Meet Wesley

A letter from Wesley’s Mom:

I’m the mother of a little boy who one morning told me he had a sore knee. And who, within days, was fighting for his life against a vicious infection. A little boy I almost lost. A little boy who is with me today because of the amazing people at Children’s Hospital-HSC Winnipeg. And the deep compassion of supporters like you. I’m telling our story because I want other families to believe that they can make it through the terrible time when a child they love is ill. And I want supporters like you to know just how important your gifts are.

Let me take you back to a summer’s day in 2017. Wesley was just two years old at the time, looking forward to his third birthday. He had been sleeping terribly lately, and my husband and I wondered if he was starting to develop the ear troubles his older brother had.

One day Wesley said to me, “Mommy, my knee hurts.” But at the walk-in clinic, the doctor was able to gently bend both his knees, and couldn’t see any sign of an ear infection. It didn’t seem like anything was seriously wrong. But something was terribly wrong. Just 24 hours later, Wesley spiked a fever and started throwing up. When we tried to stand him up, he couldn’t walk.

So we raced Wesley to Emergency, where the doctor became suspicious that the pain in his hip was caused by bacteria within his hip joint which would require surgery. By morning they were operating on him. And that’s when everyone realized that something much more sinister had been going on.

Our little boy did have an infected hip. But it was much worse. A bone scan after the surgery showed that he had a rare and serious bone infection called osteomyelitis. It had been caused by infection ravaging inside his bone.

The hits just kept coming. An ultrasound showed a blood clot in one of his arteries — and then a CT revealed that it had spread nodules into his lungs. To make matters worse, the doctors discovered that the bacteria was resistant to normal antibiotics. Everything kicked into high gear. And we realized we were going to be in Children’s Hospital Pediatric Intensive Care Unit for a long, long time. Wesley was put into isolation, with us by his side. Our family’s entire life became dedicated to helping him fight this horrific battle.

The staff at the Children’s Hospital were amazing. People from orthopedics, infectious diseases, hematology, cardiology, physiotherapy — working hand in hand with nurses and support staff to help Wesley.

I could not have asked for a more wonderful group of people to care for our little boy. And you. Because you give them the tools they need to do their jobs.

A new reality kicked in for our family. Our days and nights for at least the next 6 weeks would be spent in isolation at the hospital. Wesley had IV antibiotics every 4 hours. Twice daily injections of blood thinners. A revolving door of specialists, tests and constant scrutiny.

I’m not talking just about the specialists and the doctors and nurses. But also the lovely Child Life team who came daily, just to check that Wesley had toys to play with and games to play to keep him occupied. They helped us hang in there and manage everything that was thrown our way.They even helped us organize a little third birthday party at his bedside.

And I will never forget Amy — one of our many shining stars. She was the physiotherapist who taught Wesley how to walk again. After 7-½ long weeks, we were finally given the go-ahead to go home. It was a wonderful day. But Wesley will need Children’s Hospital for a lot longer. You see, doctors also discovered he has a problem with his heart and his aorta — and will receive follow-up from the Heart Centre for the rest of his childhood.

I spent A LOT of time at Children’s Hospital. Seeing other children, and talking with their families. Here is what I know … In those dark, dark days, when you are relying entirely on the wisdom of other people to keep your child alive, the impact of a stranger’s kindness is profound. Everywhere I looked I could see your kindness and your compassion at work.

Sometimes it was in the ‘little things’ – like the books we read to Wesley from the library, and the special meals he was allowed to choose from, and the tiny walker that Amy used to help Wesley walk again. And it was in the big things, too. Like medical technology.

The truth is, the doctors and nurses and staff at Children’s Hospital could not take care of these children without your support. I never realized how much hospitals rely on their donors to purchase medical equipment.

Having gone through what our family has gone through, I can truly say that thank you simply doesn’t seem like enough. But please know how deeply I appreciate your support of our hospital. And how much it means to every mother like me.