Bixby teen recovers from a devastating autoimmune disease

Ella Morrow was a normal kid until she developed ADEM, acute disseminated encephalomyelitis, at age 4. At age 15, her recovery continues.



Tia Morrow and her daughter, Ella

Eleven and a half years ago, Ella Morrow was a 4-year-old girl who had just gotten a new bike with training wheels.

“I have a picture of her on her bike two weeks before, and there’s a mosquito bite on her arm,” says her mother, Tia Morrow. “She was riding really well.”

The “before” Morrow talks about is before Ella was admitted into the Children’s Hospital at Saint Francis.

“We took her in afraid it was appendicitis, then they thought it was pneumonia,” Morrow says. “Overnight we knew it was meningitis. We went into the hospital on Thursday, and by Tuesday she was comatose.”

A neurologist was called in, and the Morrows were given a diagnosis of ADEM, acute disseminated encephalomyelitis, which is a rare autoimmune disease that causes sudden and widespread inflammation in the brain and spinal cord. It also attacks the central nervous system. She was in a coma, forgot who her family was and lost her motor functions.

“They don’t know for sure, but they think it might have come from a virus carried through a mosquito bite,” Morrow says. It could have been the same mosquito bite seen in the photo of Ella on her bike. The mosquito transmitted the virus, and Ella had an autoimmune response to it, causing ADEM.

She stayed at Saint Francis for about a month and a half until she was stable enough to relocate to a rehabilitation facility. Ella was then taken to the Children’s Center Rehabilitation Hospital, a private nonprofit facility near Oklahoma City that is celebrating its 120th anniversary.

“When she went to the Children’s Hospital she couldn’t do anything,” Morrow says. “She couldn’t walk, she couldn’t talk, she couldn’t sit up.”

Teresa Adkison, a physical therapist at the Children’s Center, was on the team who treated Ella.

“When she got here she required a lot of assistance from us. Max to total assistance,” Adkison says. “Within two months she was much more independent. She was able to get out of bed by herself, go from sitting to standing. She could get up off the floor with minimum assistance. She could sit unassisted. She was walking when she left here with someone just holding her hand.”

And Ella still loved peddling.

“She would ride a tricycle,” Adkison says. “I remember she would tear down the halls, and I would have to chase after her. She definitely made a recovery. She was a special little girl. And her family was awesome. They were here 24/7.”

Morrow says she and her husband, Shane, initially looked at rehabilitation centers in Texas, but found the Children’s Center was exactly what they were looking for.

“It was roomy and spacious. Everyone seemed happy — staff and patients. They were amazing, I became very close with them,” she says, and especially with Adkison. “While she was treating Ella physically, she was emotionally treating me. As they were teaching Ella how to sit up and stand, they were teaching me how to care for her. They worked with us every step of the way.”

Adkison says at the Children’s Center parents and family are considered part of the rehab team.

“All of our goals include the parents,” she says. “We do weekly meetings with families and go over progress made. They go to therapy, so they have a base knowledge of what they’ll need to do. We want to make sure they’re trained so they’re comfortable when they go home.”

Ella stayed at the Children’s Center Rehabilitation Hospital for about two months before going home to Bixby in 2007.

“We were apprehensive,” Morrow says. “Going home meant being all alone. They sent us with a binder, and they had therapies lined up. We came home with a plan.”

ADEM didn’t just affect Ella physically, but cognitively, as well.

“Cognitively she’s about 2 years old, in a 15-year-old’s body,” Morrow says. “When she went into the Children’s Center, she was mentally about six weeks old. Her illness was so rare, they just don’t know what will happen. There’s no reason to think she won’t develop, just at a much slower rate.”

Ella attends Bixby High School and continues to go to physical therapy twice a week, as well as occupational therapy and speech therapy. Morrow, her husband and their 20-year-old daughter, Lexi, have started thinking about Ella’s future after high school.

“Progress is very slow,” Morrow says. “We don’t always notice it day to day. But we’re going to continue to work with her. We’re not going to give up on her.

“It’s hard every day. It’s hard because it’s all day, every day. But she’s also taught me so much more than I ever expected. She’s so pure. She has changed my heart through all this.” 

 

Edit ModuleShow Tags

Archive »You Might Like

Electric scooters are taking over Tulsa

Scooter sharing company Lime brought its fleet to Tulsa in October, followed quickly by Bird Rides Inc.

Things to do in Tulsa in December

Check out our picks for fun and festive events in December 2018.

