Guest Blog Post – Bead Mom Juls Baumkirchner
Meet Beauden! This sweet three-year-old boy from Lake Havasu City, Arizona thought he was going on a family camping trip in San Diego. He fell off his little Stryder bike and scraped his knee the first night there. The next day he had a fever and wasn’t really talking to us. That night, he’d hoist himself with his upper body to move positions when sleeping. The day after that, which was the second day of vacation, he had a high fever, wouldn’t walk, his breathing was rapid, and his knee and lip were swelling.
We took him to the ER and he ended up in the PICU at Rady Children’s Hospital. His stay there was two months before moving into another unit for another two weeks. In order to be at Beauden’s bedside and with COVID regulations, his dad and I had to be separated from our two daughters by another state for that entire time with the exception of a couple of visits.
Beauden was diagnosed with MSSA, a staph infection. It took over his little body, causing sepsis/toxic shock syndrome. Beauden had both legs amputated, as well as a couple of fingers. This sweet boy has had 19 surgeries, dressing changes that equal an hour or so of pure screaming – that started as daily to just about every other day or three days at most since November – and still going. He now has some sort of PT/OT therapy four times a week.
Through all of this, he radiates sunshine. He’s a kid who just wants to be a kid. Our child life specialist at Rady Children’s introduced us to Beads of Courage early on. Each bead represents a night at the hospital, a surgery, a prick/poke, blood transfusions and so much more. Beauden has 343 beads and that doesn’t include his four nights at Phoenix Children’s Hospital as well as some other beads not accounted for at the time.
These beads are colorful, encouraging, brave memories of the darkest of days for Beauden, as well as us as a family. They are small glimmers of hope and accomplishment each time we receive a handful, which tell Beauden’s medical story.
They might be just beads to others, but these artistic treasures will be cherished by Beauden and his whole family for our lifetime.
– Juls Baumkirchner (Beauden’s mom)
Beauden’s Beads of Courage
- Central line/Picc line-4
- Dressing change/central line/surgery site-6
- Isolation precaution/fever/neutropenia-5
- Overnight stay in hospital-75
- IV poke/blood draw-1
- Wound care-everyday since October 7, still going
- Respiratory support/ventilator/anesthesia- 47
- Speech/OT/PT-25 but missing tons more
- NG/NJ/Drain/catheter -10
- Act of Courage- 2 (one for amputations, 1 for first dressing change without ketamine)
- Admission to intensive care unit-1
- Mobility challenges- 17