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Becky used to be squeamish, even nauseous, at the sight of blood, but when her son was diagnosed with a blood disorder, that changed. When Madden was a few months old, his parents noticed he was bruising on his ribs and chest where they would pick him up. Bloodwork revealed he suffered from Type A hemophilia, a disorder in which his blood doesn’t clot normally, making him susceptible to longer and potentially life-threatening bleeding from injuries. At the Alberta Children’s Hospital, the family met bleeding disorders nurse Sheri and the rest of the hematology team. The hospital staff instantly became a huge support system, walking them through everything they needed to know and connecting them with a family in a similar situation.
As a baby, Madden had to have a protein called Factor 8 injected to help control his bleeding after suffering an ankle injury. When he was just over a year old, Becky and Jason were bringing him in for regular injections as a proactive measure. Sheri suggested training Becky and Jason how to administer Madden’s prophylaxis – regular IV injections of clotting factor – on their own. It took several visits to the Alberta Children’s Hospital over the course of a month and lots of coaching and practicing before Becky felt confident that she could find a vein and give her son the injections he required, but once she knew how to do it, she felt empowered. Administering her son’s medicine at home removed her feeling of helplessness.
When Becky and Jason wanted to expand their family, they worked closely with the team at the Alberta Children’s Hospital to prepare for the difficult possibility their second child could also have hemophilia, which is genetic. As it turned out, baby Sullivan was also a hemophiliac and a much more active and accident-prone kid than his brother. Becky and Jason were back at the Alberta Children’s Hospital emergency department several times with Sullivan for protein injections to help his blood clot after many bumps and bruises.
Though the family is back at the hospital a couple times a month for bloodwork or emergencies, they are so grateful to have been given the tools and training to care for both their sons at home and lead as normal of a life as possible. Because of the support of the Alberta Children’s Hospital, the family is able to do things like camping and hiking, which they otherwise wouldn’t be able to. Becky has even thought of moving back to her home in Ontario, but continually decides against it because of the incredible care available here.