Sask. mom says 2-year-old's battle with COVID-19 was terrifying

·3 min read

On Christmas Day, Erin Bruce and her husband noticed their two-year-old Bobby was tired and cranky.

"We put it down to over-stimulation and he's two so they tend to have some moods," Bruce told Saskatoon Morning's Leisha Grebinski.

Bobby continued to be lethargic in the following days. By Dec. 28 he wasn't eating.

"He went to see the doctor and of course, got swabbed for COVID because loss of appetite is a possible symptoms," said Bruce, adding that test came back negative.

The doctor couldn't find anything wrong and Bobby came home.

Then things got worse.

"He was so tired and he wanted to be carried everywhere," said Bruce, who is a communicable disease public health nurse in Meadow Lake. "As anyone knows that has a two-year-old, carrying your two-year-old everywhere is exhausting.

She said they tried to encourage Bobby to play.

"He would just sort of lay on the floor and play with his toys or roll around and cry or crawl," she said. "[He] mostly just wanted to be carried."

Then things got really scary.

"We woke up New Year's Day and he was cranky and crying and just wanted mom. So I brought him in to sit with me and cuddled," she said.

"He had started this thing where he would sigh. He takes a deep breath in and sighs and it looks really dramatic, you know, little two-year-old drama."

Bobby did the sighing thing twice, she said.

"Then he leaned his head onto my shoulder and I thought, 'Well, jeez, it's pretty early for him to be tired,'" she said.

"Then he flopped back the other way and whimpered. And I looked over and he's laying sideways beside me. His whole face was dusky and his lips are blue and he's whimpering and he's just limp. And that was the scariest thing I think I've seen ever."

Bruce raced Bobby to the hospital

"I drove straight to the ER. I walked through the doors and told them my baby was blue and limp," she said. "You get a lot of attention when that happens."

Adrian Wyld/Canadian Press
Adrian Wyld/Canadian Press

Bobby was admitted to the hospital and given a second COVID test.

He spent a few spent the next few days in hospital and didn't have another episode, but still was very tired.

Blood work showed he has some tissue damage. Then on Jan. 5 his second COVID test came back positive.

"I was pretty shocked," Bruce said. "We had been thinking about possible heart problems, possible seizures, we hadn't thought COVID at all."

Bobby is back home now after 10 days of isolation and is recovering by playing with his siblings.

"I have a video of him running around the living room, which was exciting for me to watch," said Bruce, who is self-isolating away from the family because she doesn't want anyone else to get sick.

"My husband's been sending me videos and he's perked up quite a bit. He's still a little bit tired and pale and but he's doing well now."

As a public health nurse, Bruce has had to contact many people who have tested positive for COVID-19, and has been touched and saddened by their stories.

"I thought so many times in my role that if everyone could just hear the same stories that I heard, they would understand why it's so important to be careful right now," she said. "I can't share their stories, but I can share mine."

She said she hope's her son's case lets people know COVID is serious.

"Bobby's case wouldn't even be considered a severe case of COVID. But he went blue. He went limp. He could have long lasting damage. And he is two. He was a healthy two-year-old before this started."

CBC News Graphics
CBC News Graphics

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