Kiva loan takes Cheeky Things to the next level

Maddy Martin's Tulsa-based cloth diaper service got a much-needed boost from the microfinance crowdfunding platform.
Edit Module

Add your comment:

 

Get the best in arts, entertainment and more straight to your inbox.

Join our email list

Edit ModuleShow Tags

July 2019

Sharklahoma is a collaboration between the Oklahoma Aquarium and the Jenks Chamber of Commerce to celebrate our community and its local businesses, while also raising awareness about the ecological...

Cost: Varies

Where:
Oklahoma Aquarium
, OK


Website »

More information

Featuring more than seventy works by French and European masters such as Degas, Manet, Monet, Rousseau and Van Gogh, this exhibition celebrates Mr. and Mrs. Paul Mellon’s extraordinary gift...

Cost: $15

Where:
Oklahoma City Museum of Art
415 Couch Drive
Oklahoma City, OK  73102
View map »


Telephone: (405) 236-3100
Website »

More information

"Yer Going to Need a Bigger Boat!" Join Pinot's Palette in the Shark View Room at the Oklahoma Aquarium to paint sharks surrounded by the sea. Part of the Oklahoma...

Cost: $39

Where:
Oklahoma Aquarium
300 Aquarium Dr
Jenks, OK  74037
View map »


Telephone: 918-528-1507

More information

Help DVIS and the Tulsa Drillers knock out violence! We are in our 16th year of raising funds for survivors of domestic violence and sexual assault. Join us by pledging per home run or making a...

Cost: $1+

Where:
Tulsa, OK


Sponsor: DVIS
Telephone: 918-508-2709
Contact Name: Jenée Day
Website »

More information

Show More...
Show Less...

The Please Touch the Art exhibit breaks the rules of traditional art exhibits and makes art accessible, especially for visitors who are visually impaired or blind. Guests are encouraged to touch...

Cost: free & open to the public

Where:
McKeon Center for Creativity
910 S. Boston Ave.
TCC Metro Campus
Tulsa, OK  74135
View map »


Sponsor: Tulsa Community College
Telephone: 918-595-7339
Contact Name: Cindy Armstrong

More information

Sharklahoma is a collaboration between the Oklahoma Aquarium and the Jenks Chamber of Commerce to celebrate our community and its local businesses, while also raising awareness about the ecological...

Cost: Varies

Where:
Oklahoma Aquarium
, OK


Website »

More information

Featuring more than seventy works by French and European masters such as Degas, Manet, Monet, Rousseau and Van Gogh, this exhibition celebrates Mr. and Mrs. Paul Mellon’s extraordinary gift...

Cost: $15

Where:
Oklahoma City Museum of Art
415 Couch Drive
Oklahoma City, OK  73102
View map »


Telephone: (405) 236-3100
Website »

More information

Please join us for our yearly summer music series as part of your Tulsa City-County Library's Summer Reading Program.  Vocalist Janet Rutland closes the season on July 22 with the music of the...

Cost: Free

Where:
Central Library
400 civic center
Tulsa, OK  74103
View map »


Sponsor: Tulsa City-County Library
Contact Name: Rebecca H

More information

The purpose of Opioid Epidemic Response is to provide an educational community event that brings together patients, providers, community organizations, and elected and appointed officials to...

Cost: Free

Where:
Cherokee Community Building
908 S College Ave
Tahlequah, OK  74464
View map »


Sponsor: OSU Center for Wellness & Recovery
Telephone: 918-561-1883
Website »

More information

Magi 4 Christ Campers meet each Monday at 6:00 PM until 7:30 PM. At 4241 S. 37th W. Ave., Tulsa, OK. 74107.  We are a Christian group of camping enthusiasts. We are family friendly. Meeting...

Cost: Donations only

Where:
Hope House
4241 S. 37th W. Ave.
South Door Activity Center
Tulsa, OK  74107
View map »


Sponsor: Magi 4 Christ Campers
Telephone: 918-906-0564
Contact Name: Dorothy Brown

More information

Help DVIS and the Tulsa Drillers knock out violence! We are in our 16th year of raising funds for survivors of domestic violence and sexual assault. Join us by pledging per home run or making a...

Cost: $1+

Where:
Tulsa, OK


Sponsor: DVIS
Telephone: 918-508-2709
Contact Name: Jenée Day
Website »

More information

Show More...
Show Less...

Sharklahoma is a collaboration between the Oklahoma Aquarium and the Jenks Chamber of Commerce to celebrate our community and its local businesses, while also raising awareness about the ecological...

Cost: Varies

Where:
Oklahoma Aquarium
, OK


Website »

More information

The purpose of Opioid Epidemic Response is to provide an educational community event that brings together patients, providers, community organizations, and elected and appointed officials to...

