Thursday, March 22, 2007

The Kiss of Death

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.


Bea said...

OMG that would scare me! I was in FL and just read your blog and the day I have missed, congrats on the website!
I went to the doctors yestarday to get blood taken for a physical and all I can think about is that someone else is looking at my blood knowing I have cancer or HIV and I have to wait till Tuesday @3pm =(

Barbora said...

That's terrifying!

Leila V. said...

Hey Bea:
Welcome back! There's nothing worse than waiting for test results. I don't envy you!

My thought exactly. On the bright side, my pneumonia is starting to clear up. I think it's time to crack the wine bottle.

Trish said...

How awful!

Barbora said...

Cheers, Leila!

How I envy you.

One of the things I miss about California is the deregulation of alcohol sales and the great prices you could get at places like Trader Joe’s. No more Schloss Biebrich at $3.99 a bottle and no more $3.99 Chilean red.

All liquor and wine in Pennsylvania are sold in state stores (at much higher prices). We’re kind of lucky with the beer though. Beer is sold through private distributorships. We are fortunate to have many excellent local breweries (100’s of years old) instead of fly-by-night micro- breweries. The best part is that you can buy cases of 16 oz returnable bottles for about $14.00 (plus you get your deposit back when you bring back the empties) while cases of 12 oz national brands go for approximately $18.00.

Leila V. said...

Deregulation of alcohol sales? State stores? What year are you guys in over there?

Seriously though, that's scary. Maybe I'm just a naive Californian, but I just assumed alcohol was legal.

And I thought the 2 a.m. cut-off was bull shit!

Ryan Seacrest said...

Yeah, bring me my Stegmaier and more herring! You can only have the last of the Schloss Biebrich when you learn to pronounce it!