Bowden Watkinson should have spent Christmas opening presents and playing with his brother and sister at home in Te Puke.
Instead, the 7-year-old was wracked with terrible pain and rushed to Tauranga Hospital then, two days later, Auckland's Starship hospital, where he remains.
For 20 days now, he has been unable to cuddle his mum and separated from his siblings. He is fed through a tube and has spent periods sedated and on a ventilator. But his mum says doctors seem no closer to conclusively diagnosing the reason for his pain.
Rebecca Watkinson said Bowden, who lives with cyclic vomiting syndrome, had been regularly throwing up for days before Christmas, and struggling to put pressure on his foot.
On Christmas morning, he slept in, which she said was very out of character.
The Te Puke Primary School pupil "looked so miserable" when he was taken to hospital that afternoon, Watkinson said.
Two days later, he was flown to Auckland's Starship hospital and admitted to the Paediatric Intensive Care Unit (PICU).
"He looked horrible. He was in pain and still vomiting."
She said Bowden had since seen "pretty much every sub-group of doctors" as they tried to find a diagnosis.
"It went from a possible broken foot, rheumatoid arthritis, a ruptured appendix, Kawasaki disease. And now we are here."
She said a "possible working diagnosis" for Bowden was a secondary form of a disease called hemophagocytic lymphohistiocytosis (HLH).
Watkinson said the past two weeks had been "one big rollercoaster" for the family.
"I think I have aged a lot," she said.
"I haven't been able to cuddle him for two weeks and it has been hard."
Watkinson said Bowden's two older siblings - aged 9 and 13 - had insisted on leaving the Christmas tree up at home for their brother.
"He didn't get Christmas. The kids want to redo it when he gets home."
Bowden was moved into the general pediatric ward on Thursday but Watkinson said they were still "not closer to figuring out what is going on".
Hospital staff were treating his symptoms, which included body-wide pain and a "huge hematoma" over his abdomen caused by bleeding after a kidney biopsy.
He was also being fed through a nasogastric tube, Watkinson said.
"He has asked to go home a few times, which is heartbreaking. We just keep telling him 'you are not very well and you are in the best place you need to be'."
Watkinson said her "smiley and snuggly", football-obsessed son had not been himself for the past two weeks but was starting to show signs of improvement.
"He isn't talking, he definitely isn't himself.
"He has only been awake these last couple of days. He is obviously still really tired and sleepy.
"He has plateaued but not enough to say he is coming down the other side. We are going to be up here [in Auckland] for a wee while."
She said it had been hard on Bowden's older brother and sister, who were "stuck at home".
"They are at the age where they understand Bowden is not well and this is just the way it has to be."
The family had planned to have their first "proper" Christmas holiday this year, with dad Daniel taking time off work for the first time in years.
Instead, Watkinson had stayed with Bowden in Auckland while Daniel looked after the older siblings at home.
Watkinson, who was unable to work due to chronic health conditions, said she was struggling to care for Bowden full-time alongside hospital staff.
But she said she was "so grateful" for the hardworking staff at Starship.
"I will probably crash and burn when I get home but it is what needs to be done right now. You just put one foot in front of the other and don't think about anything else."
The family had started a Givealittle page to fundraise money for costs associated with follow-up appointments, staying at Starship and Daniel taking time off work.
Watkinson hoped any leftover money would go towards a "small" holiday when Bowden was feeling better and celebrating Christmas properly.
Auckland DHB has been approached for comment on Bowden's case.