she has rent, car payments and bills to pay.”
Morris said physicians don't know how long it will take to fully recover, but they are hopeful she will.
“It's just going to take time,” Morris said.
An account for donations has been set up at Welch State Bank to help with medical and living expenses while Morris recovers.