"...our little 18-month-old had suffered a stroke." This is Louie's story.
Boxing day started out as any other day had in Louie's 18 months of life.
He's an absolute goer from the minute he wakes up to the moment he goes to sleep. We headed out to a family birthday, and Louie was happily playing. He went to walk out a glass sliding door from inside to the tiled patio and fell and hit his cheek. Louie screamed like he normally would if he hurt himself, but it wasn't for overly long. He had had worse falls and was happy, so we weren't overly concerned. He continued to play for around 20 minutes, and then he walked over to me and just sort of fell down but wouldn't get back up. I picked him up, and his eyes were rolling in his head. At this point, we knew something was wrong and called the ambulance.
We thought he might have just had a concussion and being so little it had affected him in this way. He wasn't really using his right side of his body but thought he might have hurt his arm or leg from the fall. Once the ambulance arrived, he seemed fine. They administered Panadol and took us to the closest private hospital for a check-up. He was running around the hospital like nothing was wrong, and then he would suddenly lose his right side movement.
This happened around 4-7 times throughout the afternoon where he would lose the movement, and within a couple of minutes, it would return.
We had a CT scan, and this came back clear. We were transferred to the public hospital for an MRI. Upon arriving at the public hospital, he was again running around the ward and his usual happy self. I left for the night, leaving my husband with him because I assumed he was now fine.
My husband called me around midnight and said he had another episode, but this time his movement was gone entirely on his right side. He suggested he had a stroke as he had seen his grandfather have one, and it looked like that. He was dismissed and told it's highly unlikely. The next day when I arrived back at the hospital, I knew something was seriously wrong. My once full of beans baby was lying lifeless in his cot, unable to move and lift his head. We had the MRI at 11 am that day, and following this, I just knew it wasn't good. I asked the anesthetist how it went, and he replied that it was a good thing we got the MRI done. I knew then that it wasn't good news at all.
We were told our little 18-month-old had suffered a stroke.
He had an ischemic stroke which is a blood clot stroke in his basal ganglia part of his brain (if you google that part of the brain it's literally the epicentre of everything your body does). Because he's so little, they couldn't tell us if the fall caused the stroke or he had a stroke and fell - because he obviously couldn't talk. But the hospital assumes it's from hitting his head.
We were transferred to Queensland children's hospital which we stayed for eight weeks to receive intensive rehabilitation to learn how to hold his head up, sit, eat, drink, crawl, climb, talk and eventually to walk again. We are so thankful for the amazing team there as Louie walked out of hospital wearing his AFO boots like the little legend he is.
Louie is still receiving physio and occupational therapy and will for the rest of his life, but he isn't letting having a stroke get in his way. We are so proud of him.
My husband and I wanted to share Louie's story so other parents know that kids can have strokes too. Strokes dont discriminate no matter your age as I once thought they did.