A Good News Story

By Shailea Trickey

Winnie and Shailea

On the afternoon of Monday November 23, Keith and I lived every parent’s worst nightmare. Whilst we were outside doing gardening, Winnie our two year old daughter, went for a wander without us realising. We found her in our dam. She had drowned. There was no heart beat or pulse.

I got her out of the water whilst Keith phoned 000 for help. We took turns doing CPR (cardiopulmonary resuscitation) on Winn for around 25 minutes until paramedics came and took over and worked on her for 23 minutes. We listened to every instruction the 000 operator gave us and without that help I don't know what we would have done. The paramedics were able to get Winn’s heart beating again and a pulse back, Winn also had a cardiac arrest and they were able to correct this. Winn was air lifted to The Royal Children's Hospital where she was put into a coma and kept cold (they keep you cold for 72 hours to help prevent your brain from swelling as this tends to happen 48 hours after) and she stayed this way for six days.

During this time we were told the only reason she is still alive is because of the CPR Keith and I performed, and that she had a fighting chance because she was in the dam and the cold water stopped her brain from swelling.  (I did not know how important it was for them to stay cold. My instinct at the time was to warm her up but thank goodness I didn't get the time to because of performing CPR).

I also can see how parents would not try and do CPR finding their child like that thinking they are gone, and not knowing that it is still possible for them to come back. Thank the stars we went down the path of CPR, not accepting she was gone even though our eyes and heart were feeling otherwise.

Whilst waiting to start the warming/waking of Winn at the hospital, we had several conversations with doctors and specialists all stating they couldn’t say if she would make it and how she would be once she woke.

The day came and Winn was slowly warmed back up to body temperature and her breathing tube came out and she was breathing on her own!!! We were warned she wouldn't be herself for some time due to all the sedation/medication she has received and what could have happened from all the trauma she has gone through.

Since waking, Winn was not herself for a while and unfortunately started suffering from seizures and developed pneumonia with a temperature. We were told her MRI showed some brain damage and they couldn’t tell us how this would affect her.

Winn is our little fighter though. Through all this she is alive and our girl is here. Winn could say some words and even requested her bear and told us she was cold. She was able to see and move her head to people when they are talking to her. Unfortunately after the seizures Winn could no longer speak or move/hold up her body and after a few weeks we found out she could only see lights and shadows.

Winn started therapy in the hospital and slowly regained her gross and fine motor skills. She started walking, drinking and eating and eventually got her eye sight back and was able to talk again!

Since coming home Winn suffers from fatigue due to her hypoxic acquired brain injury and needs lots of rests and down time. She gets overwhelmed easily and complains about her eyes when she is like this. Other than fatigue Winn is the same little girl as she was before; happy and healthy and loving being a big sister.

Her baby sister Hazel was born on the December 30. I was 33 weeks pregnant when Winnie first drowned.

Winnie celebrated her second birthday in hospital and at that time she couldn’t see. She was also there for Christmas and New Year, a total of six weeks.

My friend Sarah contacted the Churchill Lions Club and told them our story. President Reg contacted myself and not only did they donate money to go towards Winnie’s health care, they came out and with the help of Winn’s Dad Keith they built a fence around our dam. The boys came a few times and did the fence in sections. They all loved meeting Winn, were lovely and good for a laugh, truly beautiful and genuine people who care and help others. We are so grateful for their generosity and cannot thank them enough. We would also like to thank everyone else who contributed funds to help with our medical and accommodation needs. Our thanks also go to the staff at the Royal Children’s Hospital for their wonderful care in bringing our Winn back to us as healthy and happy as she is.

Our experience has taught us how important it is to know CPR and we would encourage everyone to learn how to do this life saving procedure.