By Ralphine Major
“He has a contagious smile and laugh,” she said. “He is always happy.” Sounds like a typical three-year-old, but the life of this special needs child has been anything but typical. His mother says that little Hyrum Howes suffers from hydrocephalus, a big word that means extra fluid on his head. Hyrum first had brain surgery when he was only four months old. Shortly after, he started having seizures. He has had four more brain surgeries, several other surgeries, and has been diagnosed with cerebral palsy. Still, his mother likes to focus on what she calls the more important diagnosis—his contagious smile and laugh.
Hyrum’s father, Joseph, is a civil engineering student at Tennessee Tech University in Cookeville. His mother, Rosalie, was working as a veterinary technician when he was born. She and Joseph would swap their schedules so that one of them would be home to care for their little boy. With all of Hyrum’s healthcare, it became too much and she had to leave her job. Most of Hyrum’s medical appointments are at Vanderbilt Hospital in Nashville, with an appointment in Knoxville every couple of months.
For all his little body has been through, this precious little boy brings so much joy to his family. This time last year he had two emergency brain surgeries and spent three months in the hospital, where he was in a coma for one month. Even with a breathing tube in his mouth, Rosalie said he opened his eyes and was—somehow—-still smiling! Hyrum’s family has held several fundraisers to help cover costs of his adaptive toys that insurance does not cover. Anyone who would like to help may send donations to: TN Tech, P.O. Box 9964, Cookeville, TN 38505.