A series of cascading health events put 11-year-old Chloe Burkhalter of Tomah, Wis., into a fight for her life on more than one occasion. But she’s a fighter who never stays down for long.
It started when Chloe got a fever which spiked at 100.3. Much to the relief of her parents, Heather and Troy, Chloe’s fever soon broke. But Chloe was still acting strange—not herself.
Nausea and extreme lethargy on the heels of the fever were signs her body was fighting a nasty infection. The infection spread, escalating into an intracranial epidural abscess—an infection between the skull and the top layer of tissue covering her brain.
“Chloe had emergency surgery at Gundersen Health System to remove the infection and relieve the pressure. When she woke up she had slight Bels Palsy, and needed help from occupational and physical therapy to relearn how to walk, balance, eat and even brush her teeth. We are grateful that Chloe recovered better than anyone could have hoped,” say Heather and Troy. “But a few months later we found a lump on Chloe’s surgical scar. It was another infection requiring more surgery.”
During Chloe’s hospital stays, Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals helped the family with meal tickets. CMN Hospitals also helped cover the cost for home infusion training after Chloe’s second surgery.
Chloe also has an unrelated heart rhythm condition. “So far,” say her parents, “it has not caused many complications and is being closely monitored.” While her parents are cautiously optimistic, they are also prepared. With support from CMN Hospitals, they have acquired an automatic external defibrillator (AED) to shock her heart back into rhythm in an emergency.
“Chloe has been happy and healthy since the last surgery,” report the Burkhalters. She’s back to being a kid—listening to music (her favorite song is Chloe, naturally), reading, art and playing with her dogs.