HAMILTON — Amber Bunch doesn’t remember much about her Christmas presents.
She can’t get her mind off the greatest gift she nearly lost.
On Dec. 25, after opening a few presents, Perseus Thomas, 6, told his mother he didn’t feel well and he wanted to lay in bed. A little while later, his grandmother walked upstairs to check on him.
“Something is not right,” she screamed to those downtowns.
Bunch raced to her bedroom. Perseus told his mother he couldn’t walk. He wanted her to carry him to the bathroom.
“He was completely limp,” she said. “I told them, ‘We got to go. We got to go.’”
That started a whirlwind medical journey for Bunch and her longtime boyfriend, Eryk Thomas. They “hauled butt” from their Hamilton home to Cincinnati Children’s Liberty Campus and Bunch carried her son into the emergency room. He was hooked up to several machines and his vitals dropped.
Some of his organs started shutting down.
He was transported to Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center where he was diagnosed with severe complications from the strep A virus. Bacteria had entered his bloodstream and he went into septic shock, which then caused an acute blood clot to develop in his neck/head area, his mother said.
He then developed pneumonia resulting in a chest tube to drain the fluid around his lungs.
Perseus spent three weeks in the hospital, one of those in the Intensive Care Unit.
Bunch said early in her son’s hospital stay, what she called “a rollercoaster,” she was told there was a 50% chance he could die.
“That was one of the hardest parts of it all,” she said through tears.
“Sorry,” she said.
Then she continued as only a mother could.
“He wanted to give up. He said, ‘I just want to be buried. I want to die.’ It’s been hard emotionally, physically for all of us.”
Perseus has been released from the hospital and reunited with his twin sister, Thalia, and brother, Ronnie Bunch, 13.
He receives extensive treatments from home care nurses and still has numerous appointments at the hospital throughout the week.
“He’s progressing and that in itself, is a blessing,” his mother said. “It’s nice to see that personality come back.”
Bunch, 29, and Thomas, 27, are delivery drivers for Amazon. But for the last month, they have either been unable to work or work part-time because of caring for Perseus. That has taken a toll on the family finances.
Before recently moving to Hamilton, the family lived in Trenton and the kids still attend school there. Perseus and Thalia are kindergartners at Edgewood Early Childhood Center.
Two Trenton businesses, State Street Coffee and Liquid Cloud Vape, both put out collection boxes and a GoFundMe account was established with a goal of $5,000 to assist with medical and living expenses.
Then last week, the family received a $5,000 check from KiZAN Technologies, an IT company with several locations, including West Chester Twp. A teacher’s aid at Edgewood Early Childhood Center contacted the company and the leadership team made the donation, Bunch said.
“Now we’re caught back up on bills,” she said.
Then her thoughts turned from finances to family.
“It’s good to have everyone back together,” she said.
That’s the best present for any parent.
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