Long recovery for family told little boy wouldn't survive
WHEN Michelle Rallings looked down at her grandson's tiny body, she knew there was no guarantee that she would ever see his little eyes open again.
At just 18-months-of-age, Izaac was admitted to Westmead Hospital with a non-accidental head injury.
His little heart had stopped beating three times and through the efforts of doctors, he was brought back to life.
However, when Mrs Rallings arrived with her husband Bruce from Rockhampton two days after the incident, she was informed her grandson was on life support.
"The doctors took us into a room and said... 'it's not looking good'," she said.
"There was nothing on the brain scan, no reactions, nothing.
"They told us to prepare to turn the machine off and they talked to us about organ donations."
It was something most grandparents would dread, and for Mrs Rallings, the possibility of losing her grandson was quickly becoming a reality.
However, during a last minute precaution, a glimmer of hope appeared.
"Through protocol, they have to do another scan before they can turn the machine off," she said.
"When they did the scan that time, they saw something.
"The doctor told us to not get our hopes up because it could've been a glitch and we'd have to wait a couple of days and do the scan again.
"Within those couple of days, something was happening in his brain. So they decided not to turn the machines off and give it time to see what happens."
Izaac was diagnosed with "global brain damage", meaning that not one part of his brain was devoid of damage.
However, doctors were able to "re-route" parts of Izaac's brain to help him function once more.
He was then in the ICU for three weeks.
"He had no reactions to anything, his pupils were fixed and dilated, he had no movements and he wasn't breathing on his own," Mrs Rallings said.
Things were looking grim for little Izaac, but one-day when staff were removing his feeding tube to "re-measure", he gagged.
"From then on, he just started doing little things," Mrs Ralligns said.
"He opened his eyes and a week after that, he started moving his head.
"Then he was transferred to a regular ward in the hospital where he stayed for six months."
Izaac began undergoing "lots of physio and therapies", but doctors warned Mrs Rallings that he would never be able to feed himself or communicate.
After he was transferred to Brisbane Hospital, Mrs Rallings came to his room one-day to see him sitting up, aided, in his chair.
"It was amazing to see," she said.
"He was so gorgeous and was smiling at me."
After two months, Izaac was transferred to Rockhampton Hospital where he then stayed for another four weeks.
"That was to give me time with him so I knew how to care for him," Mrs Rallings said.
Mrs Rallings came from a nursing background herself, and knew, without question, that she would be leaving her career behind to become her grandson's full-time carer.
Five years later, the Rockhampton grandmother cares for Izaac and his three siblings.
"He now tells you exactly what he wants and how he wants it," she said.
"He's able to move himself by shuffling along the floor. He doesn't stand or walk but is mobile.
"He's cheeky and naughty and I find it wonderful. He's no longer being fed through a tube."
Izaac was born nine weeks premature, and from birth, Mrs Rallings knew he would "always be a fighter".
On April 30, she created a GoFundMe page to raise money for a wheelchair accessible car.
So far, $715 of the $80,000 goal has been raised.
Although Izaac has been given a taxi card, his grandmother finds it difficult to travel with the children, their belongings and Izaac's wheelchair.
She has also approached NDIS and DOCS but has received no further mobility assistance.
Izaac also has incontinence which most Rockhampton venues don't cater for.
So his grandmother has to wait for another taxi to take them home and change him.
"I'm almost 50 so lifting him has become a problem," she said.
"Izaac is the type of kids that adores being with his family. When he's wheeling down the street he says 'hello' to everyone.
"Staying home for him is a punishment. He doesn't understand why his siblings can go out but he can't.
"His circumstances won't change... I've put up the page because I have nowhere else to go now.
"Since I've put the page up, people have been amazing. They're wishing him well and I'm just amazed at the compassion of people. It's beautiful."
Izaac started going to school at North Rockhampton's Special School where he has made many friends, is learning to ask questions and is provided with standing frames that Lion Club fundraised money for.
"I just want him to be happy and healthy with his family," Mrs Rallings said.
"If you have lows in your life, if you have family there for you, like these kids have, it's endless what you can do in your life."
GO FUND ME FOR IZAAC
Only $715 of the $80,000 goal has been raised so far.