Looking back over the last year, it seems to be nothing short of a miracle that Tina Tookey and her son Ryan are alive – overcoming obstacles and health conditions that should have long left this family broken and torn. Yet, they are home, recovering and enjoying the miracle of life.
It all started on Boxing Day in 2009 when Tina broke her ankle and developed a deep vein thrombosis (clot). Doctors prescribed her warfarin to help thin her blood so that she could manage the clots. Eventually, Tina received a leg scan and was told that she could discontinue taking the medication.
Shortly after coming off of the warfarin, Tina discovered that she was pregnant. Just seven weeks in, she starts feeling pains in her chest.
At first, doctors didn’t think much of it. They sent her home the day after she went to the hospital in Shrewsbury. But just a day after being sent home, Tina starts to feel really bad pains in her arm and her chest.
“I phoned Shropdoc (the medical helpline) and they said ‘Get to [the] hospital,’” stated Tina.
After arriving at the hospital, doctors determined that Tina had had a heart attack. A blood clot had lodged in the center of her heart.
To treat the heart attack, doctors gave Tina heparin and she continued her pregnancy. But Tina’s complications were far from over.
At 30 weeks pregnant, the baby stopped moving. Upon further examination, doctors felt that the baby needed to be delivered via caesarean.
At first, Tina wasn’t worried. She had received a caesarean with her daughter, but this time would be different. Because of the heparin, Tina was at risk of losing too much blood. Doctors would have to put her under to help control the bleeding, but could not have known what they would find during the delivery.
“I woke up two weeks later in Leicestershire Hospital. When they got Ryan out, they found lots of blood clots and my lungs collapsed,” stated Tina. “They put me into a coma in the ITU and I was in Shrewsbury Hospital over a week then I got really poorly and they lost me a couple of times. They sent me to Leicester where I was on an ECMO machine for over a week, still in a coma.”
The ECMO, a machine that provides both cardiac and respiratory support when these vital organs are unable to function on their own, made it seem that Tina would never make it back home.
Meanwhile, little Ryan was fighting his own battles. After he was born he ended up with a condition known as necrotizing enterocolitis, an infection of the intestines that can sometimes affect premature infants.
Four surgeries removed all but 20 centimeters of little Ryan’s intestines. He would be in the hospital for another seven months, but he survived. And so did his mother.
Ryan has to be fed through a nasal feeding tube, but doctors are optimistic. They hope that his intestines will stretch with time and that he won’t need a bowel transplant. Despite the slew of health conditions, they are both home and doing well. And they couldn’t be happier.
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