Sunday, June 23, 2019


Who is Dasha Dorofeev?  She is an eight-year-old getting ready for the third grade.  Dasha is a gymnast.  She speaks fluent Russian, but that's because mom and dad brought her here from Riga, Latvia when she was just age two.

Eight days ago Dasha, her mother Natasha and sister Masha were in a horrific car crash during a driving rain storm.  The crash broke Natasha's shoulder and left her with two collapsed lungs.  Masha survived with a slight concussion and a scratch on her arm.  Dasha was trapped in the wreckage and San Carlos Park firefighters cut her out of the car to save her life.

Dasha was taken by helicopter to Lee Memorial Hospital and then transferred by ground to Tampa General which has a pediatric unit that can handle neurological crises.  She was incubated and heavily sedated.  By Monday the breathing tube was removed and the recovery process began.

The last eight days have been a blur.  I have been in Fort Myers the entire time save for two trips to Tampa.  My first responsibility was to take care of Masha while mom recovered.  My first trip came on Wednesday after I retrieved Natasha from the hospital and the other this weekend to take my wife Tatyana out for dinner and a much needed cocktail.

Vlad, Natasha and Tatyana take turns sitting with Dasha around the clock. The progress is measured in teeny, tiny increments of hope.  A hug here, a kiss there, and finally a giggle plus a trip down the hallway to put together a puzzle.

Seeing Dasha is like seeing a severe stroke victim.  She struggles to focus but she fights mightily to do so.  She has yet to speak.  It may take weeks for that to happen.  But she has accomplished the impossible in a matter of days.

For grandma, mom and dad the days have no meaning.  Masha has gone to Sarasota to stay with a friend, a great getaway from the grind of watching her sister.  I don't know how she will rebound from all of this.  I don't know how any of us will recover.  But we will and so will Dasha. 

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