Atkinson family’s fight for life

Ethan, 15, Zackary, 12, Zaidyn, 13, with dad Adam. (Supplied)

Bree was woken at 5am on May 23 by her husband Adam’s alarm, a standard wake up in the Atkinson household in Manor Lakes.

What would transpire over the next few hours, however, would be nothing like a typical morning.

“[I heard him] sort of groaning and stuff, so I thought ’that’s a bit unusual’,“ she said.

“I turned the light on and noticed that when he was talking his face was drooping and it was very visible that he had had a stroke.”

Mr Atkinson was taken to Royal Melbourne Hospital where doctors worked to prevent further damage.

“It was a bit touch and go for the first bit of it because he had substantial swelling of the brain…he’s got substantial damage to the left side of his body,“ Mrs Atkinson said.

“Basically from the waist to the shoulder is still quite gone, like he can’t move it or anything like that.

“We don’t really know how good he’d going to be or how much recovery he’s going to make or anything.“

Still trying to come to terms with her husband’s health issues, Mrs Atkinson was home from the hospital a few weeks ago watching her kids when her son began experiencing a coughing fit.

“I got him on the nebulizer and giving him ventolin and stuff thinking it was asthma, and he just didn’t respond to it,“ she said.

While waiting for an ambulance, Mrs Atkinson said her son “went downhill quite dramatically“.

“His body started going stiff, he started losing body fluids, I knew things were getting dangerous,“ she said.

“My neighbour next door, she came just as he started to go into cardiac arrest, she resuscitated him, she managed to get him back, his heart was pumping again and he was breathing it was very shallow, quick breaths.

“She had to work on him for 20 minutes before the ambulance arrived and she sort of kept him alive.“

The doctors later told Mrs Atkinson that they believed her son had an anaphylactic attack, but weren’t sure what exactly it had caused it.

“My whole family will be doing first aid CPR. What I went through anyone can go through, and it’s just not something I want to ever go through again and be helpless and not be able to save my children,“ she said.

“I never imagined in my life we’d be where we are today. I am a very lucky person that both my little boy and my husband are still here.

“But in the process all my kids have also seen everything, they’ve seen dad the morning when the ambulance arrived, they’ve seen their little brother potentially flatline on the floor…we’ve all been through quite a lot.“

Prior to having a stroke, Mr Atkinson often worked six days a week to support his family as Mrs Atkinson copes with an undiagnosed autoimmune illness.

To ease the financial pressure on the family, Mrs Atkinson’s sister Teagan started a gofundme page.

“We’ve never been the ones to reach out for help ever, but I sort of have to look at the broader picture, and my kids they don’t deserve to suffer,“ she said.

“And to take a bit of pressure off of Adam while he’s in hospital, because I know he’ll be worried financially, we’ve decided to go along with the gofundme.“