When two-year-old Laila came home from crèche tired one evening in July, her mum Jodie initially thought she’d had a particularly busy morning tearing around with her little friends. But Laila was still listless by bed time and when she refused breakfast the next morning, Jodie took her to the GP.
Laila was given antibiotics for tonsillitis and sent home but she failed to improve and even with Calpol, Jodie couldn’t really reduce her temperature. Laila was taken to Morrison where she was monitored for a few hours and when her temperature started to reduce, she was allowed home again. But soon after returning home, Jodie noticed that one side of Laila’s face was drooping a little and, concerned that she may be allergic to penicillin as Jodie was, they went back to the GP who changed Leila’s medication and also diagnosed a chest infection.
The next morning, Laila’s temperature was up again and as Jodie went to get her medicine, Laila had her first fit. She was rushed back to Morriston Hospital where she underwent a lumbar puncture and an MRI which revealed both an abscess on her brain and bacterial meningitis. She was immediately to the Noah’s Ark Children’s Hospital for Wales where she underwent surgery that same night to drain the abscess.
Jodie says: “The operation had gone well so, feeling slightly relieved that we’d finally got to the bottom of what was wrong, we went off to get some rest for a few hours while Laila recovered. But when we got back the next morning, Laila wasn’t there. She’d had two strokes, one on each side of her body and had been rushed up to intensive care. It felt like we were living in some kind of horrible dream.”
On arriving in ITU, Jodie and Gary, Laila’s dad, were told that their little girl had blood clots on her brain and that if she were to have another stroke she was unlikely to survive. In her first 24 hours on intensive care Laila had seven seizures so she was placed in a medically induced coma to give her body a chance to recover. During that time doctors could give no certainty about how much of Laila they would get back.
Laila gradually regained consciousness and after spending six days on intensive care she was moved down to Island Ward to begin an eight week course of intravenous antibiotics. As a result of her two strokes, she isn’t able to walk or talk – something her mum says she used to do a lot of before becoming ill. She also has very little use of her right arm. But her family and the medical team who support her are determined to get her well again.
At not even three-years old, Laila now has intensive physiotherapy and occupational therapy to help her strengthen her limbs so that one day soon she’ll be able to walk and talk again. She loves her sessions in the hydrotherapy pool and as a result of everyone’s hard work and determination, Laila’s already started to hold her head and sit up with support. She’s been at the Noah’s Ark Children’s Hospital for Wales for 18 weeks now and its hard work for her mum who also has to care for Laila’s two younger siblings, Eliza and Lucas. Juliet and Catrin the play specialists do everything they can to keep Laila stimulated and happy though and Laila loves their disco dancing sessions in the play room, the sensory room on the ward and arts and crafts sessions.
It’s thanks to people like you that we were able to help fund the intensive care unit where Laila was treated when she was very ill and the hydrotherapy pool where she now undergoes her rehabilitation. You also help us fund the sensory room and the amazing play specialists that keep the smile on the faces of Leila and her mum.