Less than two months shy of her second birthday and Bridgette Dziuba has spent more time in the hospital than she has at home. And so too has her family.
“I live in the hospital,” said single mom Brittany Hart, whose youngest child’s home is B.C. Children’s Hospital.
Ever since Bridgette was born, she has been dependent on total parenteral nutrition (TPN) due to a chronic disease that the doctors can’t fix. Therefore the blonde-haired, blue eyed toddler has to remain on a peripherally inserted central catheter (PICC) line which feeds her more hours than she is even awake.
“She’s on that for 20 hours a day so we get four hours out of the hospital,” said Brittany, who was born in Salmon Arm but grew up in Vernon and is a W.L. Seaton and West Vernon alumni.
“I refer it a lot like jail.
“Unfortunately this is going to be life for her.”
The family originally lived in Sicamous when Bridgette was born, but later moved to Vernon to be closer to a hospital.
“I finally set up a house in Vernon and we were there for eight days before we had to come back (to B.C. Children’s).”
Vernon Jubilee Hospital is not equipped to handle Bridgette, according to her mom. Therefore the decision was made for the family to move to Abbotsford to be closer to her.
“Since January we’ve been renting and not living there (Vernon),” said Brittany. “We called it our vacation home.”
The family has already used up all available resources from organizations such as Easter Seals, Ronald McDonald House, Variety and Cops for Kids. Now on income assistance, Brittany even has to dip into her child tax to pay for rent.
The accumulating costs and the move have put an even deeper strain on the family, therefore a Go Fund Me page has been established in hopes of lending some support (www.gofundme.com/2hycxsc).
Despite the financial pressures, Brittany is excited to be able to spend more time with both her children, being closer to Bridgette. Instead of a five-hour drive, she only has an hour drive to get to her youngest. And it also means more time for eight-year-old Malaya-Mae to spend with her little sister and mom.
“She lived with my mom for a bit and my sister took care of her,” said Brittany of her oldest.
Although the move has also meant another new school for Malaya-Mae.
“This is her fourth school that she’ll start.”
But the chance to be together is worth it for the three girls.