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From Smile to Smile: Bodie’s Story

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By Matt Vera BSN, R.N.

This is the story of Bodie Dean Gannaway. He was born on June 7, 2011 with a Tetralogy of Fallot. These pictures will tell you the heartwarming story of this little young man’s struggle from a smile to a smile.

Bodie was born with a fairly common heart defect. It would require surgery to repair, but it could wait until a few months down the road.

Bodie was born with a fairly common heart defect. It would require surgery to repair, but it could wait until a few months down the road.

Big brother with his brand new little brother.

Big brother with his brand new little brother.

There’s a big, wonderful world out there, little man.

6 months old. This is the day before his heart surgery. It will be a long time before we see his smile again.

We were told the surgery went well and we’d be home in a week or two. We did not know things were about to go horribly wrong.

He had four cardiac arrests during his recovery. The worst one was 2:30 Christmas morning. We watched outside his hospital room as more than a dozen doctors and nurses worked to save his life. Through the chaos we could see a nurse administering CPR. His little arms would jerk with each chest compression. Counting all his cardiac arrests, he endured a total of over an hour and half of CPR. Each time he pulled through.

Even though the CPR saved his life, it wasn’t enough to keep blood flowing to his feet and his brain. He suffered an anoxic brain injury causing fluid to build up in his skull. He started having seizures. Several procedures were done to drain the fluid and alleviate the pressure.

The bandages on his legs are because he just had most of his right foot amputated and two toes on his left amputated. The dollar bills are because the nurses think he’s a hottie. (Edit: it was part of a joke to lighten the mood. Don’t worry there was gauze underneath them and they were just there long enough for the picture.)

First time outside the hospital room. A wagon ride with his big brother.

You gain a deep appreciation for how precious life is when you see a baby fight so hard to hang on to it and when you hear a 3 year old say “I’m here brother, I’m here”.

After 5 months in the hospital almost ready to go home.

Home! because of the brain injury, he must relearn everything. He can’t eat or smile. He can’t sit up or hold his head up or roll over. His eyesight was damaged too. He has therapy sessions twice a day, five days a week.

Back to the hospital for his 16th(!) and final surgery. This is to repair a hernia that had developed.

Scars are like trophies and toes are overrated.

Glasses to help with his vision therapy.

A smile! It had been ten long months since his last smile. The future is bright again. Two things Bodie has taught us:

  1. No matter how long the odds, never ever ever give up.
  2. Nothing is more important than love and family

Two things our time in the hospital taught us:

  1. Doctors and nurses are everyday heroes.
  2. No matter how bad things get for you, there are always others going through more difficult hardships.

Thank you easybodie for sharing these!  Visit their Facebook Page for more updates.

Matt Vera, a registered nurse since 2009, leverages his experiences as a former student struggling with complex nursing topics to help aspiring nurses as a full-time writer and editor for Nurseslabs, simplifying the learning process, breaking down complicated subjects, and finding innovative ways to assist students in reaching their full potential as future healthcare providers.

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