Petra arrived at the hospital with a shotgun pellet lodged in her brain, and the doctors were not optimistic. According to Strait, even if she managed to survive the injury, Petra still had considerable brain damage to look forward to.
After hours of anxious anticipation, the family received their first bit of good news: "It went well, and she's recovering now. We found very little damage to the brain, and got the bullet out cleanly. It went better than we hoped for."
Later, after Petra was officially out of the woods, one of the surgeons who operated on her filled the family in on the stunning turn of events. Strait recalls the exchange:
But in Petra's case, the shotgun buck shot, maybe even the size used for deer hunting, enters her brain from the exact point of this defect. Like a marble through a small tube, the defect channels the bullet from Petra's nose through her brain. It turns slightly several times, and comes to rest at the rear of her brain. And in the process, the bullet misses all the vital areas of the brain. In many ways, it almost misses the brain itself. Like a giant BB though a straw created in Petra's brain before she was born, it follows the route of the defect. It is channeled in the least harmful way. A millimeter in any direction and the channel is missed. The brain is destroyed. Evil wins a round.
As the doctor was talking, Petra suddenly awoke and asked for her mother. After a few questions it became clear to Strait that Petra, while in pain, "is herself." And though the road to full recovery is long, thankfully, "life remains."