Archive | April, 2012

It Just Takes a Little to Make a Difference

26 Apr

I am so honored that the National Meningitis Association is a Champion with Shot@Life, to save lives from vaccine-preventable diseases in developing countries.  Every 20 seconds, a child dies from a vaccine-preventable disease.  When I think about that, I get sick to my stomach.  We are all moms – globally — and we want what’s best for our children and to be able to protect them.

Please

Together, we can make a difference.

26 Days of Hell — Come to an End

18 Apr

Friday, April 20th, will be 14 years since my beautiful son, Evan, died from meningococcal disease. Fourteen years sounds like such a long time, like you should be over it by now.  But for the loss of a child, 14 years is just 14 seconds.  Every day of the 26 days he was in the hospital, every minute, is still so clear in my mind.   I remember the critical care unit doctor, so upset and angry that a healthy, young man, was fighting for his life, that he went into the supply closet and kicked the door.  Doctors have feelings, and when they see the devastation of this disease, it hits them in their heart.  I remember Evan watching a video that his baseball team had made him, to cheer him up.  Evan was intubated and couldn’t speak, but his eyes were big as saucers, as he watched his friends on the video.  I remember the horrible night he lifted himself up, saw his black hands and arms, and went into a panic attack, not being able to speak, but shaking  and spiking a high fever because he didn’t know what was happening to him.  No one could calm him down – not me, not his father, not his brother — until the neurologist came in and said, “Evan, look at me.  You have been very sick.  Just concentrate on getting better.”  Evan stared at the doctor (who, along with his wife, are now good friends of ours), trying to see through the doctor’s eyes, to see if he was telling the truth.  After that, they kept Evan completely intubated again.  No one realized he had the strength to lift his head up enough to see his arms.  And the stories just get worse.  After Evan was transferred to a burn unit via air ambulance (which the health insurance did not want to pay for, even though the doctors said it was Evan’s only chance of survival), I drove with my younger son to the burn unit hospital, about 3 hours away.  My husband called me to say that the burn unit only gave Evan a 1% chance of survival.  How can you drive with those words racing in your brain.  What do I say to my younger son, who is asking me about life after death, will Evan still be around.  My two sons were 12 ½ months apart, brothers and best friends.  The images and stories go on. We went through 26 days of hell and lost our son.  If even one family will make sure their children are vaccinated, then Evan, and all of the others we have lost too soon to this disease, we will be making a difference.

Here Today, Gone Tomorrow. Time to Get Tough on Vaccine Refusal

12 Apr

Throughout the United States, a potentially lethal war is erupting. It is a war that puts millions of innocent lives in danger and undermines the centuries-long sacred bond between physicians and patients. This is a war between pediatricians and patients and has developed largely because of the anti-vaccination movement. As a public health student at the Johns Hopkins University and a future pediatrician, I am alarmed by the catastrophic consequences this conflict could have on the health of American children.

It is time to get tough!

To read more, http:/ Continue reading

April Fools’ Day Gone Wrong

3 Apr

Guest post by Nicole

Michael was 19 and a senior in high school when he contracted meningococcal disease.  He was battling a bit of a cold for a few weeks, nothing serious.  Unlike most guys, he was pretty stoic about being sick.  He’d just take medicine and go about his day.  He was an exceptionally hard worker for a teenager, and he prided himself in his work.  He was taking Japanese classes at a local community college, and he had a trip planned to go to Japan over the summer.  He worked as an usher in  movie theater.  He went on a hike the day before he died.   He was a healthy, active young man.

On April 1, 2005 my parents got a phone call from the school nurse saying that Michael had the flu.  He went home and laid on the couch for a few hours.  He said his head hurt, but it was not unusual for Mikey to get migraines, so they thought little of it.

As the evening progressed, Michael’s condition worsened.  My parents took him to the emergency room.  He was still presenting flu-like symptoms with a splitting headache, but something about it just didn’t seem right.  He’d had the flu before, and he’d had migraines before, but never like this.

After a long wait in the emergency room, they finally saw him.  They couldn’t find anything wrong except that they couldn’t register a temperature on him.  They were preparing to discharge him when things became much worse.  He blacked out.  They tried to do a spinal tap, but he needed help so they gave it up and just worked on him.  They worked on him for well over an hour.  A medical helicopter was on the way to take him to a hospital with better facilities.  He was gone before it got there.  He died of sepsis early in the morning on April 2, 2005.

I still have nightmares about the flight from D.C. (where I was living) to Ohio, and then seeing my parents, the horror, the grief, the surreal way it all felt, until I laid eyes on his lifeless body.  I can still feel the scream in my throat, seeing my brother there in a box…it was right after April Fools day, and we had always had such a fun time playing pranks on each other.  I just kept sobbing…”its not funny Mikey, its not funny…”

It makes me so angry to think that it could have been prevented by something as simple as a stick in the arm.