It’s been five months since Brody Drumheller nearly drowned in his family’s pool in Yuba City. Since then, he has traveled across the United States to undergo a variety of specialized treatments meant to help regain brain and motor function.
Brody has now reached a point in his road to recovery where he can receive treatment at home in the Yuba-Sutter area. On Saturday, his family threw a hero’s welcome for local first responders who helped save Brody’s life earlier this year.
“It was such a great event,” said Nichole Drumheller, his mother. “We knew that we wanted to see the first responders again and thank them in person. Thank you really wasn’t enough, so we wanted to put together something so they felt appreciated.”
Members of the Sutter County Sheriff’s Office, Yuba City Police Department, Yuba City Fire Department, Reach Medical and the dispatcher on duty during Brody’s 911 call gathered at the Drumheller’s house for a few hours of catching up.
“It was so rewarding for us, but also the first responders too,” Drumheller said. “At the time of the incident, they didn’t think it would be a good outcome, so to see him come back and the improvements he’s made was really great.”
The near drowning incident occurred on Jan. 9. The boy’s father, Andrew, was in the middle of doing yard work when he found Brody floating face down in the pool.
In the process of reviving Brody, first responders and medical personnel administered approximately 82 minutes of CPR and 17 rounds of epinephrine (an injection meant to kickstart the heart) before doctors were able to restart enough activity in the boy’s heart to intubate him to help with breathing.
Once he regained a pulse, he was airlifted to a pediatric intensive care unit in Sacramento, where he spent about three weeks. After that, he was transported to Shriners Hospital for Children in Sacramento to begin intensive rehabilitation.
Brody suffered from an anoxic brain injury, which is caused by a lack of oxygen to the brain that results in the death of brain cells. Drumheller said Brody’s prognosis for a full recovery wasn’t good.
“During his recovery, we’ve spent time with other families in similar situations, and everyone’s future with these types of injuries is so unknown. It’s amazing how much about the brain we just don’t understand,” she said. “So, we are just going to keep on praying that he will continue to make progress like he has been, and we are so hopeful.”
Drumheller said Brody left the ICU without really any motor control, the ability to speak or eat, and had a tube in his stomach. While at Shriners, he underwent physical therapy, occupational therapy and speech therapy for about three hours a day to re-engage his motor system.
Brody was making progress on a daily basis by the time he was released from Shriners on March 17, but his rehabilitation was far from over.
The first stop was in Louisiana, where the Drumhellers spent just over a month while Brody underwent hyperbaric oxygen therapy to oxygenate his brain and to help it heal. From there, they traveled to Florida for intensive therapy to reintegrate Brody’s reflexes. Lastly, the Drumhellers traveled to Texas to meet with a developmental functional neurologist who worked with Brody on sensory motor type activities.
Brody’s progress so far has been phenomenal and an answer to prayers, Drumheller said. Five months into rehabilitation and he is communicating again and making daily improvements. The work is now focused on fine tuning his motor and brain functions.
At this time, Brody is spending several hours a day doing aggressive home health therapy, which includes physical therapy, occupational therapy, speech therapy and recreational therapy. Once that work is completed, he will transition to outpatient service at local clinics.
With brain injuries, it’s hard to determine when or if a person might make a full recovery. Drumheller said after seeing Brody’s progress so far, she has full confidence he’ll make a complete recovery.
“We are so thankful for all the support and prayers throughout this,” she said. “I really just hope the first responders know that not only did they help bring our boy back, but that what they did has kept him alive and thriving. They brought him back to a point where he can fully recover, so for that we are just forever grateful.”
To keep up with Brody’s road to recovery on Facebook, visit https://bit.ly/3sjYcDq.