As you walk through the halls of The Children’s Center, it is easy to recall the joy former patient Heston Bock brought to the staff.
The one-year-old blonde-haired boy was often seen roaming the hallways in his new electric wheelchair with a large smile on his face.
Heston came a long way in just the six weeks he stayed at The Children’s Center. A journey fueled by his mother’s love. A journey she will never forget.
“Heston was perfectly healthy until he was five months old,” Julie recalls. “One day I laid him down for tummy time; he was playing with his toys and started whimpering. I walked in the room and picked him up and he was totally limp.”
Julie rushed her son to the emergency room. “We spent the next month in the ICU (Intensive Care Unit) with the doctors trying to make a diagnosis, because they weren’t sure what was going on.”
Julie received the grim prognosis. Heston was partially paralyzed. A virus had attacked Heston’s spine causing Transverse Mellitus.
The inflammation caused damage to his spinal cord. Julie left the ICU with little hope. She became more than a mother for the next eight months, taking on the role of physical therapist, nurse and nutritionist.
“Just knowing my baby’s life was completely changed, I had to go through a grieving process of losing my healthy baby.”
Julie refused to give up on Heston’s future. She searched the country looking for rehabilitative care for her son.
“I was willing to go anywhere. My husband, family and I decided we would move across the country if we needed to. We originally started looking in Maryland,” Julie says.
She did not need to search far because the care Heston needed was in Oklahoma at The Children’s Center.
“Let’s put it this way, as a parent I had very high expectations. I had done a lot of research. I knew what I was looking for.”
Heston was admitted to the Pediatric Medical Rehabilitation Unit (PMRU) at The Children’s Center. His speech-language pathologist used specialized bottles for Heston’s nutrition, which allowed Julie to see immediate results. Heston gained two pounds within the first couple of weeks.
“It’s enormous progress. Heston was not able to suck from a normal bottle, so I spent months with a child that weighed less than when he was five months old,” says Julie.
Heston’s warm smile and cheerful personality stole the hearts of his nurses and therapists at The Children’s Center, including the heart of Rachel Griffith, Heston’s speech-language pathologist.
“It’s refreshing to work with a little kid that just doesn’t have a care in the world,” says Rachel. “At The Children’s Center we believe that our patients can reach their maximum potential, and that every life is valuable and important. For Heston, even though he was doing okay at home, he wasn’t at the level that he could be functionally.”
Rachel helped Heston do everyday tasks by using adaptive switches. Julie, once again, noticed the immediate improvement.
“Before we came to The Children’s Center, he had little movement in his arms. Now he is able to extend his arms, he reaches out to touch people, he waves. All of those things are new developments,” beams Julie. “For the first time since Heston's illness, it is as if I’ve seen him come to life.”
Heston is now home with his family in Tulsa, Oklahoma, preparing to celebrate Mother’s Day with his mother. A mother who never gave up hope.
“I have spoken with doctors who didn’t think he would do what he is doing right now," says Julie. “Ten years from now, as far as I’m concerned, he will be on the baseball field running around the bases making a home run.”
Honor your mother or another important woman in your life by making a donation to The Children’s Center for Mother’s Day! We will mail her a special gift notifying her of your thoughtful donation. Call (405) 440-6714 or email email@example.com.