By Laurie Pearson, Staff writer
With his chubby, pink cheeks and sweet angelic face, three-year-old Kaden Sisk looks like a little Cherub lying on his bed near the television set.
He looks like other healthy children as he sleeps, but when he wakes, he doesn’t move, talk or even cry. He’s hooked up to a ventilator, a feeding pump and monitors.
Kaden was born to Glen and Tabitha Sisk at Hillside Hospital in Giles County and weighed more than 10 pounds at birth. There were complications with his delivery, and he was oxygen deprived, which caused serious damage to the right side of the brain. He was transported to NICU at Maury Regional Hospital and later to Vanderbilt because of seizures he was having. Kaden remained in the hospital for four months surrounded by family.
Once home, Kaden required attention 24-hours a day.
“He has a feeding tube and can’t eat,” said Tabitha.
His airways must be suctioned out about 30 times per day to keep them clear.
Tabitha quit working to care for the baby full-time. Glen, who works at a machine/welding shop, was working a night shift at that time. He watched Kaden during the daytime so Tabitha could get some rest.
“We had him the first year all by ourselves,” said Glen.
After several months, TennCare allowed two home health nurses on 12-hour shifts to help care for Kaden 24-hours a day, seven days a week.
The first few months of his life Kaden had two doctor appointments per week. There were also frequent emergency trips to the hospital every few months. His hospital stays would generally last about a month.
Tabitha and Glen are thankful for the help of Egam Baptist Church whose members have given the family some monetary funds for gas and groceries. Pastor Eddie Graves’ wife, Diane, has also helped care for Kaden on trips to Nashville.
“It takes 45 minutes to an hour to load the van before going some place – then it takes that long to get situated once we get there,” said Tabitha.
It takes three people to help load all the medical equipment and Kaden in the van at once. The toddler now weighs over 40 pounds, and the van is not equipped with a wheel-chair lift and the Sisks don’t have a wheelchair ramp.
Since Kaden’s tracheotomy, the trips to the hospital have been reduced to about two times per month. Glen’s Aunt Donna Partain has been talking to neighbors and others about doing a fundraiser for the family sometime this spring.
“I hate to ask for help,” says Glen. “My mom says I’m too proud.”
Last year Glen sold his truck to help make ends meet, and he’s recently been cut back to 32 hours at work.
“He’ll be like this the rest of his life … there’s nothing that can help him … nothing that the doctors can do,” Tabitha said of young Kaden.
While Kaden can’t move his head, Tabitha says he sometimes focuses on things such as cartoons or Tabitha’s voice. There is no interaction with his five-month-old brother, Preston.
Anyone interested in donating toward a wheelchair lift, a wheelchair ramp or a handicapped-equipped van for Kaden Sisk may do so at First National Bank. A checking account has been established in his name.