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Breathing easier

Brodie has had trouble breathing since he was born. It took him a week before he could do it on his own and now, at 18 months, he still has scary periods when he stops breathing. To give his mum a few tools to help manage his condition, and one to give Brodie a little fun, Satan’s Little Helper got involved.

Brodie is doing better thanks to Satan's Little Helper

When babies are born, their first breath is an important moment. Brodie’s mum Kirsty never got to experience that.

“It was a week before he started breathing on his own,” she explains. “Brodie was full term, but doctors couldn’t tell me why he was struggling.”

It was a happy day when he left the neo-natal intensive care department, but Kirsty says those celebrations were cut short.

No time to celebrate

“The day after Brodie got home, he started to squeak when he breathed. At six weeks old, he started having periods where he’d stop breathing multiple times a day.”

His early weeks and months were terrifying for Kirsty, who was constantly on edge.

“His breathing issues caused failure to thrive. He also had feeding problems, as he’d choke on milk, aspirate (breath in fluid into the lungs), turn blue and go unresponsive.”

Brodie’s airway would also get blocked if he was lying on his back. By the time he was eight months old, his unknown condition was life-threatening.

“I was told he had to have surgery. It’s not a fix, but it helps. His breathing is still noisy, but he doesn’t stop breathing as much,” says Kirsty. “However, if he cries or hurts himself. he’ll stop breathing for about 10 or 20 seconds.”

The cause of Brodie’s problems is a condition called laryngomalacia, which Kirsty explains as “a flap of tissue that blocks his airway”.

Important surgery needed

His airway is also narrower than a normal child’s. In an attempt to correct it, doctors decided to perform a surgery called supraglottoplasty – which has helped!

“He’s a lot better now and doesn’t stop breathing as much, but he is still noisy when he sleeps,” says Kirsty.

While he’s doing better, Brodie isn’t cured. A simple bit of kit like an oximeter (a device that fits onto a finger and checks oxygen levels and heart rate) can make all the difference at home – and Satan’s Little Helper was only too happy to provide one.

“The oximeter is a life saver! If we think he’s sick, we can monitor his oxygen levels and, if they are low, we can take him to the hospital. Before, we’d have to take him in regardless, which was so disruptive!”

Satan’s Little Helper also provided a Vicks vaporiser to help Brodie during his frequent bouts of chest infections or croup – something Kirsty says “helps a lot”, as well as a baby balance bike to help him get active.

“Since his surgery, he’s had a lot more energy, and he’ll use the trike to race around on the lino! He loves it on the lino, because he can go a lot faster – always with a massive grin on his face.”


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