by JANE DANZI
April 3 1996 changed our lives forever, it is the day that we lost our hopes and dreams as first time parents and started a completely new journey.
Our little boy was 5 ½ months old and developing normally.
One morning he woke up very late, and something was not right. His eyes just stared at me and when I picked him up he cried in pain. I changed his nappy and found there was blood in it.
After an initial panic we took him to the doctor who, after consultation with a paediatrician, concluded that Cameron had developed a bowel infection.
We were sent home to try and get his fluids up and collect a stool sample. We visited the doctor again because Cameron wasn’t drinking at all and was now feverish and had diarrhoea, however we were sent home for the night to see if he got better.
That night was horrendous, Cameron spent the whole night arching his back and screaming a distinctive scream that I never want to hear again.
In the morning we were back at the doctors and it was decided that Cameron was at risk of dehydrating and we should take him to hospital. We were living in an isolated mining town, four hours north of a major centre with a regional hospital. We were a low priority for the Royal Flying Doctors Service, so it was decided that it would be quicker to drive ourselves than wait for a plane.
Half an hour out of town we stopped to give Cameron some pain relief medication and he slipped into a seizure and coma whilst lying in my arms. We had to make a life and death decision, do we go forwards or backwards? Fortunately for Cameron we decided to go forwards and that decision saved his life.
45mins up the road was another town with a small hospital. We pulled into the hospital and handed Cameron over to a doctor. That was the last time we held him for several days. This doctor suspected Meningitis but didn’t have the correct drugs to treat him. He stabilized him and we were flown to the regional hospital.
At the regional hospital Cameron’s body started to lose the fight. He stopped breathing several times but I poked him and he took a breath. Later as medical staff prepared him to fly to the children’s hospital in Perth, Western Australia he completely gave up and stopped breathing. Thankfully everything was at hand and they resuscitated him.
At the children’s hospital Cameron was diagnosed with Pneumococcal Meningitis.
We spent 10 days sitting by his bed in the Intensive Care Unit as he fought to stay alive. Day three was the worst, when he had seizures all day. We had finally been allowed to hold him and then he had a seizure in my arms. I was too scared to hold him for the rest of that day and even got too scared to watch him as his little body endured more seizures.
When Cameron could come off the respirator and was breathing by himself we were moved to the infants ward and that became our home for 2 months. He didn’t wake up until the day that we were told that, although they had seen worse cases survive it wasn’t looking good. Cameron opened his eyes, as if to say, “I’m back!”