The runny nose that nearly turned deadly
IT STARTED out as just a runny nose, then a fever, but within days this Murrumba Downs toddler was fighting for her life in intensive care.
Kadence Lewis, 1, has been in Queensland Children's Hospital with severe pneumonia since January 2.
She has spent over a month in the paediatric intensive care unit, been in a medically induced coma and undergone two rounds of surgery.
Her heart stopped beating three times.
"The longest it stopped for was about 10 seconds, but it was the longest 10 seconds of my life," mum Jessica Collins said.
Kadence's pneumonia wasn't picked up by doctors when Ms Collins took her daughter to Redcliffe Hospital on December 29.
"She had a bit of a runny nose… and then she started having high fevers and wasn't eating or drinking much, which is why I took her in," Ms Collins said.
"They said it was just a viral thing and gave her Panadol and Nurofen, but over the next couple of days I saw that she was getting worse."
Ms Collins took Kadence back to the hospital four days after her initial visit, where they realised the severity of her illness.
"They did an X-ray and the whole left lung was just completely screwed, basically," she said. "Things just went downhill from there, really quickly."
Kadence was rushed to surgery, then put on life support with a large cannula in her neck.
"I was beside myself just thinking, because I was told it was a 50/50 chance it could go either way. It was devastating," Ms Collins said.
Kadence spent 16 days on the machine - a stark difference from the "cheeky" toddler her mum says is normally "so full of life, she's always 100mph 24/7".
In the PICU, the sick little girl was not allowed to be hugged for a month.
Kadence's father Nathan Lewis, 29, has stopped working to be with his family and look after the couple's other daughter, Amelia, 5.
Ms Collins said the ordeal had been "devastating" and she wishes she had "trusted her gut" in her initial visit to the hospital.
"I didn't feel right thinking just Panadol and Nurofen would be OK," she said.
"I really should have pushed for something else but I just kind of took their word for it, thinking they're the medical professionals; I don't know any better."
Kadence was moved out of PICU last week, but the family has no idea when they will be able to leave the hospital.
Last week, Ms Collins hugged her daughter for the first time in a month.
"Twenty-nine days I was waiting for that to happen," she said.
"She was still pretty heavily sedated, but it was sweet, she just kind of looked at me and swung her arm around me and put it there."
A GoFundMe appeal has been set up to support the family.