Cost: Free

Where:
Cherokee Community Building
908 S College Ave
Tahlequah, OK  74464
View map »


Sponsor: OSU Center for Wellness & Recovery
Telephone: 918-561-1883
Website »

More information

This Magical event features: A Grand Entrance into our Showroom Greeted by Fairy Tale Princess Characters A Charming Breakfast Buffet (with paid...

Cost: Varies

Where:
Dave & Buster's
6812 S. 105th E. Ave.
Tulsa, OK  74014
View map »

More information

Featuring more than seventy works by French and European masters such as Degas, Manet, Monet, Rousseau and Van Gogh, this exhibition celebrates Mr. and Mrs. Paul Mellon’s extraordinary gift...

Cost: $15

Where:
Oklahoma City Museum of Art
415 Couch Drive
Oklahoma City, OK  73102
View map »


Telephone: (405) 236-3100
Website »

More information

The Please Touch the Art exhibit breaks the rules of traditional art exhibits and makes art accessible, especially for visitors who are visually impaired or blind. Guests are encouraged to touch...

Cost: free & open to the public

Where:
McKeon Center for Creativity
910 S. Boston Ave.
TCC Metro Campus
Tulsa, OK  74135
View map »


Sponsor: Tulsa Community College
Telephone: 918-595-7339
Contact Name: Cindy Armstrong

More information

Help DVIS and the Tulsa Drillers knock out violence! We are in our 16th year of raising funds for survivors of domestic violence and sexual assault. Join us by pledging per home run or making a...

Cost: $1+

Where:
Tulsa, OK


Sponsor: DVIS
Telephone: 918-508-2709
Contact Name: Jenée Day
Website »

More information

Show More...
Show Less...

Sharklahoma is a collaboration between the Oklahoma Aquarium and the Jenks Chamber of Commerce to celebrate our community and its local businesses, while also raising awareness about the ecological...

Cost: Varies

Where:
Oklahoma Aquarium
, OK


Website »

More information

Featuring more than seventy works by French and European masters such as Degas, Manet, Monet, Rousseau and Van Gogh, this exhibition celebrates Mr. and Mrs. Paul Mellon’s extraordinary gift...

Cost: $15

Where:
Oklahoma City Museum of Art
415 Couch Drive
Oklahoma City, OK  73102
View map »


Telephone: (405) 236-3100
Website »

More information

The purpose of Opioid Epidemic Response is to provide an educational community event that brings together patients, providers, community organizations, and elected and appointed officials to...

Cost: Free

Where:
Cherokee Community Building
908 S College Ave
Tahlequah, OK  74464
View map »


Sponsor: OSU Center for Wellness & Recovery
Telephone: 918-561-1883
Website »

More information

The Please Touch the Art exhibit breaks the rules of traditional art exhibits and makes art accessible, especially for visitors who are visually impaired or blind. Guests are encouraged to touch...

Cost: free & open to the public

Where:
McKeon Center for Creativity
910 S. Boston Ave.
TCC Metro Campus
Tulsa, OK  74135
View map »


Sponsor: Tulsa Community College
Telephone: 918-595-7339
Contact Name: Cindy Armstrong

More information

Every Wednesday Live Event Trivia is at The Willows Family Ales - Show starts at 7 and is free to play! Movie scenes, Finish the Lyric, Classic Trivia, and more! The crew from T-Town Tacos will be...

Cost: Free

Where:
The Willows Family Ales
418 south peoria ave
tulsa, OK  74120
View map »


Sponsor: The Willows Family Ales
Telephone: (918) 895-6798
Contact Name: Julian Morgan
Website »

More information

Help DVIS and the Tulsa Drillers knock out violence! We are in our 16th year of raising funds for survivors of domestic violence and sexual assault. Join us by pledging per home run or making a...

Cost: $1+

Where:
Tulsa, OK


Sponsor: DVIS
Telephone: 918-508-2709
Contact Name: Jenée Day
Website »

More information

Show More...
Show Less...

Sharklahoma is a collaboration between the Oklahoma Aquarium and the Jenks Chamber of Commerce to celebrate our community and its local businesses, while also raising awareness about the ecological...

Cost: Varies

Where:
Oklahoma Aquarium
, OK


Website »

More information

Featuring more than seventy works by French and European masters such as Degas, Manet, Monet, Rousseau and Van Gogh, this exhibition celebrates Mr. and Mrs. Paul Mellon’s extraordinary gift...

