October 6, 2014 – Joseph Peters

Welcoming Joseph and the rest of the Peters family to PUDM!

Our Riley story began the afternoon of July 24, 2014, not so long ago but feels like years. Our son, Joseph, was in an accident with a lawn mower. His foot was severely cut up to above the ankle. The Monticello ambulance took us to Lafayette and in the emergency room they told us, “We are flying him to Riley.” Those words floored me. We always hear about kids going to Riley but I never believed we would need to go. From the minute we arrived at Riley, even through the airlift flight, we were treated with the utmost respect. In the emergency room at Riley I was so scared facing all of these doctors dressed in yellow gowns. Joseph was calm and they were so good to us, even providing a woman who stood by my side explaining everything they were doing. He went into surgery shortly after and the amazing Dr. Myung came out to talk to us during the surgery to tell us she needed to amputate below the knee and because of the serious contamination, there was an increased risk of infection. Joe had a second surgery the following Monday, and his leg was cast. He got up and around using a walker a few times, and we were scheduled to go home on Wednesday. By Tuesday night, he developed a fever that resulted in an increase in his heart rate and had a very astute nurse not notified the ortho doctor on call, he would have been seriously sick (sepsis). The infectious disease doctors took blood cultures to try and identify what was causing Joseph to be so ill, what organism was he fighting. They finally were able to narrow it down to target the right antibiotics. Because of the infection, the leg required more wash outs and surgery, with a day in ICU, resulting in a final surgery.

Dr. Myung came to see us every day. Joseph and the nurses would have water filled syringe fights. The various therapies that visited were very special people. Joseph was very weak by this point, and had lost several pounds. They wanted us to stay in inpatient rehab, so we left our beloved 8 East to move to the rehab unit. The nurses there were just as wonderful, and with the help of physical therapy Joseph was winning wheelchair races in no time. Then another fever hit, this time with a rash all over his body. The infectious disease team worked hard to figure out what caused these symptoms, and it ended up he had a delayed allergic reaction to one of the antibiotics. They found another antibiotic that would fight the bacteria he had, and the reaction went away. After 5 and a half weeks in the hospital, we finally went home on August 30. Although we had 4 times when we thought we were going home and stayed, each time was a gift from God because the staff and doctors at Riley identified a concern that we couldn’t handle on our own. Everyone at Riley is a blessing. I’ve said Riley is the Disneyland of hospitals; it is all about the kids. Every doctor, nurse, volunteer, and staff have the interests of the kids in their hearts.

All of the nurses were so wonderful; I cannot even express how much they meant to us. And the child development specialist, psych services, pet therapy, music therapy, volunteers, storytellers, they were all amazing and made Joseph feel special.