ENNIS, Texas -- Little Landon is usually all smiles. He likes to laugh at his big brother John and play with his toys.
He even giggled his way through family vacation at Turner Falls in Oklahoma this month.
The two-year-old stopped laughing when he got sick three days after the family returned home to Ennis.
“He’s got fever. He’s vomiting, you know diarrhea, was the main thing,” recalled his mom, Lindsey Montgomery. “He was just lying there. He was very lethargic. He was just not himself. He was pale, dehydrated. He hadn’t eaten in days.”
After nearly a week, and multiple trips to the doctor, Landon was getting worse.
Test results finally revealed it was more than just a stomach virus. It was E. coli.
“I stayed really hopeful,” Lindsey said. “But, at the same time, in the back if your mind, you’re just completely terrified.”
Lindsey and her husband, John, rushed to Children’s Medical Center of Dallas. The tough tyke had failing kidneys, and internal bleeding. He needed a blood transfusion and dialysis. He couldn’t breathe on his own.
“It’s almost like it was a dream going through that,” she said. “It’s like I woke up from a nightmare.”
E. coli causes food-borne illnesses. The bacteria are sometimes found in the intestines of animals like cattle.
There are many types of E. coli, most of them are harmless. But some strains can be deadly, especially for young children, like Landon, whose immune systems are still developing.
According to the CDC, an estimated 100,000 illnesses, 3,000 hospitalizations, and 90 deaths are caused by E. coli bacteria each year across the United States.
After two long weeks, Landon came home on Sunday. It’s unknown exactly where Landon picked up E. coli. The family said they may never know where it came from.
“My son could have died, you know, if I would never have taken action, gone to the emergency room,” Lindsey said. “He would have died, and I would have had no idea what happened.”
The family was overwhelmed by the generosity of strangers and loved ones who helped contribute to a GoFundMe campaign set up to help cover expenses.
Landon still has several doctor visits ahead of him, and his blood pressure must be meticulously monitored until he’s completely out of the woods.
Still, there’s no place like home.