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The mum of a two-year-old boy has told of her horror after he ended up on life support as he battled Covid-19.
Makayla Hunziker, from Oklahoma in the US, and her son Grayson have been through a medical nightmare since he was one month old.
Grayson has been diagnosed with numerous medical issues including a rare condition called Diabetes Insipidus, and struggles to hold fluid, which basically means he urinates himself into dehydration.
He has also been diagnosed with Periventricular Nodular Heterotopia, Schizencephaly, seizure disorder, Hypothyroidism, Adrenal Insufficiency, Panhypopituitarism, Septo Optic Dysplasia, Optic Nerve Hypoplasia, and blindness.
His mum, a 22-year-old paediatric nurse, has been to appointment after appointment and surgery after surgery but Grayson has been strong through it all.
In July this year, Grayson faced his toughest challenge to date when he tested positive for Covid-19.
What started off as no symptoms turned into a mild cough before heavy wheezing took over.
Makayla told the Daily Star: “The wheezing was getting worse but it was really strange because it was off and on. One minute he was happy playing and then the next two hours he was struggling to breathe.
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“I went to work and his grandma called to say he now had a fever. I talked to one of my colleagues and they said to bring him in.
"They swapped him for Covid-19 and it came back positive.
“I was just in complete denial about the whole situation. No one in the family had covid so we are not sure how Grayson caught it.”
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Despite being told about Grayson’s positive test, his grandma and great-grandma would not leave their grandson as the family pulled together to look after him.
His condition worsened and he was admitted to the PICU unit at The Children's Hospital at Saint Francis in Oklahoma.
Makayla slept by his side for several days but with his condition worsening, she was told Grayson would have to be intubated and put on a ventilator.
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She was asked to leave while doctors performed the procedure, she went to get breakfast five mins away but received a call after she arrived.
“The doctor called and said you need to come back to the hospital,” Makayla said.
“They said we need you to come and make some decisions regarding Grayson. The doctor said he had coded (emergency requiring resuscitation) and I remember being like what?”
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Grayson had suffered a collapsed lung as he was being intubated and stopped breathing twice.
Makayla recalled: “There was blood everywhere. It was the first time Tyler (his dad) had seen him and his voice was breaking as ‘he asked what are they doing to him?’
“Grayson just did not look right. In the short time we had been away, his body had just swelled up.
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“I was listening to everything they had to say but at the moment I could not take any of it in.
"They said we had to make a decision but I really did not know what we were making. I was just stood staring as the option was putting him on life support or letting him die."
Grayson was put onto an ECMO machine that would help keep his heart and lungs functioning.
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He was on ECMO and ventilation from July 26 to August 9 with lots of ups and downs during that period before he was taken off life support and left on the ventilator for a week and later high-flow oxygen.
He pulled through following over a month in hospital but his progress in development has been hit with his physical strength being impacted even to this day.
Makayla said: “Grayson was like a large newborn baby. He could not sit up or even lift his head up.
"The first thing he asked for when he was awake was water and he was not able to drink it without the help of a straw.
“He is unable to have thin fluids die to moderate to severe aspirations and is being fed through an NG tube. Grayson is now going through physical therapy, occupational therapy, and speech therapy to help him get back to his normal self”.
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Despite the hard times he has been through, Grayson is back to laughing and smiling again.
He is currently being helped with a number of medical issues, including trying to find the source of his obesity.
Grayson was unable to be fed for one week during part of his stay in hospital but he left doctors baffled by the fact he lost no weight during this period.
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