The lives of a local family have recently been turned upside down.
19-month old Gunnar Davis is in the hospital, with his parents by his side, as he fights a rare case of bacterial meningitis.
Just days ago, he had what seemed like a cold and a little bit of a cough.
But then, his mom noticed he wouldn’t eat or drink, his fever spiked from 99 to 104 before Tylenol could help, he had spots on his skin and had a seizure.
“And that’s when I knew something was seriously wrong,” Gina Davis said.
Doctor’s didn’t know exactly what was wrong, but Gina looked up the symptoms and insisted that they give her 19-month-old son a spinal tap.
Her mother’s intuition led to a diagnosis of bacterial meningitis, which is just what she thought, and it was just in time.
“It kind of just turned into a big tornado in the emergency room,” said Davis. “Everybody was running around, it was super hectic. They were like, ‘you have to leave, we have to get you to Fargo right now.'”
Doctors told her this is really rare for a kid Gunnar’s age and they don’t know how he contracted it.
Although Gunnar is too young to get the vaccine that can prevent meningitis, Davis still urges parents to learn from their experience.
“Vaccinate your children, please. There are young kids like my son and even smaller that have compromised immune systems,” she said. “You don’t know everyone else’s story but it’s just to protect everyone else and yourself.”
Another lesson learned through all of this, “Don’t take no for an answer,” Davis said. “Don’t let anybody feel like you’re crazy for being a mom and looking out for your child’s well being. Even if they say there’s nothing wrong, and you feel like there’s something wrong, stick with your gut.”
And it’s thanks to extended family on Minot Air Force Base that ‘Operation Gunnar’ is helping the Davis Family feel a little more at home in their Fargo hospital room. A care package was hand-delivered with love.
“My mom, who passed away, always said ‘it takes a village to raise a child.’ And our village over at Minot Air Force Base rocks,” Gina Davis said.
Gunnar did not attend daycare or child youth programs, so it really is a guessing game when it comes to figuring out how on earth he ended up with meningitis, which is an infection of the outer layer of the brain and spinal cord.
A post on the Minot Air Force Base Facebook page informed its followers that the germs that cause this can be spread by close contact with saliva or respiratory secretions from one person to another and that vaccines are the most effective way to protect against certain types of bacterial meningitis.
Gunnar was moved out of the ICU on Wednesday but is expected to spend the coming days and possibly weeks in the hospital as he is still at risk of life-threatening seizures.
Click here to help the Davis Family, as they are away from their home on Minot Air Force Base and in Fargo as Gunnar recovers.