Dedicated care helps a child born with a chromosomal abnormality blossom and grow
Jazlyn K. loves to go with her mother to the supermarket, but this 6-year old little girl could care less about such mundane things as which groceries to place in the shopping cart.
She is more interested in happily greeting every person she sees with her beautiful smile and twinkling baby blue eyes. Of course, fellow shoppers can’t resist greeting her back in return.
“She has come such a long way from the tiny baby who was not expected to ever walk, talk, or eat," says her mother Natalie.
She, along with her husband, Woody, and their sons, Jake, now 15 and Jagger, now 10, welcomed Jazlyn to the world following a challenging, high-risk pregnancy.
The family’s joy turned to worry, as Jazlyn experienced tremendous difficulties.
“She couldn’t suck, swallow, and breathe at the same time, which made feeding really difficult," shares Natalie, as images of her daughter’s earliest, most challenging days echo in her memory. “When she was nine days old, I was taking her in the car to visit my mother. When I took her out of the car seat, she had turned blue, and I immediately knew something was horribly wrong.
She had gone into respiratory arrest and stopped breathing! Thankfully, my mother was able to give her CPR until the paramedics came and rushed her to the hospital."
This led to a five-month hospital stay and multiple surgeries for Jazlyn, who was diagnosed with a chromosomal abnormality from which many other diagnoses stem, such as swallowing and feeding disorders, seizures, and chronic lung disease.
“We were finally able to bring Jazlyn home, we were blessed that we had the loving care of nurses from BAYADA Pediatrics," says Natalie. “Jazlyn’s medical care and the complications that often arose were more than we could handle." Indeed, Jazlyn’s complex medical needs required 24-hour nursing care. One of those nurses, Terry Horvath, worked in the hospital pediatric intensive care unit where Jazlyn had spent so much time.
“I just fell in love with her and instantly bonded with her family," shares Terry. “Her mom begged me to become one of her home care nurses, so I signed on with BAYADA." Terry quickly became passionate about home care nursing, despite 20 years in a hospital setting. “You get to know the children you care for on a personal level. You mean so much to them, and they mean so much to you. You can really help them."
While Jazlyn’s health is top priority for her nurses, a typical day usually includes much more than clinical care. There are Barbie dolls to dress, nails to polish, and hair to style, all while listening to Justin Beiber or Lady Gaga.
Sometimes there’s a trip to the playground or the mall, anything to satisfy this bright, social butterfly’s natural curiosity! “It is wonderful to see her experience life, because for so long she couldn’t," says Terry.
Natalie, who marvels at her daughter’s progress, wholeheartedly agrees. “For many years, my daughter was scared to even come out of her bedroom. Her nurses have done such a wonderful job not only with her medical care, but with helping her become a normal little girl."
BAYADA Nurse Susie Ecker helped transition Jazlyn from the hospital to home when she was just a baby. “I love her, she’s my buddy," shares Susie. “It’s amazing how well she is doing now because she was so sick in the beginning."
When BAYADA Pediatrics first came into Jazlyn’s life, Susie, Terry and the entire nursing team helped to control her many seizures. They also performed respiratory treatments to loosen the secretions in her lungs that led to difficulty eating, kept her at high risk for choking, and made it difficult to talk.
They gave her food and medicine through a gastronomy tube inserted directly into the stomach, and a jejunostomy tube inserted directly into the intestines. Jazyln’s complex condition also affected her oxygen levels by causing shallow breathing. At times she stopped breathing altogether, emphasizing the urgent need for 24-hour care.
Today, thanks to the dedicated team supporting her ongoing improvement, Jazlyn’s nursing care is down to 12 hours a day, including her one-on-one care at school.
“She is doing so much better now," says Natalie. “She used to use sign language but now she talks all the time, even though her voice is weak and she gurgles because of the secretions.
She still needs the feeding tube, but she is able to eat small amounts of food by mouth. Also, her oxygen issues are much better and the seizures are under control with medication."
Natalie is forever grateful to BAYADA Pediatrics. “Each and every nurse, clinical manager, and office staff member has been there for us and always put Jazlyn’s health and safety first — all while keeping her smiling. Without our BAYADA team, Jazlyn wouldn’t be where she is today!"
For additional information on caring for children with complex medical needs, visit the BAYADA Pediatrics page or call 888-4-BAYADA.