Local boy recovers after life-threatening lung infection

Local boy recovers after life-threatening lung infection

There goes Augie, speeding down the hallway at Covenant Children's Hospital. 

"Now he's a running, crazy, two-year-old," said Kaitlin Riojas, Augie's mom. 

"There's not a whole lot that slows him down," said Nathan Riojas, Augie's dad. One year ago, Augie's visit here was much more serious. 

"They kept telling us it's just a virus. It's just something he's going to have to work through," Kaitlin said. Kaitlin and Nathan said tests for common viruses came back negative, and little Augie kept getting worse. 

"It just got really bad, really fast," Kaitlin said. After a month, Augie was struggling to breathe. "They decided to do an X-ray and they found he had an infection of some kind on his right lung. The virus that he had was called the human metapneumovirus." The virus weakened the lining around his lung and allowed infection to fester. Augie immediately went into surgery. 

"He was on a ventilator when he got back to help his lungs rest," Kaitlin said. The Riojas said the next few days were terrifying, especially when doctors had to do an emergency chest tube placement. 

"I remember Nathan and I walking into his bedroom, and just being so worried we'd never see him there again," Kaitlin said. 16 nerve-wracking days passed by. 

"When they finally took him off it was probably one of the best days of our life," Kaitlin said. The Riojas overwhelmed with emotion when they saw their little boy breathing on his own. Now, every day with their son is treated as a gift. 

"We enjoy every moment with him. We just wanted him to know how loved he was and how thankful we were for him," Kaitlin said. The Riojas say  they'll never forget the people that gave support. 

"Extremely thankful. Not just for our family and friends, but for the staff here. They were so amazing," Nathan said. Also, they won't forget their faith that gave them hope. 
    
"That's one of the most frustrating things. There's almost nothing you can do. It almost forces you to rely on God's strength," Nathan said.  
"What was amazing is that our prayers were answered. We got to keep him and take him home," Kaitlin said. Doctors say when a child's lung is hurt, it can heal itself until age eight. Augie's oxygen levels are improving with each checkup, so they're expecting him to make a full recovery. 

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