As a parent, there is undoubtedly nothing scarier than when your child gets sick. Sure, kids pick up lots of colds and viruses, but it’s usually nothing serious. However, when they are, it’s imperative that action is taken quickly.
That’s why one mother in Florida became nervous when her daughter’s school called her about a potential illness. The little girl’s mysterious fever dissipated, but the mother’s concern didn’t. She decided to follow her instincts and bring her to the doctor—and it ended up saving her life…
One morning in early April, Lacey Grace, a mother in Sarasota, Florida, received a phone call from the preschool where her daughter, Elianna, stayed during the day. Lacey was immediately concerned; it wasn’t often that she got a call from her four-year-old’s school.
According to the school staff, Elianna had a high fever and needed to be sent home for the day. In addition, according to the school’s policy, Elianna would have to stay home for 24 hours to keep the risk of infection from spreading to other students.
Lacey picked up her daughter and brought her home to rest. The next day, the little girl seemed to be doing much better, but because she couldn’t go to school, Lacey let her tag along while she went to work. Her daughter colored at an empty desk while Lacey went about her day.
The next day, Lacey dropped a chipper Elianna off at school—only to receive a phone call a few hours later saying that the fever was back. Lacey had to go and pick her daughter up once more…
At first, Lacey wasn’t overly concerned. As the mother to two children, she knew that the kids often picked up little colds and bugs from fellow students. She was confident that her daughter just needed another day home from school to rest up.
“There are so many times I have taken my kid to the doctor, saying I’m being a worried parent, and they say it’s a viral thing, give it a few days,” Lacey said. Even though she knew it was likely nothing, Lacey started to get nervous the more she thought about it.
Elianna was normally a healthy little girl, which was only one reason why Lacey started to feel worried about the recurring fever. The other was due to a troubling story she’d read in the local paper about a four-year-old boy named Frankie Delgado Jr.
Frankie, the paper reported, had tragically died the previous summer after inhaling a large amount of water while playing in a pool with his family. Frankie had started to show signs of “dry drowning” and secondary drowning days after the incident at the pool…
Both of these complications from drowning can happen when the water is inhaled into the respiratory system. In dry drowning, the water causes the airways to spasm. In secondary drowning, water goes straight to the lungs and causes fatal edema.
Tragically, no one in Frankie’s family was familiar with either condition, so when Frankie started to get sick after swimming, no one made the connection. When he died days later, the doctors initially told his family it must have been a bacterial infection before they learned the truth.
Lacey was heartbroken for Frankie and his family, and she made sure that she learned the signs of dry drowning and secondary drowning. These symptoms included vomiting, coughing, blue or gray skin, and lethargy.
As she looked at sick Elianna, Lacey began thinking about the symptoms her daughter was experiencing. She tried to recall any situations Elianna had recently been in that might’ve exposed her to dry drowning. That was when she remembered…
The week before Elianna got sick, she’d played in her grandparents’ pool. Elianna had been splashing around in the water with her relatives, and Lacey remembered a moment where she started choking when water got into her mouth.
Lacey remembered this because getting the water into her mouth had made her incredibly sick. Elianna had to jump up and out of the pool, vomiting up the water. But within half an hour, the little girl seemed fine. Now Lacey wasn’t so sure…
“I never would have correlated that fever to the pool incident if I hadn’t of read that story about Frankie,” Lacey said later. “I was like, this is not going to happen to Elianna.”
Remembering all of this, Lacey rushed her daughter straight to the nearest urgent care center. As the doctors scheduled her for X-rays, Elianna suddenly started turning purple and shaking uncontrollably.
“The doctor came out and said ‘You have to find the nearest emergency room,'” Lacey explained. “‘You need to pick the closest one. Just go.'” Lacey rushed Elianna to the hospital and the doctors found that she had developed a bacterial infection in her lungs.
In her first night in the hospital, Elianna’s oxygen levels plummeted. Thankfully, she was being treated and on her way to recovery. “This is why she’s here. Thank God you brought her in,” Lacey said about what doctors told her that night.
Lacey then contacted Frankie’s family to let them know that their little boy’s tragic death prevented Elianna’s. She was so thankful—and Frankie’s family was deeply moved. “We’re glad to see it’s making a difference,” they said.
While it shouldn’t take one tragedy to prevent another, Elianna was extremely lucky her mother read about Frankie’s story. After a full recovery, the little girl is back to living her life the way she should be—healthy and happy!
Dry drowning and secondary drowning are very serious conditions. If you suspect that your child is showing symptoms of these conditions, contact your healthcare provider immediately!
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