When Bronson was 18 days old, his parents, Kayla and Garvin noticed his breathing seemed off. They took him into the hospital, and it was believed he was fighting a cold virus. They were told to bring him back if symptoms persisted or he stopped eating. The next day, Bronson was still unwell and just not himself. They went back to the Alberta Children’s Hospital, where specialists suspected Bronson was fighting bacterial meningitis – an inflammation of the protective membranes surrounding the brain and spinal cord. They did a lumbar puncture to confirm and Bronson was rushed into the Pediatric Intensive Care Unit. He was given a breathing tube and a feeding tube and hooked up to a ventilator as well as brain and heart monitors. Kayla remembers a doctor telling her, “We are very concerned for your baby.”
An MRI showed black spots in his brain, meaning he’d already sustained some brain damage. The team needed to find the right medication immediately in order to fight the bacteria and prevent further brain damage. Fortunately, the Alberta Children’s Hospital has a highly-specialized team of experts in the field of Neuro-Critical Care and they immediately got Bronson started on antibiotics. A second MRI showed the brain damage was spreading. It was terrifying for Kayla and Garvin, as the most severe part of the damage was in the part of the brain that controls core temperature, heartbeat, breathing and motor skills. Pediatric neurologist Dr. Michael Esser told Kayla and Garvin to prepare for the worst – there was a good chance Bronson wasn’t going to make it through this. They were devastated. Even if he survived, what would his life be like?
That night, Kayla was able to hold Bronson skin to skin for the first time since his admission. The next morning, the family was moved to a room across the hall with a window and Bronson suddenly opened his eyes and began sucking his soother. When Dr. Esser came back to check in, he was so thrilled to see that this very sick little baby had turned a corner. A third MRI revealed the brain damage had stabilized and was no longer spreading – the antibiotics were working! Bronson had to remain on a very careful balance of medications designed to reduce blood clots in his brain, but at the same time, avoid a brain bleed.
Six weeks after admission, it was confirmed that the infection was gone. And after 56 days in hospital, Bronson finally got to go home! He continues working with physio and occupational therapists on his movement and development. He loves to smile and is able to hold his head up and roll over – huge milestones that Kayla did not ever know if he’d reach. She is so thankful for the team that gave Bronson the chance to hit those milestones.
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