Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Get the kleenex-- a post about the past~

Each year at this time of year, there are a few local events that make my heart ache--
  • The Lane County Fair(This year the same weekend as our camping trip)
  • The Harris Family Reunion
  • The Moore Family Reunion and camping trip(next weekend we are off to Reedsport)
Our family just got finished with the Harris Family Reunion, and although it was so nice to see everyone~ there was some moments that just made the world stop turning for a while.
{Quite a few of the family asked about Jessica's health and her future-- Although were apart of the lawsuit against the Fair --- we received ZERO monies,Zero apologies, and Jessica currently has to take blood pressure medication every day to keep her kidneys working at a normal rate.}
Back in August of 2002, I was about 8 months pregnant with Shane--
I wanted to walk around ~ I was just... a little hot and cranky~
the Lane County Fair was going on, after much complaining and cajoling
I convinced my dear hubby to take us (Jessica,Jerry and I) to the fair--
Since Jessica had already been though enough medical stuff
-(being a premiee,born at 33 1/3 weeks at only 3 pounds 4 ounces)
- we planned ahead not to touch any animals and to only eat from vendors that we had seen in years past. We also thought that by keeping her in the stroller we would be keeping her safe -- she had only just figured out how to walk and we were afraid that she might get squished in the crowds of people. When we ate, we went in the bathroom and washed our hands and then came back and baby wiped them-- thinking that we were being clean and safe.We saw the tables and chairs that were set out and decided that sitting in a grassy area was a better plan.

We found out later that our choices-- may or may not of been helpful at all.
Herein, lies guilt~

About a week after the Fair, we were at a funeral for my husbands cousin- who passed away after a battle with cancer-- she left 2 kids and a husband behind-- I can't remember her age- but it was just too soon for this event to happen, too soon. While we were trying to share our loss with the Harris Family, Jessica's lack of spirit and energy was fading fast. She had not had anything to eat, and wasn't really even interested in drinking juice.We had made an appointment to see our pediatrician at 4pmish-- I left Jerry with his family and I took Jessica to see our pediatrician.
Our visit seemed to be the longest ever-- Our Dr. looked Jessica over and asked questions-- where had we been recently, what had we been doing--
I didn't know where all the questions were leading -- just that I didn't like the look on our Dr's face. Our Dr. wanted to give Jessica some Pedalite to see if she could keep that down-- the next thing I know she was projectile puking-- (pardon the description) Our Dr. went and got another pediatrician for a consult -- the look on his face wasn't helpful-- his eyes never really met mine-- and I don't think he even said a word out loud-- he just looked at our Dr. and nodded. Once again our Dr. left the room-- I was in-limbo, my daughter had such a cloud of sickness of her and I was just embarrassed about her puking in the office~ shock and dismay seemed to be the only feelings I can remember.
I don't know how much time had passed -- but I know that the office got very quiet and it seemed as though I was the only patient left.
Our Dr. came in and explained that she thought, along with the other Dr. that Jessica was part of a group of kids that were VERY sick-- she was very sad to say that she thought the sickness was,
E coli. -- She asked if I wanted to go home with Jessica and see if I could nurse her back to health--- She explained that I would have to watch Jessica very closely -- I stopped to ask, just how bad can this get? I don't remember the words that she said, just that the end result could be death. I told her that I was very nervous-- How could I take Jessica home and help her~ if she couldn't even keep the Pedalite down? Our Dr. then said, well Jessica is very dehydrated-- let's go ahead and admit her to the hospital and see if they can help her-- .
She left to make the necessary calls and I called Jerry--- who was still with his family-- Through my tears, I explained that I needed him NOW to come and drive Jessica and I to the hospital. (There was no way I was going to be a safe driver with my daughter sick in the back seat.)
When we got to the hospital, we were fast-tracked to the PICU-- On our way in the double doors,
I saw another Mom that I knew, (she was a customer of mine while I worked at Dari Mart)
the tears welled up in my eyes and I just reached out for a hug-- I asked why are you here, and she said, my son Hunter is sick-- we think he got sick with E coli.

As, I type this -- my face is blotchy and red, I think I have emptied all my tear ducks--- So, I am going to pause --

I hope that by reading this,
people will be aware that E Coli is a terrible thing
-- and that hand washing is VERY important--
but that there are MANY other things that can prevent E coli.
  • keep the animals and the food vendors separate
  • test the animals prior to the fair (Yes, most cud-chewing animals have E coli present, but this test is for E coli serotype O157:H7 which is what affects humans)
  • Have the animals a week or two after the Fair-- not at the same time
  • Know that E coli can be airborne
  • Know that even if you are very cautious, the amount of E coli needed to get sick is very small-- our Dr's said that Jessica might of only ingested the amount the size of a dime.
  • E coli affects the very old and very young-- mainly the fragile.
Please, as we enjoy the Summer-- be cautious of Fairs.


hennhouse said...

Tears here, too.

Great advice!

Anonymous said...

I swear... I have to share everything with you.... I'm crying now too. Now I hope I get to babysit on Monday for you. And... now it looks like my daughter is leaving next week so somehow you really hit me with the tears thing. I love you Stace! Me

Shannon @ Gabi's World said...

I am not crazy about fairs anyhow since I don't like rides that disassemble and reassemble so much. My massage therapist (Don't be jealous... she causes pain) mentioned about 2 weeks ago that they were at a fair here doing messages and she was disgusted because the pigs were directly across from the funnel cakes! So sorry that Jessica has had such a tough time. Is there ever a chance that she'll fully recover not needing any medication in the future?

Childlife said...

I know that was a tough post to share, Stacey -- but wow -- you did it beautifully. You are such a great advocate for Jessica and do such a wonderful job of raising awareness about the dangers of Ecoli. I'm so sorry that your family had to go through this -- but thank you for sharing your story to help others.