Cost: $15

Where:
Oklahoma City Museum of Art
415 Couch Drive
Oklahoma City, OK  73102
View map »


Telephone: (405) 236-3100
Website »

More information

The purpose of Opioid Epidemic Response is to provide an educational community event that brings together patients, providers, community organizations, and elected and appointed officials to...

Cost: Free

Where:
Cherokee Community Building
908 S College Ave
Tahlequah, OK  74464
View map »


Sponsor: OSU Center for Wellness & Recovery
Telephone: 918-561-1883
Website »

More information

The Please Touch the Art exhibit breaks the rules of traditional art exhibits and makes art accessible, especially for visitors who are visually impaired or blind. Guests are encouraged to touch...

Cost: free & open to the public

Where:
McKeon Center for Creativity
910 S. Boston Ave.
TCC Metro Campus
Tulsa, OK  74135
View map »


Sponsor: Tulsa Community College
Telephone: 918-595-7339
Contact Name: Cindy Armstrong

More information

Would you eat an invasive species? You can! The Nature Conservancy has challenged local chefs and restaurants to make you delicious dishes from invasive and native species as they compete for the...

Cost: 125.00

Where:
The Mansion at Woodward Park
2435 S Peoria Ave
Tulsa, OK  74114
View map »


Sponsor: The Nature Conservancy of Oklahom
Telephone: 405-445-5518
Contact Name: Larissa Balzer
Website »

More information

Would you eat an invasive species? At this event, you can! The Nature Conservancy has challenged Tulsa chefs and restaurants to make delicious dishes from invasive and native species as they...

Cost: General Admission: $125

Where:
The Mansion at Woodward Park
2435 S. Peoria Ave.
Tulsa, OK  74114
View map »


Sponsor: The Nature Conservancy
Telephone: 405-503-1411
Website »

More information

Help DVIS and the Tulsa Drillers knock out violence! We are in our 16th year of raising funds for survivors of domestic violence and sexual assault. Join us by pledging per home run or making a...

Cost: $1+

Where:
Tulsa, OK


Sponsor: DVIS
Telephone: 918-508-2709
Contact Name: Jenée Day
Website »

More information

Show More...
Show Less...

11th Annual Quilt Show featuring judged and non judged quilts made by Sequoyah County and surrounding area quilters.  We will have vendors, demonstrations, door prizes and a boutique.  We will...

Cost: $5.00

Where:
Blackgum Harvestime Church
451558 E 0980 Rd
Vian, OK  74962
View map »


Sponsor: Blackgum Harvestime Sewing Sisters
Telephone: 918-457-9362
Contact Name: Sharon
Website »

More information

Sharklahoma is a collaboration between the Oklahoma Aquarium and the Jenks Chamber of Commerce to celebrate our community and its local businesses, while also raising awareness about the ecological...

Cost: Varies

Where:
Oklahoma Aquarium
, OK


Website »

More information

The Please Touch the Art exhibit breaks the rules of traditional art exhibits and makes art accessible, especially for visitors who are visually impaired or blind. Guests are encouraged to touch...

Cost: free & open to the public

Where:
McKeon Center for Creativity
910 S. Boston Ave.
TCC Metro Campus
Tulsa, OK  74135
View map »


Sponsor: Tulsa Community College
Telephone: 918-595-7339
Contact Name: Cindy Armstrong

More information

Featuring more than seventy works by French and European masters such as Degas, Manet, Monet, Rousseau and Van Gogh, this exhibition celebrates Mr. and Mrs. Paul Mellon’s extraordinary gift...

Cost: $15

Where:
Oklahoma City Museum of Art
415 Couch Drive
Oklahoma City, OK  73102
View map »


Telephone: (405) 236-3100
Website »

More information

The purpose of Opioid Epidemic Response is to provide an educational community event that brings together patients, providers, community organizations, and elected and appointed officials to...

Cost: Free

Where:
Cherokee Community Building
908 S College Ave
Tahlequah, OK  74464
View map »


Sponsor: OSU Center for Wellness & Recovery
Telephone: 918-561-1883
Website »

More information

Ability Resources' Raffle for Independence will take place on the 29th Anniversary of the signing of the Americans with Disabilities Act. Great prizes to be announced! 

Cost: $5

Where:
Tulsa, OK  74120


Sponsor: Ability Resources
Telephone: 918-592-1235
Contact Name: Krisann Diaz
Website »

More information

Join choreographers from across the country for the first of three intimate showings of new modern and contemporary dance, from the hilarious to the introspective, followed by a moderated...

