Words by Paige Townley
Michael and Haley Graydon have lived in the Birmingham area for years. Like any longtime residents, they know a lot about the Magic City, but there’s one detail they didn’t know until their daughter, Wryn, got incredibly ill at nine weeks old: they had one of the best children’s hospitals just down the road. “We’re lucky because we have one of the best, if not the best, children’s hospital in our own backyard,” Michael says. “[When Wryn got sick], it was easy for us because Children’s was so close.”
While the proximity to Children’s was easy, figuring out what Wryn had was not. She had been in and out of doctors’ offices prior to arriving at Children’s. At first it was believed she had congenital hypothyroidism, but at Children’s it was discovered that she actually had congenital Nephrotic syndrome, a kidney condition often found in infants that usually leads to kidney failure. “Even with something as rare as this, they were able to pinpoint it within the first few days and start the corrective treatment from there,” says Michael. “And it has been excellent ever since.”
The corrective treatment started with surgically removing both of Wryn’s kidneys. She was first placed on hemodialysis and then on peritoneal dialysis while waiting on a kidney transplant. “We were there every day for probably four months straight, and the care was excellent,” says Michael.
“You can tell that they not only care for the child, but they really care for the entire family. Everybody was well taken care of. And it didn’t matter what it was, they would sit us down, make us feel at ease, and nothing was too silly. Anything we asked, they were there.”
Wryn eventually got to go home on 12-hour dialysis, and just after she turned two years old, the family finally got the news they were waiting on: Wryn was getting a kidney. It wasn’t long after surgery before she was back to doing the things she loved. “They told us after she got her kidney that her energy level would increase, and it has,” says Haley. “She is a ball of energy. She loves to dance and go to school and do all the things. Because of the kidney transplant, she has been able to live a normal life.”
Wryn continues to make routine visits to her doctors at Children’s for periodic checkups, and she still has a G-tube that helps her receive nourishment and take her medications. The family is hoping the tube will be able to be removed soon, but the focus is really on being appreciative that Wryn is able to live a normal life—something they weren’t sure was possible before Children’s and its Transplant Center, which is celebrating its 10th anniversary this year. “It is the best care that we could have ever received,” Haley says. “I don’t think one word could say enough how thankful we are for everything Children’s has done. They saved our daughter’s life.”