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Progress slow in new mom Danielle Campo’s recovery

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Progress and continuing health challenges still go hand-in-hand for Danielle Campo McLeod as she recovers from a life-threatening infection.

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Campo McLeod is off a ventilator and breathing on her own but Thursday saw her endure a setback that returned her to the ICU at University Hospital in London.

The new mom and decorated Paralympian had been moved out of ICU and onto a medical surgery floor Monday.

“We had a little step back today,” said Denny McLeod, her husband. “She’s developed a problem with mucous and she can’t cough enough to clear it. It’s not a major step back but it’s something they’ve got to keep an eye on.”

Campo McLeod has been in the fight of, and for her life since giving birth to her third child, daughter Morgan, by C-section Aug.17 in Windsor. She developed a bowel obstruction, infection and pneumonia after giving birth and spent 21 days in a Windsor hospital.

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The Windsor Aquatic Club celebrated its 50th Anniversary on Saturday, January 25, 2020, at the Windsor International Aquatic and Training Centre. Danielle Campo a record-setting world champion Paralympic swimmer and alumni of the club speaks during the event.
The Windsor Aquatic Club celebrated its 50th Anniversary on Saturday, January 25, 2020, at the Windsor International Aquatic and Training Centre. Danielle Campo a record-setting world champion Paralympic swimmer and alumni of the club speaks during the event. Photo by Dan Janisse /Windsor Star

Older brothers Corbin, five, and Samson, two, got to spend one night with their parents and new sister before Campo McLeod was rushed back to hospital with sepsis.

On Sept. 12, she was transferred to University Hospital where Denny and Campo’s mom, Colleen, have alternated a bedside vigil.

“It’s been an emotional roller coaster any way you look at it,” McLeod said. “But getting her off the ventilator, now it’s a whole different ball game from where we were last week. It was so nice hearing her voice.”

Doctors removed the ventilator last Saturday and since then, she’s been able to sit up briefly at the side of her bed and in a chair.

“When I got there yesterday she was sitting in the lounge chair and she tolerated it for about 20 minutes,” McLeod said.

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Campo McLeod is very weak and still fighting an unsourced infection.  Her recovery will be measured in months not weeks.

Danielle Campo is shown in this 2002 file photo.
Danielle Campo is shown in this 2002 file photo. Photo by Simon Hayter /Windsor Star

“It goes in waves,” McLeod said about his own state-of-mind. “I’m strong when I need to be, which is most of the time and then there’s times I feel I’m ready to break.”

Family members are looking after the three youngest children along with McLeod’s two teenage children. 

He came home   last Friday only to cut the visit short with news the doctors were pulling out the vent.

“I might head back home and spend two nights there this weekend,” he said.

As for his two youngest sons, “they’re doing surprisingly well. I think all that time since the birth when we were stuck in the hospital, I think that was weening them off of us as weird as that sounds. We video chat with them and they’re holding up well.”

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If doctors can locate the source of infection, Campo McLeod could be headed back to Windsor next week to continue her recovery. 

“They’ve looked all over her body,” McLeod said. “I said to her today, this is the last big hurdle and then we’re on our way.”

Neither Danielle or Denny can believe the outpouring of support from the Windsor community and beyond. A GoFundMe campaign to help with expenses down the road has now topped $84,000. 

“It hasn’t fully absorbed how many people are thinking about us,” McLeod said. “I get a lot of messages, thoughts, prayers, energy. It certainly does uplift you because it’s easy to get down in the dumps.”

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