By JODY SLIWKA
At 4.33am, on the 5th December, 2011, a month after celebrating Zac’s 2nd Birthday, he stopped breathing for no apparent reason. My husband performed CPR until the ambulance arrived but Zac’s heart had stopped beating and had done so for approx. 20 minutes. He had suffered a cardiac arrest. The ambulance resuscitated him and took him to Canberra hospital where he was stabilised and then helicoptered to Sydney Children’s Hospital in Randwick. Zac spent the next 11 days in an induced coma. MRI and CT scans confirmed that Zac had acquired a brain injury.
My husband and I spent 11 weeks in Sydney with Zac with my in-laws travelling every weekend to bring our 3 month old baby, Max to see us for the duration that we were there.
Once Zac was out of the induced coma we started on rehabilitation. He was being tube fed, couldn’t hold his head up or even grasp hold of our fingers. Zac had to try and relearn everything once again.
17 months post-accident, Zac has made some amazing progress, through sheer determination, and a hell of a lot of privately paid early intervention therapy. At the moment Zac’s therapy is costing us approx. $2000 a month; this has been self-funded and has been paid for by family and friends. Zac can now sit unassisted on the floor; he can self-feed finger foods and in the past 5 weeks has begun to commando crawl. At the moment we are trying to teach him to use a walking frame, his body and coordination and just not strong enough yet. Unfortunately we are yet to have him speak again. We are hoping this will come, but it is one of the hardest things to do. We have high hopes for Zac to live as normal life as possible, and with the progress he has made he is giving every indication that he will be able to do so, however we need to keep up with his extensive therapy to give him this chance.