East Montgomery Elementary School first grader Joseph Bostain continues his road to recovery this week following a mid-March COVID-19 diagnosis.

The diagnosis is the latest in a long list of obstacles placed in the 6-year-old boy’s path in life.  

The family who adopted him when he was 14 months old support the challenges the boy faces, as well as his daily medical needs that started at birth with cystic fibrosis, a disorder that causes severe damage to the lungs, digestive system and other organs in the body. 

Sabrina Bostain, Joseph Bostain’s mother, said her son requires several breathing treatments each day, even prior to the COVID-19 diagnosis. 

“We do an hour-long treatment twice each day, and up to four times daily when he is ill, depending on how he is feeling,” Sabrina Bostain said.

During his slow recovery, Joseph Bostain has bouts of on-and-off fever and episodes of coughing so bad he’s had trouble sleeping. 

It was earlier this week, however, that Sabrina Bostain celebrated four days with Joseph Bostain fever free. 

“He is doing so good,” Sabrina Bostain said. “He’s perky and happy. He still has a mild cough and some tummy issues going on. But I think we’re about to end everything with no fever for four days. That’s a good thing.” 

Joseph Bostain’s symptoms began with a sore throat, cough and fever, which prompted a test for the new coronavirus. 

The COVID-19 test was administered to the boy for precautionary reasons after tests for the flu and other medical issues came back as negative. 

“The cough was a different cough for Joseph,” Sabrina Bostain said. “It was a combination of both a wet and dry cough.” 

After he was treated at the Monroe Carell Jr. Children's Hospital at Vanderbilt, Joseph Bostain went home to recover, even though he experienced several of the coronavirus symptoms, including fever, vomiting, cough, diarrhea, headache and a nagging sore throat. 

With the onset of COVID-19, Joseph Bostain has to wear a mask every day, but he’s done that just about every day of his life and has learned to endure the treatment and recovery well, according to his mother. 

 

Joseph’s birth, adoption 

With four daughters, Sabrina Bostain said she and her husband, Tim Bostain, decided to adopt their son after they heard about the care his birth mother, a relative in another state, could not provide him due to drug addiction. 

“Joseph was born in a swimming pool,” Sabrina Bostain said. “A fireman delivered him in a pool.” 

The Bostains quickly decided to step in and helped. They raised the baby themselves, and had to spend 14 months to become foster parents to enable the adoption to take place. 

“He was a ward of another state and lived with a foster family until we were able to go through all the procedures required to adopt him,” Sabrina Bostain said. “There was a lot of red tape, especially since he was from another state.” 

Joseph Bostain was born in June 2013, and the Bostains brought him back to their Tennessee home in September 2013. 

 

Community support 

The reactions from Joseph Bostain’s neighbors and classmates at East Montgomery Elementary School comforted the family, according to his mother, who said many used their decorated cars and trucks in a makeshift parade in front of the house once they learned of his diagnosis. 

Children of families, friends and neighbors joined in the parade, honking and waving as Joseph Bostain waved back from his window. 

Once they left, Joseph Bostain spent time with the balloons and cards left for him, reading each card aloud.  

After more people heard of Joseph Bostain’s diagnosis, cards and messages came from all across the United States and also from different parts of the world. 

“Even in the U.K., Belize, Brazil, Germany, Australia and from all over,” Sabrina Bostain said. “It’s been an amazing outpouring of love and kindness and support shown to us.” 

On Sunday afternoon, Sabrina Bostain allowed her son to venture outside for some fresh air to play for a little while. He was able to breathe the fresh, spring air, even though it was through a mask.  

“He enjoyed using chalk to mark on the driveway,” Sabrina Bostain said. “He and his sister, Maddie, sat in the back of my truck and had a picnic lunch.” 

For now, the brief trips outside on sunny days will have to do, as Joseph Bostain and his large support group of family, friends, classmates and community see him through the long road to better health. 

“We are praying that the fever will go away totally so we can be another step toward all of this going away completely,” Sabrina Bostain said. “We remain in a positive mindset and continue try to get past this.”

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