Survival

My boy fell off the couch and his brain fell out

Little Theodore faced a brave fight

A small tumble led to huge consequences for Kathleen’s boy. Here, in her own words, she explains how the terrifying accident unfolded….

Kathleen Bowkett, 28, Perth, WA

I breathed out a sigh of contentment as I sat on the couch with my hubby Heath, 30, and our son Theodore, almost two.

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Heath, Theodore and Kathleen. (Credit: Supplied.)

Catching up on the 5pm news, Heath was sitting in between me and Theodore.

I’m thinking wings and chips for dinner tonight,’ I smiled to Heath.

‘Sounds great. I’ll go and heat up the oven,he replied, lifting himself off the sofa.

But as Heath got up, Theo shuffled over to sit on the arm of the couch and suddenly toppled off.

Landing on his tummy, the right side of his head went smack onto the lino floor.

Instantly, my poor boy started screaming and crying.

Running over, I scooped him up. Blood was gushing from his ear and had poured all over the floor.

‘Shhh, it’s okay,’ I soothed, but inside, I couldn’t stop panicking.

He’d hit his head so hard, what if he was braindamaged?

‘Let’s go to the hospital,’ Heath urged.

With Theo still in my arms, we all rushed out to the car.

My shirt was soaked with blood and Theodore was hysterically crying.

As soon as we got in the car, he started vomiting.

‘This is serious, call an ambulance!’ I told Heath.

So I sat on the drive with Theo while my hubby dialled emergency and packed a bag.

By this point, our boy was drifting in and out of consciousness.

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Theodore kept drifting in and out of consciousness. (Credit: Supplied.)

‘I’m so scared,’ I cried to Heath.

I suffer from anxiety and epilepsy, so Heath desperately tried to calm me down to prevent a seizure. 

‘Take deep breaths,’ he said. The ambulance will behere soon.

Heart thudding, I tried tocontrol my breathing as I continued to panic about our beautiful boy.

Was he going to make it?

When the ambulance arrived, paramedics checked him over and went to put him in the ambulance bed.

But Theodore couldn’t bear to be away from me and started crying again, so I lay down with him.

Heath joined us in the ambulance as we made
the 10minute journey tohospital.

As Theo was checked over in Emergency, his ear was still pouring with blood.

‘We’re going to give him a CAT scan and X-ray on his head so we can check the damage,’ a doctor explained.

The results showed that our boy wasn’t brain damaged, but he’d broken abone in his skull and there was air on his brain.

And Theos ear still wouldn’t stop bleeding.

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Theodore in hospital. (Credit: Supplied.)

Within the hour, we were transferred to Perth Children’s Hospital, where a specialist took a sample of the blood from his ear.

‘The blood contains CSF (cerebrospinal fluid), which is what the brain produces,’ he explained.

I couldn’t believe it, Theos brain was leaking like a tap!

It’s not serious and the dripping should stop by itself, the doctor said.

Over the next few days, they gave Theo oxygen to help the air on his brain and took regular bloods to make sure he hadn’t contracted any infections.

And despite the continual ear bleeding, another scan reaffirmed there was no brain damage.

Heath and Istayed over in the hospital.

‘He’s so strong,’ Heath said proudly.

On day six, Theodore had a hearing test.

‘His left ear is fine, but we can’t pick up on the right ear,’ the doctor said. It could just be down to stress.’

But as the brain fluid continued to ooze from his ear, medics decided surgery was the only way to stop it.

‘We’ll have to remove the ear drum and block the ear canal with stomach fat,’ the surgeon said. Unfortunately, it does mean he’ll lose hearing in that ear.

‘I’m just relieved he’s not brain damaged,’ I breathed.

After a three-hour op, Theo was out of surgery and recovering on the ward.

Smothering him with kisses and cuddles, I told him, ‘You’re such a brave boy.’

The op meant the bleeding had finally stopped and Theodore was already back to his cheeky, happy self.

Finally, after 10 days in hospital, Theo was dischargedthe day before his second birthday.

It was incredible to be back at home for his specialday.

Theo had only just learnt to walk before the accident and back at home, he had to relearn after spending so long lying down. But our clever boy was soon back ohis feet.

It’s been two months since the accident and I’m so proud of how far he’s come.

Heath and I are learning sign language, and we’re teaching our boy.

He can already sign words like ‘eat’, ‘drink’ and ‘love’.

And in the next six to nine months, he’s going to have acochlear implant, which will help his hearing.

He’ll also see a speech therapist who will help him learn how to talk.

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Kathleen and Theodore. (Credit: Supplied.)

What happened to Theodore was truly terrifying and I want other parents toknow how even just alittle fall can cause serioustrauma.

The armrest was less than half a metre high and it has changed his life forever.

Although he suffered a lot,things could have been much worse.

He is one lucky boy.

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