When a tornado lifted Rhiley up and out of his sleepout, puncturing his lung and leaving him with a volatile heart rate, it left him mentally and physically injured. To try and help Rhiley reclaim a more confident headspace, Satan’s Little Helper sent him a Fitbit
Rhiley’s mum Jade jokes that she’s used to earthquakes, but never thought she’d have to contend with tornados ripping through her property – although the damage it left behind is no laughing matter.
“Rhiley was in his sleepout when it got lifted into the air by the tornado and he was thrown out of it. A piece of glass lodged between his ribs and pierced his lung,” she explains.
He was rushed to surgery and had a chest drain installed, which helps remove fluid or air from where it shouldn’t be. However, that wasn’t the end of his medical trauma.
“He suffered from multiple collapsed lungs, as well as surgical emphysema (when air accumulates under the skin). After the tornado, he was in hospital for about a week.”
Never ending trauma
Any relief Jade and Rhiley may have had upon exiting hospital was quickly dispelled when Rhiley began to experience wild fluctuations in his heartbeat.
“About a month after he left hospital, Rhiley started to experience extreme differences in his heart rate. It ranges between 200 and 35 beats per minute, which leaves him feeling really sick, with all the colour drained from his face. It also gives him severe chest pain.”
Doctors are puzzled about the cause and recently monitored Rhiley over 12 hours to see if they could spot a reason. Jade says they’re still waiting for the results.
Because keeping an eye on his heart rate is now so important, Satan’s Little Helper sent Rhiley a Fitbit!
“The Fitbit has been amazing,” says Jade. “It gives us all huge peace of mind, because he can easily check it to make sure his heart rate is within a normal range.”
It also gives him the confidence to live without fear.
“As a 16-year-old, he wants his independence and the Fitbit reassures him when he’s out and about that if his heart rate starts to creep up, he’ll be able to act on it.
“He was also feeling anxious that when he felt like his heart was beating fast, he had no way to check it. Now he does.”
The device will also have practical benefits, says Jade.
“His doctor recommended that we get one, so he can keep a diary of his symptoms when his heart starts to beat fast. Plus, we can download the data and present it to his specialist when we get an appointment, which could help connect all the dots.
“Rhiley is the most resilient, outgoing kid and now he’s able to get back to a normal life, which is so precious to us.”