Posted on October 5th, 2018
When Oliver was just 2 years old, sepsis hit him out of nowhere! One day he was a little sleepier than usual and the next morning he could no longer walk. He developed a slight fever and seemed in an intense amount of pain. His doctor identified septic arthritis of the hip. Numerous testing with x-rays, blood tests, and 6 facility visits later we ended up in the hospital where he had to do all the testing again before being admitted for emergency surgery of his hip. As we were wheeled to the operating room, I sang to him in an uneven voice and we held hands tightly to help keep our bodies from shaking. I recall one of the nurses saying “I remember when this was me being wheeled to surgery.” I never got to thank him for that little bit of hope.
After waiting the longest 2 hours of my life, his surgeon came out to tell us that the infection was also in his other hip and she would have to operate on that one as well. All I could feel in that moment was urgency; I didn’t want my boy under any longer than he had to be so I said with an authoritative fervent “then get back in there girl” and his beautiful little surgeon literally ran from the room to start the second surgery like a real life super hero. This was our first night away from his sister, our 4-year-old daughter.
The next week was really challenging as he tried to overcome the infection and recover from his surgeries while they strained to figure out the root cause. Later we found out it may have been due to unidentified strep with no symptoms. He was considered a special case since both joints were affected and because he continued to be febrile. Therefore, Ollie had hundreds of experts and health professionals on his care team. It was the most stressful and exhausting time of our lives, but his strength and courage gave me strength and courage. Thanks to his unwavering positive attitude, his hope inspired hope (he got “best 2-year-old patient ever” award from all his nurses). Also thanks to hundreds of prayer warriors, the help of his amazing care team, and quick identification he pulled through. We got to go home with our boy! I sobbed with tears of relief as we re-entered our home.
A few weeks later as he took his first wobbly steps his sister ran over and embraced him; it had been incredibly hard on her also. That month he and sister dressed as hospital doctors for Halloween. The next few months were spent trying to get back into our normal routine while dealing with many sleepless nights, around the clock medications, therapeutic exercise to regain his movement, planned and unplanned hospital visits and rebuilding of his immune system all while the hospital bills started trickling in. It was a raw time of gratitude yet struggle. Slowly, he gained back his strength and energy and the recovery process began both physically and emotionally with ups and downs for many months after.
With time, connection, and mindfulness we began to recover from post-traumatic stress syndrome. (Sepsis and Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder) As the anniversary approaches we plan to move forward with grateful hearts that our family is still together and that new memories are being created. On the anniversary date of his surgeries, we will continue to heal and spread awareness by lighting water lanterns with family and strangers to celebrate life and hope. A storm called Sepsis tried to sink our family, but my son was a Captain in the monsoon. It’s been almost a year and Ollie can run like the wind.
Thank you for hearing our story, even as I write the tears fall~ more healing taking place and I hope we can help save lives together.