‘He was so unwell and it was really hour by hour’

July 17, 2017

Will Moyle who just got home after spending 66 days in the Royal Children's Hospital for a severe staph infection that saw him on life support for 4 days and unable to walk unassisted. Photo by Luke Hemer.

WILL Moyle can’t remember much from the past nine weeks.

Which is probably a good thing, according to his mother Wendy.

When she took her 14-year-old son, complaining of sore knees, to Echuca hospital back in May, little did she know it would be the start of a nightmare for the whole family.

A nightmare that saw young Will rushed to intensive care at the Royal Children’s Hospital, on life support for four days and where he would endure seven operations and four blood transfusions to save his battered body from a severe staph infection.

“If you had have told me we would have been at the RCH for 66 days, I wouldn’t have believed it,” Wendy said.

“It’s been an emotional rollercoaster.”

On Wednesday, May 3, Will complained of sore knees after playing soccer for St Joseph’s College.

Two days later, he spent the day in St John of God Hospital in Bendigo, but when he returned home still unwell Wendy took him to Echuca hospital the next morning.

“He had really sore legs and was vomiting and was transferred to Bendigo hospital by ambulance,” Wendy said.

“By the time he got to Bendigo, his right hip was sore. They knew it was some kind of infection, but they didn’t know what.”

From there, Will was flown to RCH.

“That’s when I thought ‘we’re in strife’,” Wendy said.

“I was thinking the worst.

“When we arrived, the nursing staff at the ICU were waving us down, so I knew then it was serious.”

Within minutes he was taken into theatre to have his knees flushed and came out on life support.

“He was ventilated for the next five days,” Wendy said.

“His blood results were saying critical and he had about eight or nine drug lines going into him and four lots of antibiotics.”

The second day, Wendy and husband Nigel, were told to prepare for the worst.

“That was incredibly hard to hear,” an emotional Wendy said.

“He was so unwell and at that stage it was really hour by hour.”

Eventually Will was taken off the ventilator but he remained very unwell and bedridden.

Tests revealed the staph infection had affected his heart and lungs and it was a matter of waiting for the antibiotics to work.

“He was having continual temps for six weeks,” Wendy said.

Will celebrated his 14th birthday still in ICU, where he would be kept for 11 days.

“They took me outside in a wheelchair that (birth)day. It was the first time I got out bed,” Will said.

Will was then transferred to the cardiac ward, which would be home for the next four weeks.

“When he was in there they called a medical emergency on him,” Wendy said.

“It was my birthday. That was terrifying.”

At that stage, he still couldn’t bend his legs or walk.

‘‘I don’t remember much from that time but when Mum told me, I thought it was pretty scary,’’ Will said.

Slowly, painfully slowly, Will started to make some progress and was eventually moved to the rehab ward where he underwent three weeks of daily physio and occupational therapy.

He stood for the first time on June 5 and took his first steps with a gutter frame on June 28.

“Even though my leg was still sore, it felt good,” Will said.

Last week, Will finally got to come home and although he is still on crutches and 9kg lighter, he is happier than ever.

‘‘It’s awesome to be home,’’ Will agreed.

‘‘I’ve missed just going to see my mates and playing footy.’’

Although the Echuca United under 14 footballer won’t be playing sport any time soon, and it will be a slow return to school as well.

The latest MRI shows the infection is still in his bones in his right hip, femur, tibia and fibula, so he will need antibiotics intravenously for the next six weeks.

‘‘They think the infection entered a wound, when and how is unknown. And why it was so savage? It could have just been rotten bad luck,’’ Wendy said.

Will will have to have regular cardiac checks and blood tests over the next few months, as well as ongoing physiotherapy.

‘‘Getting him back walking will be the biggest challenge,’’ Wendy said.

Wendy said the past two months still seemed surreal and the family was looking forward to getting back to some normality.

‘‘I didn’t sleep much and I didn’t eat for two to three weeks just from worrying,’’ she said.

‘‘But Will was amazing through it all.’’

And through it all, Wendy and Nigel were by their son’s side, taking turns to drive back and forth to Echuca to care for their other four daughters.

Wendy said the Echuca community had been amazing in its support during this time, particularly Echuca East Primary School, St Joseph’s College, Uniting and Epicentre churches, Echuca United Football Club and Dance Fitness Factory.

‘‘It’s so much easier to give than receive. It has been overwhelming,’’ Wendy said.

‘‘We are hugely blessed and grateful and I don’t know how we are ever going to repay them.’’

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