Wendy and Dan Larmand started tossing around ideas for their son’s first birthday party.
They decided a quiet family event at their home in the Okanagan would be appropriate as their birthday boy, Jakob, was showing flu-like symptoms and had been a little rundown.
Like most toddlers, Jakob was usually active and enjoyed socializing with the family’s daycare children.
Jakob developed baby roseaola, a common viral infection in children which shows up as a rash with a fever.
Wendy visited the hospital emergency room to confirm that her son’s fatigue was only as a result of the virus. As days went on, Jakob’s spirits didn’t pick up. Being concerned, Wendy returned to the hospital to have Jakob assessed.
They left yet again with a diagnosis of the common cold. As time went on, Jakob’s lack of energy didn’t return.
Soon after, Wendy entered Jakob’s bedroom to get him from his afternoon nap. To her horror, Jakob couldn’t even rise to his hands and knees. She scooped him from his crib and he collapsed in her arms. They rushed to the hospital not knowing what to expect.
Jakob was immediately attended to by a pediatrician who advised that the boy’s immune system was depleted; he was dehydrated, and was ordered to stay in hospital for a 24 hour assessment. Jakob’s vivacious personality had now totally disappeared as his body lost all strength. Within the following 48-hour period, Jakob was given a chest X-ray which revealed pneumonia. He was immediately administered antibiotics and was scheduled for a spinal tap.
Within 45 minutes of the spinal tap, results brought fears of meningitis, the dreaded bacterial infection of the membranes covering the brain and spinal cord. The infection had travelled from Jakob’s lungs to his bloodstream and into his brain.
The next few weeks were spent in Kelowna General Hospital where Jakob made recovery progress.
The Larmand family was put in contact with a physical therapist to help Jakob rebuild his strength and skills to crawl and walk again.
Though Wendy and Dan were exhausted from watching their first born endure such illness, they were ecstatic to bring him home.
Life at the Larmand residence carried on with Jakob returning to his contented self. Though Wendy’s mother noticed something wasn’t “right,” she would kindly suggest to Wendy and Dan that she thought Jakob’s hearing had been affected.
Wendy, being a protective mother, could not bear to think such a thing until one evening when Dan returned home from work.
Jakob was sitting on the living room floor surrounded by toys but facing the opposite side of the room that Dan entered.
Wendy watched Jakob for a reaction that his father was home — Jakob usually let out a shriek of excitement. This day there nothing from Jakob, not a squeal and not even any body movement to acknowledge his father’s entrance.
As Wendy spoke to Dan, she realized that Jakob still didn’t turn their way. Wendy’s mind replayed her mother’s concerns, what if he really can’t hear us? Fearfully, Wendy grabbed two pots and banged them right behind Jakob’s head. To her sadness, Jakob didn’t even flinch.
The medical staff in Kelowna tried to help Jakob with his hearing issues by fitting him with hearing aids. These aids did nothing but annoy the child. With the help of their physical therapist, the Larmands had Jakob booked in at BC Children’s Hospital for hearing tests. Unfortunately, the results were disappointing; Jakob had no response to sounds. A CAT scan then revealed total deafness in his left ear and resulted in an emergency cochlear implant in his right ear.
A cochlear implant is a surgically implanted electronic device which provides a sense of sound to a person who is profoundly deaf or hard of hearing.
At 17 months of age, Jakob was the youngest person in B.C. to have such surgery. The cochlear implant would slowly diminish the use of sign language that the Larmand family had resorted to use. Jakob independently chose not to use sign language as a primary source of communication. He persevered to use his voice in interactions.
Jakob finally returned to his happy demeanor, he responded to words again, and he could fully enjoy all the sounds in life that many of us take for granted. He could again be amused by the sound making toys that made him squeal in delight.
Over the following years, Jakob’s hearing system has been upgraded. Jakob has continued regular check-ups at BC Children’s Hospital. He is now finishing Grade 7 as a diligent student.
Jakob shines both academically and physically.
Jakob is one of our runners with Kids Running for Kids.
The Larmand family are thankful for the expertise at such a great facility — BC Children’s Hospital.
In doing their part to fundraise for Kids Running for Kids, the Larmand family are heading the last raffle for this group.
Tickets are now on sale for $5 each or 5 $20. First place is a limited edition framed print by Arnold Mosley, “Breaking the Morning Chill.” Second place is a Vancouver Fun Package consisting of four passes to a Ladies Vancouver Whitecaps game, four PNE passes, four Big Bus passes, four Vancouver Aquarium passes, and two Wildplay Maple Ridge passes. Third prize is a $150 Safeway gift card.
Tickets are available by phoning Wendy Larmand at 250-392-9715 or at the KRFK garage sale this Saturday, May 26 at Mountview Elementary School.