Couple’s seizure scare

By Deniliquin Pastoral Times

Blighty’s Jayne Wilkins and her partner Michael ‘Gossy’ Norman faced the scariest moment of their life recently when their nine month-old baby suffered a seizure.

When a baby has a seizure it’s incredibly difficult and stressful to deal with as they are too young to communicate their pain with the parents.

Although able to breathe, little Harriet had to wait 20 minutes for an ambulance to arrive at their Blighty home before being transported to Deniliquin Hospital.

The Deni nurses and doctors played a vital role in saving the baby but were taking no chances and Harriet was ultimately airlifted to Melbourne’s Royal Children’s Hospital. The seizure resulted in bacterial meningitis.

Thankfully for the family their daughter survived and they are giving back to the hospital by leading the fundraising at the Blighty pub for the Good Friday Appeal.

The Royal Children’s Hospital hasn’t just played an important role saving Harriet’s life, the couple’s 21 month old son Franklin is also a frequent visitor to Parkville.

The youngster was born with a heart defect which required open heart surgery and now suffers from a rare form of Congenital Heart Disease.

Miss Wilkins said without the Royal Children’s Hospital both of her children would be dead.

‘‘They stopped Harriet’s infection growing and stopped it before any damage was done.

‘‘With Franklin we didn’t know his issues until he was sick so it was going from having a healthy baby to ‘you’re not going home’ to ‘he needs surgery to stay alive’.’’

In mid-March, it was a typical day for the family until Harriet endured her 90 minute seizure.

‘‘On the day of her seizure, she was drooling heaps and we thought it was because she was teething,’’ Miss Wilkins said.

‘‘She was a little bit quiet after daycare so I didn’t think much of it. We went home and while I was making tea she started (the seizure).

‘‘I was yelling her name and she came back for about two seconds then was gone. Mick just couldn’t believe what was happening.

‘‘It was a 20 minute wait for the ambulance and the whole time we had to make sure she was breathing.

‘‘We first went to Deni Hospital, who did a great job and stopped the seizures but she still had to go Melbourne to make sure she was okay.

‘‘After a seizure for that long you don’t know what has happened or why it happened.

‘‘There was a stage we didn’t know. I knew the longer the seizure went the more long term issues she would face.’’

Miss Wilkins praised the quick thinking efforts of staff, nurses and doctors at both hospitals.

‘‘Being in New South Wales and so far away it’s still such an important hospital. The Deni hospital was amazing and provided a head start for Harriet.

‘‘They gave her antibiotics as soon as we got there, which boosted her white blood cells.

‘‘By giving her the antibiotics it was able to slow down the infection and fight the bacteria,’’ Miss Wilkins said.

Franklin has never been airlifted to hospital, however he does require treatment at RCH about nine times a year.

Since Harriet’s seizure she’s been healthy and has shown no signs of repeating.

Miss Wilkins said she’s confident the family won’t experience the same episode with their daughter again.

‘‘We shouldn’t have any issues moving forward based on what has happened or have a recurrence of what happened.

‘‘At least we know if she does experience a seizure we’ll be ready for it.’’

Miss Wilkins is studying nursing and said the further she progresses in her career the more confident she feels about dealing with Harriet.

‘‘With Franklin we do need to wait, which sounds terrible but you need to wait and hope nothing happens because you can’t see his heart.’’

The Blighty Pub is selling raffle tickets to raise money for the Good Friday Appeal.

Miss Wilkins said there’s no set target of how much money they hope to raise.

‘‘Any amount is a good amount, last year we raised about $4300.

‘‘That was a our first year of fundraising so all of this with Harriet hadn’t happened. We’re doing this as a way of saying thank you to the hospital.

‘‘But not just for the doctors and nurses, it’s the people who put the coffee in the parents’ room, those who wash the bedding and a whole lot more people working behind the scenes.

‘‘As a parent it’s nice having those little things done for you when you’re stressing out about your child.

‘‘At the moment we’re raffling a Deni Ute Muster prize, which includes a ticket and a singlet.’’

Miss Wilkins thanked the Blighty Pub for its support and the Deni Ute Muster for its donation.

Tickets for the Good Friday Appeal raffle, which will be drawn on April 19, cost $5 and can be purchased at the Blighty Pub.