Four-year-old Oliver Davis was a happy, active four-year-old before waking up to “excruciating” pain on Monday June 2, 2018
The life of a ‘healthy’ boy’s family was turned upside down when a mysterious illness caused the tot to wake up in excruciating pain and become completely paralyzed in less than 24 hours.
Four-year-old Oliver Davis was a happy, active four-year-old before waking up to “excruciating” pain on Monday June 2, 2018.
His mother, Belinda, from New South Wales, Australia, recalled Oliver telling her he couldn’t sit.
Belinda, 32, said she initially thought he was just being goofy. However, she realized the seriousness of the situation when he had to roll out of bed after losing all strength in his abdomen.
At 2 p.m. the little boy was in pain. Belinda took him to the nearest GP, who sent the duo to Sydney Children’s Hospital in Randwick in an ambulance.
On arrival, Oliver was put under and doctors ran an MRI scan as a ‘process of elimination’ to determine what was wrong.
After ruling out brain tumors, cancer, and other “scary” prognosis, doctors eventually diagnosed Oliver with Guillain-Barré Syndrome (GBS).
Within 24 hours, Oliver was completely paralyzed from the neck down and lost all control of his reflexes and nerves.
According to the Mayo Clinic, GBS is classified as a rare neurological condition in which the body’s immune system attacks nerves.
A definite cause is still unknown, although the syndrome is often triggered by viral or bacterial diseases.
Belinda said no one could tell the family how long Oliver would be paralyzed or in hospital due to a lack of information about the disease.
Guillain-Barré Syndrome (pronounced Ghee-Yan Bar-Ray) is a very rare and serious condition that affects nerves.
It mainly affects the feet, hands, and limbs, causing problems like numbness, weakness, and pain.
It can be treated and most people eventually make a full recovery, although occasionally it can be life-threatening, leaving some people with long-term problems.
Guillain-Barré syndrome affects people of all ages, but is more common in adults and men.
Thankfully, although Oliver couldn’t move his arms and legs and had trouble swallowing, he never lost the ability to breathe.
Despite this, he was left completely paralyzed for a horrific four weeks – during which time his family never left his side.
“He spent a few days in intensive care and didn’t want me to take my eyes off him, even for a bathroom break,” Belinda said Daily Mail Australia .
“I cried so much for the first few days because we didn’t know what the outcome would be.”
Belinda said Oliver was in the hospital for about three months and stayed there until he was able to move again, having to learn to crawl and walk again.
He suffered from extreme pain all over his body and had hot and cold flashes.
Since his nerves were not yet responsive, he needed a catheter and feeding tube.
Oliver later relapsed and got sick again, but luckily this lasted less than a week and wasn’t as bad as the first attack.
Belinda said the family owes a debt of gratitude to the Starlight Children’s Foundation, who brightened Oliver’s days through his recovery with her room at the hospital and the visits of her “Starlight Captains.”
The Starlight Captains frequently put on shows, offering face painting, balloon animals, singing, costumes and often a BBQ, Belinda said.
Oliver also got a wish granted by the Starlight Foundation and he decided to take the whole family to swim with dolphins at SeaWorld in Queensland.
Three years later, Oliver, now 7, is living a fairly normal life, with physical appointments once a week and regular swimming lessons.
Belinda described her boy as a “real trooper”.
The family recently relocated to the north coast of New South Wales from Sydney but continue to travel back to Sydney for treatment or telemedicine appointments.
Belinda tells the story of her family before the Starlight Children’s Foundation’s Super Swim campaign, as swimming has proven to be so beneficial for Oliver.
The virtual swimming challenge aimed to raise $3million (£1.5million) for sick children in hospital.