Wyatt's Story

Miracle Child

Meet Wyatt the Warrior

Wyatt Garab

Miracles really do happen!

You couldn’t hear the music through Wyatt Garab’s headphones, but when he started singing the lyrics, anyone familiar with Top 40 music could name the tune.

“Nobody can drag me down. Nobody, nobody.” The sweet 6-year-old doesn’t even realize how much that One Direction song fits his situation.

On July 14, Wyatt was at his Jacksonville home with his family, playing on his iPad, when he started complaining of a really bad headache. His mom and dad, Courtney and Grant Garab, thought that’s what it was – just a bad headache. Dad encouraged Wyatt to rest, close his eyes, and go to sleep. He would scream in pain for a little while longer, but finally drifted off.

Grant checked on Wyatt about 10 minutes later. He woke up, but didn’t speak. He started vomiting and became very lethargic. Paramedics were called, and Wyatt was transported to Onslow Memorial Hospital where doctors ordered a CT scan. Grant was in the hallway outside of the CT scan room when he heard, “oh no, close the door.”

That’s when he knew something was terribly wrong.

Doctors could tell that Wyatt’s brain was bleeding, but could not determine the exact cause. He needed to be transported to a Level I trauma center. Courtney was about 10 minutes away from the hospital when Grant got the news. She had to get their 2-year-old, Sawyer, settled with neighbors, and she was nursing a 3-week-old baby. When she arrived, Grant met her at the car with the news. All she remembers was screaming.

An EastCare helicopter brought Wyatt to Vidant Medical Center. Grant, Courtney and baby Corbin made the drive from Jacksonville. Wyatt was placed under the care of neurosurgeon Dr. Hilal Kanaan and pediatric neurosurgeon Dr. Lenwood Smith. The first step was to place a drain in Wyatt’s head to remove the blood and relieve the pressure on his brain. More CT scans showed that Wyatt had suffered a spontaneous brain aneurysm on the right side. When the aneurysm ruptured, a blood clot formed.

Within 11 hours of arriving at Vidant Medical Center, Wyatt was wheeled to the operating room to undergo two major brain surgeries. “All we could do in those moments was wait and see if our son was going to survive,” Courtney wrote on her Facebook page, Wyatt the Warrior.

The first surgery, an endovascular coiling, allowed Dr. Kanaan to insert permanent coils to seal off the opening of the aneurysm. The second surgery, a craniotomy, allowed Dr. Smith to remove part of the bone from Wyatt's skull and remove the blood clot that had formed in his brain.

Both surgeries were a success. But then, the waiting began.

Doctors started weaning Wyatt off medications seven days after surgery. On day 10, he was extubated. That was the first time since surgery, Courtney said, that they were able to see their son’s whole face. He started talking, slowly at first, but was back to speaking in whole sentences by day 12. The family spent some time on the pediatric floor before being moved to pediatric rehab.

When they got to rehab, Wyatt’s left side was still almost non-functioning. He could not sit up on his own. The transformation he’s made in the three weeks since being in rehab is pretty phenomenal. He sits up on his own. He’s walking with little assistance, talking, reading and using his left hand more and more each day. He hasn’t forgotten how to swim, and he still loves video games.

Wyatt is doing so well that he has been able to venture away from the hospital a couple of times. Among his requests were a movie, McDonald’s, Target and Sweet Frog. 

Wyatt also got a chance to go check out the helicopter he flew to Greenville in. He, of course, has no memory of the flight, but Grant and Courtney will forever be grateful for that emergency crew.

“To know he was being cared for in route was very comforting,” Grant said. Courtney added, “I can’t even explain it.”

Wyatt was discharged Aug. 31, the same day Vidant Health unveiled its new children’s transport vehicle funded by Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals. The addition of this vehicle will allow even more children to receive the critical care they need in transport, before they even arrive at the hospital.

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Nobody can drag me down. Nobody, nobody.

Wyatt Garab
Miracle Child