Napier Courier - 2021-06-09


‘We thought itwas some kind of bug’


Brenda Vowden

Ani-Moana Davies may look like a lively, healthy sixyear-old — and that’s because she is. But that was not the case around three years ago when the then two- 1⁄2- year-old’s health took a dramatic turn for the worse. “She first started spewing — we just thought it was a bug,” says Ani-Moana’s mum, Nina. “Then it happened for a while and she stopped eating. She was dramatically losing a lot of weight.” When Ani-Moana developed a wheeze, things got scary. “I could hear something wheezing in her throat. This was a trigger — I felt like something was stuck.” Nina says she took Ani-Moana to seven doctors and no one believed her. “The first doctor was good — she referred me. We went round and round and then back to her. We ended up getting things sorted because of her.” Nina and her young daughter were referred to a paediatrician. Scans of her stomach and an MRI were ordered. “They showed nothing there. I asked them please to scan her chest. They finally did it.” Nina says the only reason they agreed was because Ani-Moana coughed when she had the tube in her nose and it came out, indicating there was “something in there”. Her fears were confirmed. The scan showed something small and round was stuck in her chest. Nina says she never considered the object may be a battery because they didn’t have any toys in the house with small batteries in them. She thought it may be a coin. The family was given an hour to prepare for an emergency trip to Wellington to have the object removed. “Ani-Moana flew down with her Dad while I organised the rest of the tribe and we drove.” Nina was told it was going to be straight-forward surgery. “I knew it wouldn’t be after seven months in her chest.” While waiting to hear how surgery went, Nina received a phone call saying doctors had put a camera down and the object, now determined to be a flat battery, wouldn’t move. “It was meant to be a simple surgery of removing the foreign object through the throat, but they found the battery acid had leaked through the esophagus joining the kidney and lungs, which meant they had to go through her back and deflate her lungs to retrieve the battery.” The battery had left a giant hole in Ani-Moana’s oesophagus. She had to be tube-fed through her nose and later her stomach. “The esophagus had almost closed completely. It took ages to inflate again and to enable her to eat again.” While the family of four children’s lives had all been turned upside down, one constant was Ronald McDonald House in Wellington, which Nina can’t praise highly enough. They stayed in the house for at least three months, travelling back and forth from Hawke’s Bay to Wellington while Nina underwent treatment. “Ronald McDonald House was awesome. To know our babies were able to come with us. It was not just about the room, but there was food there, a free fridge we had access to, breakfast was supplied — those little things.” Nina says there was also a games room and theatre — everything they needed for their children. And a few years down the track, Nina says she is glad it happened. “She is not scared of anything. And now she’s a little piggy — she loves her food so much. I think she’s playing catch-up.”


© PressReader. All rights reserved.