Rough road to recovery for Griffith boy

2013-03-27T19:28:00Z 2013-03-28T23:09:04Z Rough road to recovery for Griffith boyVanessa Renderman, (219) 933-3244

GRIFFITH | A 9-year-old Griffith boy continues to recover from surgery that gave him a new kidney.

Blake Loudenber, who was born with polycystic kidney disease, received the kidney March 14 at University of Chicago Medicine Comer Children's Hospital. His body immediately began rejecting the organ, and his recovery has not been smooth.

"They can't really say he's in good condition," said Angela Vujko, family friend and advocate.

Blake was moved from intensive care to a lesser unit after the surgery. He underwent procedures to treat his blood and help his body accept the kidney.

"Everything was starting to look up," Vujko said.

But, his body seized in response to anti-rejection medication. Over the weekend, the third-grader had four seizures and one continuous seizure that lasted five hours. He stopped breathing twice, Vujko said.

"The medication that he needs to keep that kidney is what put him into the seizures the other day," she said. "Everything that can go wrong is going wrong. Every rarity, every side effect that affects only 5 percent of people ... all those weird little things."

The seizures have stopped, and scans appear to show no immediate brain damage. Blake remained in intensive care Wednesday. He is alert but tired, a little confused and grumpy, Vujko said.

"He wants to go home," she said.

Blake's family, some of whom are staying at the nearby Ronald McDonald House for relatives of pediatric patients, are there supporting him. His grandmother has not left the hospital since Blake's surgery.

"They're worried, but they have a very strong religious faith," Vujko said. "They're just trying to be tough. They have to for him."

Blake waited nearly his whole life for a new kidney. He spent 11 hours a night hooked to a peritoneal dialysis machine at home.

People have left countless messages of support on the Facebook page called A Miracle for Blake.

"Everybody is just rooting for him," Vujko said. "He's hope. People that are 40, 50 years old are writing, saying how they admire him."

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