A quick trip to the park ended in the intensive care unit for a Kentucky toddler, who contracted a rare disease from a tick bite.
Two-year-old Jackson Oblisk, of Louisville, Kentucky, has a long recovery process ahead of him, including physical therapy and follow-up examinations. But he is no longer sleeping for days at a time.
“You never think you’re going to love when your kid spills scrambled eggs all over himself but it was the best moment of my life,” his mom Kayla Oblisk told InsideEdition.com. “It’s been a very trying experience.”
She explained that less than three weeks ago, her husband and father-in-law had taken the healthy and happy toddler to the park one sunny afternoon.
“It was just any day,” Kayla said. “They came home and as they sat there, they realized Jack had a tick on his neck.”
They thought nothing of it and removed the tick, making sure to pull the head out with it.
Little Jackson was fine for several more days until he began running a fever and developed a rash.
Kayla said she assumed it was an ear infection but took her son to the pediatrician anyway, who recommended medicine and rest. But when the fever continued to get higher over the next several days, she decided to take Jackson to the emergency room.
That’s when they were told that Jackson most likely had the Rocky Mountain spotted fever, often fatal when it isn't immediately treated.
“They said it’s very rare in children his age and it’s usually fatal by day eight. We were on day seven,” his mom said. “I cried. I cried a lot.”
Shortly after Jackson was admitted to the hospital and began treatment, he began sleeping. The tot fell asleep on Sunday and didn’t wake up until Thursday, save for squirming and crying at painful medical tests.
“My son does not sleep all day and sleep all night,” Kayla said. “He was not conscious. He woke up in the middle to cry and scream in pain.”
During that time, Kayla said Jackson had swelled up “like a balloon.” His hands and feet had grew several sizes and his eyes were swollen shut.
“They didn’t know if my child can make it through this — that’s the worst thing a parent can hear about a child,” she said.
Jackson was finally able to stay awake several days later. Though he still doesn’t walk and rarely speaks, he is now back to his normal smiles and giggles.
He still has several weeks of physical therapy and hospital visits ahead of him, but doctors are now confident he will recover.
Kayla says she hopes her story will encourage parents to take tick bites seriously and trust their intuition when it comes to their kids’ health.
“If you don’t speak up for them, nobody else will,” she said. “I felt like something was wrong before but I told myself I’m crazy because it’s my baby and I’m being overprotective. If I had spoken up sooner, maybe we wouldn’t have been through so much.”
To support the family through their mounting medical bills, visit their GoFundMe page.