'Surgeries, skin grafts and amputations': Baby's fight for life
IT'S just over a year since baby Archer was at death's door, but for mum Katelyn, the memories of that awful time remain fresh in her mind.
Former Springfield Lakes residents Katelyn Galea and Josh Roberts were just like any other happy new parents when their precious five-month-old baby was struck down with the deadly Meningococcal bacterial virus.
Katelyn said the time in which Archer went downhill was quick, yet the effects of the disease would stay with them all for life.
"On November 10, 2016 Archie woke up appearing normal but soon became very upset and was crying and screaming and there was nothing I could do to settle him," Katelyn said.
"We took him to the doctors at around 9am and they said it was likely an ear infection, but nothing serious.
"From there Archer just slept and was burning up with very high temperatures, but we just took the doctors advice and kept on watching him and giving him Panadol.
"At around 3pm I went to check on Archer and noticed his lips were a very dark purple, like a big bruise, so straight away I called my partner and when he got home 10 minutes later, Archer's lips were a dark, dark grey.
"We knew then he needed urgent medical attention."
Archer was originally treated at the Ipswich General Hospital before he was transferred to Brisbane's Lady Cilento Children's Hospital's Paediatric Intensive Care Unit.
While the seriousness of the disease didn't register with Katelyn straight away, she said it didn't take long for the reality of how horrific the disease was to set in.
"The whole situation was absolutely terrifying and actually heartbreaking, like the real feeling of your heart breaking," Katelyn said.
"I felt guilty he had suffered all day and I had no idea how serious it was. I felt so scared, I was physically sick and didn't eat or sleep for days.
"Every time I would fall asleep I would have bad dreams, it was awful and totally unbearable to see my son endure what he did."
Archer was in hospital just shy of two months where he lost all 10 tips of his toes and all 10 fingertips.
During that time he underwent close to 18 surgeries, as well as skin grafts and finger amputations and suffered an intense burn from a medication which leaked into his system while doctors were trying to save his life.
Katelyn said while Archer would have to receive medical treatment for many years yet, he was now home and doing well.
"We were told Archer wouldn't crawl or walk but he is doing all that and is now a healthy 18 months old," Katelyn said.
"A friend of mine set up a Go Fund Me campaign when everything first happened which raised more than $14,000 and no amount of words could describe how thankful we are.
"The money has been used towards bills and at one stage Archie was wearing two nappies at once as he had a cannula, so he needed a lot of new clothes that were bigger."
The family recently moved to Darwin but travel back to Springfield Lakes once a month for hospital visits.