Brave Mia – the flu took all her limbs

that's life (Australia) - - Contents - As told to Beth Young Do­nate to the Mia Wilkin­son Trust – Ne­ces­si­tous Cir­cum­stances Fund, visit: move­ment­formia.org

Nestling into her daddy Pete, all our girl wanted was a cud­dle. ‘I have a sore belly,’ said four-year-old Mia.

Af­ter that, she was sick all night and the next morn­ing the doc di­ag­nosed her with gas­tro.

So, while Mia’s big sis­ter, El­lie, six, and baby brother, Max, one, played, she curled up on the couch and watched telly.

By the af­ter­noon, Pete and I no­ticed her eyes were va­cant and she was dis­ori­en­tated. Ter­ri­fied, I raced her to the hos­pi­tal.

When the nurses tried to weigh Mia, her legs hurt so much she couldn’t even stand on the scales.

This time, Mia was di­ag­nosed with in­fluenza B and vi­ral myosi­tis – a con­di­tion which causes mus­cle pain and weak­ness dur­ing the flu.

‘She just needs some rest,’ a doc­tor said.

But that night, Mia’s legs were in agony.

Ring­ing a health ad­vice hot­line, we spoke to a nurse, who told us to take Mia back to hos­pi­tal if she showed any more symp­toms.

Sleep­ing in her room, I checked on her ev­ery two hours.

And the fol­low­ing day, I kept a close eye on my baby.

Around 5pm, I saw a light pur­ple rash had bloomed on her legs. Buck­ling Mia into the car, I raced back to Emer­gency.

There, a nurse took one look at my girl and led us through to an exam room, where medics quickly sur­rounded her.

‘Is your hus­band on his way?’ a doc­tor asked, gen­tly.

What’s hap­pen­ing? I fret­ted. She only has the flu!

Leav­ing the kids with his aunt, Pete was shocked to find us in triage.

We were heart­bro­ken hav­ing to hold Mia down while an IV was in­serted into her veins.

‘I’m fine, I can go home now!’ she sobbed.

But Mia was placed in an in­duced coma, so a breath­ing tube could be fit­ted. Dur­ing the pro­ce­dure her heart stopped.

‘Peter, we’re los­ing her!’ I screamed.

Cling­ing to each other, we stood there, help­less, as the

‘Your hands and feet are re­ally sick,’ I told her

docs tried des­per­ately to bring our girl back.

The re­lief as Mia’s heart beat again was pro­found.

Hooked up to life sup­port, she made it through the night, but her hands and feet were dark pur­ple.

‘Mia’s blood pres­sure is crit­i­cally low,’ a doc­tor said.

They’d put her on drugs to keep it up. In turn, it di­min­ished the flow of blood to her arms and legs.

It turned out Mia had sep­sis – a life-threat­en­ing re­sponse to in­fec­tion that can lead to tis­sue dam­age, or­gan fail­ure and death.

I’d never even heard of it... As the days went on, Mia’s fingers and toes turned black and be­gan to shrivel up.

What about the dam­age we can’t see? I wor­ried.

Mia was a sweet, kind kid, who told me she loved me out of the blue all the time.

When she was wo­ken up six days later, it was clear she was still our Mia.

‘Do you know how much I love you?’ she asked her daddy a few days later. ‘Prob­a­bly a lot!’ he smiled. ‘All the way around the world!’ she de­clared.

Sadly, a bone scan showed that no blood was cir­cu­lat­ing past mid­way up Mia’s fore­arms and calves. They’d have to be am­pu­tated.

‘Your hands and feet are re­ally sick and the doc­tors can’t make them bet­ter,’ I told her.

Ev­ery day she amazes me with her can

do at­ti­tude

A few weeks later she was wheeled in to have her hands re­moved.

‘I don’t want them to take my hands,’ Mia said, scared.

Ly­ing in bed af­ter­wards, she started cry­ing.

‘How am I go­ing to play with El­lie?’ she sobbed.

‘We’ll find new ways of do­ing things and play­ing games,’ I soothed her. And we did! A whiz, Mia quickly learned to play on the lap­top us­ing her el­bows!

Two months later, last Jan­uary, she went in to have both her legs am­pu­tated be­low the knee.

But our brave Mia took it in her stride, gig­gling and muck­ing around be­fore she was wheeled in.

In the next few weeks, our amaz­ing girl cel­e­brated her fifth birth­day and had her first day of prep!

It’s been more than a year since Mia got sick.

Ev­ery day, she amazes me with her pos­i­tiv­ity and can-do at­ti­tude.

Mia can now feed her­self, ride her spe­cial scooter, and even draw pretty pic­tures and write by us­ing her arms.

‘That’s neater than Daddy’s hand­writ­ing!’ I laugh.

She’s also learned to walk in her new pros­thetic legs.

They can be un­com­fort­able, but Mia’s de­ter­mined to get around on her own two feet.

‘I got sick and no blood went to my hands and feet, so the doc­tors had to chop them off,’ I heard her tell her friends re­cently.

‘What was it like to be in hos­pi­tal?’ one kid asked.

‘It was good and bad,’ my girl replied, mat­ter-of­factly.

‘I got lots of presents, but I wish I could have my hands and feet back.’

In the next breath, she was gig­gling and play­ing with her pals, scoot­ing around on her new legs.

We’re shar­ing Mia’s story to raise aware­ness of sep­sis – it can be a killer.

We’re so lucky to still have our Mia – we love her to the moon and back.

El­lie, Peter, Mia and me hold­ing Max

acoma Mi­awas­placedin

We’re so lucky to still have oursweet Mia

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