My Gillette Story by Sarah Olson
Luke is our two and a half year old son. In May of 2012, Luke pushed through a window screen and fell 10-15 feet, sustaining a traumatic brain injury. When he was being prepared to be airlifted, my husband and I were faced with the question, “Where should we take him?” We had no clue. What parent would? We told the emergency responders to take him where they would take their child, and he was off to the Level I Pediatric Trauma Center operated by Gillette Children’s Specialty Healthcare and Regions Hospital.
Luke underwent surgery and we played the waiting game for a week, unsure if Luke would survive. We had no idea what journey we were about to embark on. Luke pulled through the rough week like a champion! He had the nurses in the Pediatric Intensive Care Unit (PICU) wrapped around his finger and he wasn’t even awake. We spent all of May at Gillette. We had to return later because Luke developed hydrocephalus and needed a shunt and a shunt revision. Finally, in July of 2012 we were able to have his bone flap placed! Much to everyone’s shock, Luke had developed an infection that was discovered during surgery. We then stayed at Gillette for 30 more days while the infection was treated. Luke then returned in October to attempt another shunt placement, and that surgery went off without a hitch.
Gillette has not only physically treated our son but they healed our family. PICU nurses like Laura, Jenny, Sarah and Lucinda cared for our family every day, for they knew we were in pain as well. Neurosurgery nurses, like Lance and Matt, cared for our son as if he was their child. We visit them every time we go to Gillette. We are forever grateful for all the professionals that interacted with our son! Words cannot describe the amount of appreciation we have for doctors, like Dr. Patrick Graupman, for saving our son’s life. Their dedication to Luke was remarkable.
The term “Bumpy Road” does not even begin to describe our journey. Yet you would never know it when looking at Luke. He loves trucks, cows, cars, buses and reading books. He demands to “shoot the ball” every day. His daddy means the WORLD to him and he loves to be around other kids. Luke continues to exude positivity and a love for life every day, just ask him, he will jabber your ear off!
Luke had defied all the odds, from surviving his fall to running less than a year later! He does experience left side weakness and is working hard to regain the use of his left arm. He has undergone two Botox injections, which have done miracles for him. He continues to participate in intensive therapies and is off all seizure medications. Luke has more strength and courage in his pinky than we have in our entire bodies. We are so proud of his hardworking and positive attitude. He is a miracle and we are blessed to have him!
Note: You can light Gillette's tree in honor of Luke by making a donation to Gillette at www.gillettechildrens.org/tree.