Tell us your story.
Ryan's time at Children's began March
5th, 2006. He was three years old. Ryan had been sick for
over a week and just could not shake his cold. After several
visits to the nearby walk-in-clinic and repeated calls to
their offices it seemed there was nothing more to do than let
him ride it out. On that morning we found him gasping for
breath after just climbing a flight of stairs. We rushed him
to the walk-in-clinic where they took a chest x-ray and
discovered he had pneumonia. He rode an ambulance to the
closest hospital where after spending a few hours trying to
figure out why his pneumonia was so severe, they decided the
best possible course was to have him airlifted to
Children's Hospital in Seattle.
After a very long drive to Seattle, we found Ryan being
entertained by the emergency room staff. Shortly after our
arrival they whisked him off to his room in the Pediatric
Intensive Care Unit and after assessing him, giving him
antibiotics and giving us a run down of procedures and a
basic understanding of the machines he was hooked up to, we
were finally ready to settle down.
The hospital is the most amazing place. We had a room
where my husband could sleep the night, a place to take a
shower, computers to send e-mail to far away relatives and
employers as well as a friendly understanding staff. Ryan was
diagnosed with Pneumonia and Empyema. While most people know
what pneumonia is and the basic treatments for it, most
people have never heard of empyema. Empyema is a collection
of pus in the cavity between the lung and the membrane that
surrounds it. This fluid was crushing the other organs in his
chest and had moved his esophagus so far over that after more
than a week of antibiotics and assessments it was decided
that he had to have a Video Assisted Thoracic Surgery (VATS).
While it was a nightmare to us, the doctors and nurses helped
us through it. Ryan came through it wonderfully and after a
few days of recovery was able to finally come home.
What does Children's mean to you, your child and your family?
Children's means the life of my son and there is
nothing more precious than that. In the two weeks we spent
there (two weeks that felt like a lifetime) we were
constantly in the presence of caring and understanding staff.
They helped me through the most terrifying time in my life.
They provided a place where our family could find some sort
of calm despite the turbulance of what was going on. They
took amazing care of my little boy and in my opinion saved
his life. That being said, Children's
couldn't possibly mean any more to me than my own
child. Even Ryan realizes what Children's has done
for him and it means so much to him that he decided to ask
everyone to give money to Children's for his fifth
birthday this year. They save lives there and they make it
just a little easier on the families who have to
"live" there while they do it. I'll be
eternally grateful to Children's. They made my
little boy happy and healthy again.