A Spruce Grove mother is urging people to take the cold weather seriously after her daughter suffered serious frostbite at the beginning of Alberta’s cold snap.
Paramedics in Alberta have responded to a number of frostbite-related calls over the past few days and Connie Gagan’s teenage daughter was one of them.
On Friday, instead of waiting an hour for a safe and warm ride home from school, the 16-year-old opted to walk.
She borrowed a coat from a friend but had no gloves for the entire 45-minute journey. The teen couldn’t even put her hands in her pockets because she was carrying a big binder and didn’t have a backpack with her.
Gagan said it was -25 C outside that day in Spruce Grove.
When her daughter got home, she called her mom in extreme pain as her hands started bruising and swelling. She went first to the doctor, and then — when her hands blistered the next morning — to the emergency room. The damage was serious.
“Four days later and she still doesn’t have the mobility back in her hand,” Gagan said. “And her hands are still so sensitive and in so much pain, I can only touch them to rewrap the bandages on her blisters.”
After speaking to doctors, the family is optimistic there won’t be any long-term tissue or nerve damage.
Gagan decided to share her daughter’s story on social media in hopes others will take this cold snap more seriously and bundle up.
“I didn’t want anybody else to go through this,” Gagan explained. “I have been banging my head over a brick wall with her for years about wearing warm clothing — years. It’s an ongoing issue and I know it is for other people.
“Teenagers aren’t listening. They’re not hearing us. They’re not listening to our warning and they’re not taking us seriously. They think we’re overreacting. They think we’re telling stories. I wanted to make it real.”
Gagan’s Facebook post has been viewed about 40,000 times.
She says she’s had a ton of people reach out to her: teachers asking permission to use the photos in class and safety instructors wanting to add the story to their material. Even a parent from New Zealand reached out to her.
Gagan believes her daughter is lucky but says she was also scared and embarrassed by the ordeal.
Now they’re in a waiting game, hoping the hands heal up over time.