Miracle baby on the mend
WATCHING Tallyn Burrows lying on his baby rug, smiling and kicking his legs in the air, it is hard to comprehend the trauma he has been through in the past few weeks.
But when his mum Kristy Williams lifts his shirt to show the 15cm scar down the centre of his chest, a shiver runs down your spine as you come to grips with some of the things he has been through.
Kristy and Tallyn’s dad Ben Burrows thought their new-born son was having breathing difficulties when he was only a few days old and felt they might have been overreacting when they took him to hospital to be checked out.
They weren’t. He was a sick little boy.
His oxygen levels were at 89 when they should have been around 99-100.
He was given blood tests and x-rays immediately and within 12 hours he was being flown to the Prince of Wales Children’s Hospital in Sydney after being diagnosed with a serious heart condition – a double outlet right ventricular.
By the time he was 10 days old he was on the operating table having open heart surgery.
In that operation, specialists attached a band to stop some of the blood flow, but the procedure couldn’t be completed because of Tallyn’s age.
“They told us that the next operation would be the big one and that it would be done before Tallyn was 12 months,” Kristy said.
But it took a little longer than that ... surgeons wanted to be sure he was strong enough to make it through the surgery.
“They said we would know when it was time,” Kristy said.
“And we did. He started to sleep a lot more and you could see he was getting more tired,” she said.
Then a few weeks ago they got the call that Tallyn was to be in Sydney within two days for surgery.
Ben said that when surgeons went to remove the band, they found it had damaged the pulmonary artery.
“They expected the operation would take four-five hours,” he said.
“It took nine because they pretty much had to do the surgery twice.”
Kristy said that after the surgery Tallyn was placed on 12 different medications, had a temporary pacemaker installed, and he was on a ventilator.
“His kidneys shut down and he had multiple transfusions,” she said.
He was put in an induced coma for two weeks and was in the intensive care unit for two and a half weeks.
And until last week he was on morphine.
The drugs are still wearing off and Tallyn is still to regain full movement. His neck is still weak and he is unable to walk unassisted, but mum and dad are over the moon with his progress.
“Doctors thought it could be up to six months before he got his full strength back, but he is getting stronger and stronger each day,” Ben said.
“I don’t think it is going to take that long.”
Tallyn has been left with two wires attached to his heart so if a pacemaker is needed at some stage it can be fitted easily.
But his parents are hopeful that won’t be needed.
He had been on a pacemaker while in hospital, but his heart is now functioning normally without assistance.
“The doctors were amazed,” Ben said.
“He should make a full recovery. That should be it for the surgery.”
Kristy and Ben both said they had received magnificent support from the people of the Clarence Valley and were keen to publicly thank Dr Andrew Terrey and other medical staff for their efforts.
“I want to thank all the doctors and nurses for saving my beautiful little boy,” Kristy said.
They also thanked the Roads and Traffic Authority (for giving Ben time off work), the Grafton District Services Club, Clocktower Hotel, Village Green Hotel, Dan Murphys, Woolworths, the Shoppingworld Butchery, Ronald McDonald House, Sara and Trent Lawrence and The Daily Examiner (we had a bit of a whip around) for their help.