I’m sure she had no idea what it would do to me when she divulged that her forty-year-old cousin was on her death bed, but the ensuing days have been a living hell. I haven’t been able to breathe since Sara, an attorney I work with, called me into to her office to tell me the unlikely tragedy of her seemingly healthy cousin.
Sara’s cousin was a nurse, a mother of three, who had been feeling ill for the past month and a half. Respiratory infection she thought, but the doctors disagreed. They tested her for leukemia and other cancers, and while her platelet counts came back low, there was no diagnosis, or treatment. She begged for antibiotics, to fight what she thought was an infection in her lungs, the doctors refused.
“The doctors said the antibiotics could have a negative impact with her platelet count being so low. We all thought she was just being a hypochondriac.”
She actually used that word as she told me the story. Talk about the kiss of death.
Monday, Sara’s cousin walked into the emergency room. Her lung was collapsed. She was on the verge of cardiac arrest from lack of oxygen. Her blood stream was rampant with an infection that originated in her lungs, from an untreated case of pneumonia. Antibiotics were exactly what she had needed.
“They sedated her immediately so she wouldn’t have a heart attack. It’s unbelievable. She seemed so healthy. Now, she's on life support and you can’t even recognize her.”
In the rare event that Sara’s cousin does make it through, it will be as if she suffered a stroke. There'll be major brain damage and she’ll have to learn how to walk and talk again. But, the doctors don’t think it’s likely, it's almost certain that the infection will kill her.
At three o’clock yesterday, Sara rushed out the office because her cousin’s kidneys were failing. Today, I’m out of work with pneumonia.