Home » Local News » Life » Medical procedure opens up new world for recipient

Medical procedure opens up new world for recipient

Judy Wooten was living with her husband on a military base in Germany when she received a call at 4 a.m.
“Do you want this child that I’m getting ready to give birth to?” the woman asked her.
Wooten, then 40, had adopted a baby girl, Erica, a year before. The girl’s birth mother was the caller’s friend.
“I guess she felt like she needed to decide who would get her child,” Wooten said. “She didn’t want just anyone to have it.”
Wooten and her husband did adopt the baby, who was born premature and weighed 6 pounds. They named him Zachary.
“I figured we would have some problems down the road,” Wooten said.
By time Zachary was 3, it was clear he was autistic and suffered from multiple types of seizures. The news was hard to take.
“I cried a lot at first, and I kept saying ‘I don’t know what we’re going to do,’” Wooten said.
After the initial shock, however, Wooten and her husband dedicated themselves to taking care of their disabled child. Doctors said Zachary wouldn’t live to the age of 5.
Now 16, Zachary has proven to be a survivor, but life has not been easy.
“He would have 20 seizures a day,” Wooten said. “We would spend three days in the hospital, home two and then back for three more. They would get worse. We’d try every medication on the market. It was unreal.”
The major breakthrough in handling Zachary’s condition came when he was 9 years old – Zachary had a vagus nerve stimulator implanted in his chest with wires leading internally to the vagus nerve in his neck.
Wooten, who is a nurse, researched her son’s condition extensively and pushed for the implant. She was met with resistance from many doctors. They felt Zachary’s condition wouldn’t be affected and he was too young and too thin for the procedure, Wooten said.
Instead, the VNS lessened Zachary’s seizures and changed his life enormously.
“Now he gets to go horseback riding,” Wooten said. “He gets to go swimming. These are things you will not do when you get seizures.”
She’s glad she fought for Zachary to have the implant.
“I think every child should have the option to have this because they’re not going to die of it,” Wooten said of the VNS. “It can be taken out if it doesn’t work, and you don’t know if it’s going to work until you’ve done it.”
Not only has Zachary become more physically active, his behavior has also improved and he’s learning more in school.
Just the other day, he spelled out “C-O-W” for his mother.
“These three-letter words are amazing to me,” Wooten said.
And while things have improved in the Wooten home, Zachary’s family knows life won’t change completely.
“He’s disabled and this is our life and the Lord gave him to me for a reason,” Wooten said.
She’s never regretted taking in the tiny newborn 16 years ago.
“I was 40 when Zachary was born, so it’s not like I was a young mother. I think a young mother would just fall apart,” she said. “You get so confused. You just don’t know what to do.”
Wooten has spent plenty of her time caring for Zachary frustrated, but the experience has also been fulfilling. Zachary throws temper tantrums, but he also tells his mother “I love you.”
“He’s just special,” Wooten said. “There’s just something about him.”
by Sarah Grano

You must be logged in to post a comment Login