Cost: $12.00-$15.00

Where:
Tulsa Performing Arts Center
110 E 2nd St.
Tulsa, OK  74103
View map »


Sponsor: The Bell House
Telephone: 918-269-1621
Contact Name: Alicia Chesser
Website »

More information

Celebrate the Latin and Hispanic cultures in our community at La Fiesta de Tulsa at Gathering Place! With live music and festive food and drinks, La Fiesta de Tulsa will bring all of the Latino...

Cost: Free

Where:
Gathering Place
2650 S. John Williams Way E.
Tulsa, OK  74114
View map »


Website »

More information

Join choreographers from around the country for an intimate evening of new modern and contemporary dance: five experimental, tender, challenging, moving works of art, followed by a moderated...

Cost: $12.00-$15.00

Where:
Tulsa Performing Arts Center, Liddy Doenges Theate
110 E 2nd St.
Tulsa, OK  74103
View map »


Sponsor: The Bell House
Telephone: 918-269-1621
Contact Name: Alicia Chesser
Website »

More information

Help DVIS and the Tulsa Drillers knock out violence! We are in our 16th year of raising funds for survivors of domestic violence and sexual assault. Join us by pledging per home run or making a...

Cost: $1+

Where:
Tulsa, OK


Sponsor: DVIS
Telephone: 918-508-2709
Contact Name: Jenée Day
Website »

More information

Show More...
Show Less...

11th Annual Quilt Show featuring judged and non judged quilts made by Sequoyah County and surrounding area quilters.  We will have vendors, demonstrations, door prizes and a boutique.  We will...

Cost: $5.00

Where:
Blackgum Harvestime Church
451558 E 0980 Rd
Vian, OK  74962
View map »


Sponsor: Blackgum Harvestime Sewing Sisters
Telephone: 918-457-9362
Contact Name: Sharon
Website »

More information

The purpose of Opioid Epidemic Response is to provide an educational community event that brings together patients, providers, community organizations, and elected and appointed officials to...

Cost: Free

Where:
Cherokee Community Building
908 S College Ave
Tahlequah, OK  74464
View map »


Sponsor: OSU Center for Wellness & Recovery
Telephone: 918-561-1883
Website »

More information

Featuring more than seventy works by French and European masters such as Degas, Manet, Monet, Rousseau and Van Gogh, this exhibition celebrates Mr. and Mrs. Paul Mellon’s extraordinary gift...

Cost: $15

Where:
Oklahoma City Museum of Art
415 Couch Drive
Oklahoma City, OK  73102
View map »


Telephone: (405) 236-3100
Website »

More information

Sharklahoma is a collaboration between the Oklahoma Aquarium and the Jenks Chamber of Commerce to celebrate our community and its local businesses, while also raising awareness about the ecological...

Cost: Varies

Where:
Oklahoma Aquarium
, OK


Website »

More information

Join choreographers from around the country for an intimate afternoon of new modern and contemporary dance on themes of (dis)connection, home, belonging, and presence, followed by a moderated...

Cost: $12.00-$15.00

Where:
Tulsa Performing Arts Center, Liddy Doenges Theate
110 E 2nd St.
Tulsa, OK  74103
View map »


Sponsor: The Bell House
Telephone: 918-269-1621
Contact Name: Alicia Chesser
Website »

More information

America’s LARGEST interactive comedy murder mystery dinner show is now playing at the Hilton Garden Inn Tulsa Broken Arrow! At The Dinner Detective, you’ll tackle a challenging crime while you...

Cost: 59.95

Where:
Hilton Garden Inn Tulsa- Broken Arrow
420 W Albany St.
Broken Arrow, OK  74012
View map »


Telephone: 866-496-0535
Contact Name: The Dinner Detective
Website »

More information

Help DVIS and the Tulsa Drillers knock out violence! We are in our 16th year of raising funds for survivors of domestic violence and sexual assault. Join us by pledging per home run or making a...

Cost: $1+

Where:
Tulsa, OK


Sponsor: DVIS
Telephone: 918-508-2709
Contact Name: Jenée Day
Website »

More information

Show More...
Show Less...
Edit ModuleEdit ModuleShow Tags
Edit ModuleShow Tags

What's New


Simple composting you can do

Vermicomposting saves water, recycles organic resources and conserves landfill space

Comments

USS Batfish needs your help

Popular tourist destination in nearby Muskogee needs assistance following historic flooding

Comments: 1

Video: Mock Brothers Saddlery

Comments

6 unique places in Wichita worth a stop

Plenty to see and do in Kansas’ largest city

Comments

Award-winning screenwriter comes home to Tulsa

Three-time Emmy Award-winning screenwriter Paul W. Cooper recently returned to his native Tulsa.

Comments