On February 16, 2008 – just 5 days before his 2nd birthday – Aidan nearly drowned in a pond near his Papaw's house.
We were setting up for his birthday party and had only been at the house for about 30 minutes when Aidan wandered away from family members. Somehow Aidan ended up down the hill at the fishing pond on the property. We aren't sure exactly how long Aidan was in the water; the terrain made it difficult to see where Aidan was unless you were in certain areas of the yard or house.
Russell saw Aidan in the pond when we started looking around once it was realized that he was missing. When Russell found Aidan, he immediately ran down to the edge of the pond and jumped in to get him out. His Nana, who is a Registered Nurse, began CPR immediately while 911 was called.
It only took 3 minutes for the first responders to arrive and they took over for Aidan's Nana. The paramedics worked on Aidan at the scene, intubated him and continued to try and get a pulse. They did not get a pulse on Aidan until about 40-45 minutes later after they arrived at the ER. Once at the hospital the initial blood work showed that Aidan's blood was extremely acidic and he had severe hypothermia. We were told to prepare for the worst, because the doctors on duty did not expect Aidan to survive.
We made it through the first hours, getting him warmed slowly, until he became fevered from developing pneumonia. As a result, Aidan was kept in a medically induced coma for several days. He had several EEGs that showed very slow brain activity and some seizures, while CT scans showed a little swelling and an MRI initially showed very little damage.
After several more EEGs and MRIs, Aidan is no longer having seizures and showing more brain activity, but his brain had shrunk somewhat and the areas that looked hypoxic on the second MRI infarcted, basically causing a stroke in Aidan's midbrain (basal ganglia) area. This causes him to have what are called "sympathetic neuro-storms".
Aidan spent 40 days at the PICU of Jeff Gordon Children's Hospital at Carolinas Medical Center-Northeast in Concord, NC. He was then transferred to Levine Children's Hospital in Charlotte, NC where he received physical, occupational and speech therapy for 3 weeks. Aidan was released from the hospital on April 17, 2008; two months and a day after his accident. He currently continues to receive nursing care at home, as well as inpatient and outpatient therapies. After two years, he has made a lot of progress, but there is still much that needs to be done.
Aidan is a special little boy who has a beautiful heart and spirit and he could light up a room with his smile and his eyes. He has touched so many hearts and lives already and we hope that you all are inspired by his story and will follow us on our journey through Aidan's recovery.