The end of summer was closing in on us and school would be starting back up but it would be a different end to summer for London and our family. I will never forget the night of Aug. 5 or the early morning of Aug. 6 as those days are etched in my memory forever.
Our story began with London having a stuffy nose and a pain in the back of her eye. Soon it turned into extreme head pain, vomiting, chills and fever. She was first diagnosed by her PCP with a sinus infection and prescribed amoxicillin. A few days later she was still miserable, fevered with no changes and she was barely leaving her bed.
We made 2 visits to ERs with the second ER visit to Akron Children’s Hospital. She had lots of test and a CAT scan and was again diagnosed with a severe sinus infection that required a stronger antibiotic. We started the new antibiotic the next day with no changes; it was Mon., Aug 5.
Later that afternoon, I received a phone call from Dr. Tim Lee whom we had seen the previous evening in the ER. He was calling to check on London and see how she was. I told him no change, and she had vomited again after new antibiotic. Dr. Lee asked if I would bring her back in and I agreed – this was a relief to me as she was still so sick and in so much pain.
They ran more blood work and did a repeat CAT scan that evening still just seeing the severe sinus infection. We were told they would be admitting London so we could figure this all out. Around 3 a.m. we were still in the ER when they decided to do an MRI. I got to go with her, and around 4 a.m., we received the shocking and terrifying results.
The sinus infection went to her brain. I can’t even begin to tell you how shocked I was to hear this – how was this even possible? We were told that they would be contacting neurosurgery to figure out what the next step would be.
My child was looking to me for answers, and I knew I didn’t have them, but I had to put on a brave face and hold myself together. Somehow by the grace of God, I did. At around 4:30 a.m. they came back to tell me they needed to take London for emergency brain surgery.
I was shocked and felt like I this was all a dream – it seemed unreal. London was immediately crying and worried they would shave her head of her beautifully thick and long hair. She was scared and didn’t want surgery, of course.
From this point on everything moved so fast, and before I knew it, I was meeting Dr. (Tsulee) Chen who would perform brain surgery on my 15-year-old baby girl. I was shaking with fear but listening as she described the procedure and the risks. I remember trying to comfort London, telling her everything was going to be fine, kissing her, telling her I loved her and then telling Dr. Chen to take care of my baby before she was taken away. The next few hours were awful.
Finally, around noon we got to see our beautiful London on the PICU (pediatric Intensive care unit). She had beautifully braided hair, and she looked like she was peacefully sleeping. We found out later Dr. Chen took the time before the surgery to condition and braid London’s hair so it wouldn’t get all matted post-surgery. This touched my heart.
We ended up being at Children’s 15 days. It was a lot of ups and downs and scary, scary moments, but we received excellent care from so many fabulous doctors.
I want to especially thank Dr. Lee for following protocol or his gut and checking in on Aug. 5. Without his call things could have been much different for our family. I am forever grateful to him.
Dr. Chen who is a brilliant surgeon, but also a kind and considerate soul, and it shows in her bedside manner.
Dr. (John) Bower was London’s infectious disease doctor who followed her case during her stay and was always willing to listen and explain what was going on with her infection. Dr. (Blaise) Congeni is currently London’s infectious disease doctor; he is so knowledgeable on her diagnoses – which is Pott’s puffy tumor, a sinus infection that goes to the brain.
To the staff and therapists in the Day Rehab program: you’ve been amazing.
To all our nurses: thank you for the wonderful care London received and also for the care and concern we, her family, received.
We are so blessed that London is recovering and healing from this infection. Thank you Akron Children’s for the wonderful and loving care you provided to our family and my hero, London.