They said it was flu: Sonny almost lost to rare sickness
MEDICAL experts thought it was "just the flu", but little Sonny Clements ended up unable to walk and his parents being told he could die.
The four-year-old from Nambour had contracted Guillain-Barre syndrome, a rare autoimmune condition where a person's nerves are attacked by the body's own immune defence system.
It is believed to be triggered by acute viral or bacterial illnesses.
Sonny's mum Kate wants to warn parents to "trust their instincts" when they feel their doctor's diagnosis doesn't match with a child's unusual behaviour.
Their ordeal started in mid-May.
"It started off with him having a tummy bug and vomiting, we thought it was just a bug going around," Mrs Clements said.
"Over the weekend he seemed fine so I took him to kindy on the Monday.
"That Monday night he started complaining his legs were sore. I thought it was growing pains and gave him Panadol. He didn't sleep.
"It was the same the next couple of nights so on the Thursday I took him to the GP. He said it was probably the flu and if it got worse to bring him back."
That night, it got worse.
"We had a shocking night, so he went back for blood tests and were advised to take him to hospital if he didn't get better."
The blood tests revealed Sonny had a viral infection and was low on iron and the family were advised to ride it out.
But Sonny still couldn't sleep as his legs and muscles were aching.
"After nearly four weeks with no sleep at night and not much in the day I took him to hospital. They did more blood tests and x-rays.
"The blood tests showed he had inflammation all over his body.
"He was getting worse, he kept falling when he was walking.
"They did an MRI as they thought he may have a tumour on the brain, but it came back clear.
"A snot test showed he had Influenza B and it was all right to go home, but his pain continued.
"He was losing weight and he's not a big kid.
"After three days, he was getting worse so we took him back to hospital.
"The paediatrician said it may be Guillain-Barre and did a lumbar puncture.
"At one stage he was lying there drooling so the ICU nurse said to get him to Brisbane's Lady Cilento quickly as we could be losing him."
He was transferred to Brisbane on June 22 where doctors confirmed it was Guillain-Barre and Sonny would recover, albeit slowly.
"We were told all Sonny's nerves were inflamed, but it would fix itself. It could take 12 months before he'd be back to normal and he might not be 100%," Mrs Clements said.
This week, nearly a month after they were sent to Brisbane and two months after Sonny first became unwell, he was finally allowed home.
He still can't walk properly and recovery will take months.
"Sonny needs medication three times a day. He has to have someone with him all the time," she said.
Mrs Clements, who works at Tropico in Palmwoods, hasn't been able to work full-time since Sonny became sick. Husband, Paul, does contract work.
However, the payment of the mortgage, utilities and other bills don't stop.
A Facebook page has been set up to help the family.