The first thing 2-year-old Waylon Reid did upon waking in a Spokane intensive care unit Sunday was ask his mother for chocolate.
After he’d nearly drowned in a pond on his grandparents’ farm near Troy on Friday evening, doctors told Waylon’s parents, Julianne and Zachary Reid, the outlook was grim. Most children who suffer such an injury die within a day, they said, and those who do survive usually have significant brain damage.
Waylon, however, has confounded all expectations. By Saturday morning, he’d opened his eyes and after a tumultuous weekend, he is walking and talking on his own and doctors have cleared him to be sent home.
Julianne said their doctor told them Waylon’s swift recovery was nothing short of miraculous.
“She said occasionally they get Christmas miracles, where something just crazy, out-of-the-blue can happen,” Julianne said. “But she said they’ve never had something like this just happen in a normal time ... they’re calling [it] a Mother’s Day miracle.”
Waylon’s grandmother, Tawny Nelson, said the episode happened on her and her husband’s 2,000-acre farm, between Moscow and Troy, Friday evening. She said Waylon and her other grandchildren had been playing outside, but when they went to check on him, he was nowhere to be found.
Julianne said when her search took her near a small pond on the property, she found Waylon’s shoes stuck in the mud near the shore. She noticed something white floating about 35 feet out in the water and remembered Waylon had been wearing a white shirt.
“I dove in, and he was out there, and he was limp. He was not breathing and was turning colors,” Julianne said. “I dragged him back as fast as I could through the pond back to the shore.”
Once they made it to dry land, Julianne said she immediately began performing CPR and shouted for her mother to call 911. She said the first emergency responder on the scene was her brother’s best friend Travis Osborn, who took over chest compressions until the ambulance arrived.
Waylon was taken to Gritman Medical Center where he was stabilized before being taken to Sacred Heart Medical Center in Spokane via Life Flight. Doctors performed a CT scan as soon as they arrived in the ICU, Tawny said. She said doctors found very little brain activity and told them to prepare for the worst.
However, Tawny said Saturday, when they started to dial down the medications keeping him sedated, his eyes fluttered open and the doctor revised his prognosis. Julianne said when he came to, Waylon reached toward her as if to be held and mouthed the word “mommy.”
“It was the most wonderful feeling you can imagine,” Julianne said.
A day later, on Mother’s Day, Waylon was extubated and he immediately had something to say.
“As soon as they took the tubes out, he started asking for mommy and I walked over to him … and he said ‘Mommy -- want chocolate,’” Julianne said. “It was the sweetest little thing ever, all of the nurses started crying.”
Since then, Waylon has been a bit wobbly on his feet but appears to be slowly recovering his balance enough to stand and walk on his own. Julianne said he’s been talkative, if a bit hoarse, and has been asking about once an hour to go outside and play with his bow and arrows.
Tawny said there is still some uncertainty about whether he has sustained any long-term neurological effects, but she reiterated his recovery so far has been more positive than they had dared hope.
“We reached out to everybody we could and put them on every prayer chain. ... We’ve heard that he’s on prayer chains in Africa, the Philippines (and) all across the state,” Tawny said. “He is on so many prayer chains not only in the States, but across the world and we can’t help but think that ... God had a hand in this because nobody expected him to live.”
A fundraiser to help defray the cost of Life Flight and other medical expenses related to Waylon’s treatment and recovery has been started on Facebook. Those who wish to donate can visit the shortened link https://bit.ly/3f30FgI.
Scott Jackson can be reached at (208) 883-4636, or by email to email@example.com.