Saturday, 24 May 2014

It Will Never Happen To Me

This blog post was written 4 years ago for someone else - I can't remember who - but I was sharing our story. I thought it would be good to share now as I move my forgotten draft posts into my published posts because it will share our story with our new readers who haven't had the time to  read back through the old posts.

Fifteen years ago we were living our dream. After five years of trying to fall pregnant and starting our family we had finally fulfilled our dream and our beautiful baby boy had arrived.

Cameron was a beautiful, healthy joyful baby who was teaching us all about parenthood, filling our hearts with love and reaching all his milestones. We had settled down into blissful family life and I had resumed my teaching career part time. Everything was perfect.

The last photo of Cameron 5 months old before life changed
That was until the 2nd April 1996. Cameron was 5 1/2 months old and nobody could have foreseen what was about to happen. That was the day that - it will  never happen to me - happened to us.

We woke up at home and 24 hours later our beautiful baby boy was laying unconscious in a small country hospital. 12 hrs later, two more hospitals, four ambulance trips and two Royal Flying Doctor flights, Cameron was admitted to a children's hospital ICU. We had been at home with a normal happy life and a day and half later we were in ICU, a thousand kilometres away, with Cameron fighting for his life.

Cameron in ICU at 5 1/2 months old
Cameron spent ten days fighting for his life in ICU and during that time we learnt that Cameron had developed Pneumococcal Meningitis, a deadly disease, and he was now severely brain damaged as a result. Life was never going to be the same again.

After ICU Cameron moved into the infant ward but he was still in a coma. It was more than a week before Cameron started to wake up but he didn't appear to hear or see us and he had less abilities than a new born. He just lay there staring through us with empty eyes.

Cameron 6 months old
For two months we lived in the infant ward while Cameron slowly woke up. He learnt to suck again, he slept a lot and cried even more. Scans were repeated and the brain damage was confirmed but thankfully Cameron started to show signs of seeing and hearing us

Whilst still in hospital Cameron started intensive daily therapy with physiotherapists, occupational therapists, speech therapists plus hydrotherapy all in an attempt to reclaim Cameron's lost skills and teach his brain how to learn again. It quickly became apparent that we had to move to the city so we could be near the medical and therapeutic services that Cameron now needed.

After more than two months in hospital we were finally able to take Cameron home, the only problem was - we no longer had a home to go to so Cameron and I moved in with my parents in law for a month while we organized our new life and home.

Our family was now living apart because my husband had to return to work. I was a single mother Monday to Friday and suddenly our family who did everything together did most things apart. My career was finished, our savings were disappearing fast, we had to sell a car to make ends meet and put our house up for sale to clear the debt. We were one income down and eventually when my husband found a job, so our family could be reunited, he took a huge pay cut to do so.

Cameron 8 months old
But far worse than any of that was that Cameron wasn't our Cameron anymore. He cried a lot and he couldn't do what he'd been able to do before he got sick. Our future was no longer the future we had envisioned for our little family. Cameron wouldn't be marrying and having children, he wouldn't be going to university and building a career. Instead of him learning about our world we were now faced with learning about his new world and all the medical and life difficulties which were in front of him.

As time went on we learnt that along with his brain damage Cameron had lost all of his hearing in his right ear. His right eye wandered, he had Global Developmental Delay and Dyspraxia. However worse than all of that is the epilepsy which has nearly taken his life so many times in the last fifteen years that I have lost count and every time he has a seizure he usually loses abilities which he has learnt since the last seizure.

We have moved two more times for Cameron and we spend our lives searching for that special therapy or something that will help his brain make and hold connections so he can live a more  independent life. If not he will be dependent on us for the rest of his life.

Fifteen years down the track Cameron has endured many years of mainstream therapies and alternative therapies and attends a special school to try and learn life skills. He is a non verbal, non toilet trained, giant toddler who is incredibly affectionate, sociable and loving with a dose of cheeky thrown in. He struggles with most tasks in life. I still get the beautiful cuddles that he gave me as a baby but I really shouldn't. He should be out hanging with his mates but he doesn't have any.

Cameron 14 years old
I would give anything for Cameron to regain his brain function but good has come out of bad. As a family we are hugely appreciative of the little things in life and we rejoice the smallest of achievements. Cameron is incredibly loving and caring and is focused on the important things in life - those he loves and love him. He is not materialistic and has lead us to the same path. We have learnt a lot of life lessons through Cameron and that was something we didn't foresee when we sat beside our dying child fifteen years ago.

I often look back and dwell on the fact that I thought it would never happen to me, little did I realize that it would happen to me.

If you would like to read more of Cameron's story please visit my blog - This is No Ordinary Kid - and my Facebook page - This is No Ordinary Kid -

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