My almost 5-year-old daughter Lexi nearly died when she was one, from meningococcal septicemia.
Meningococcal septicemia is what happens when you don’t get meningitis, and instead your body declares all out war on the bacteria that causes meningitis. The thing is, the bacteria is carrying chemical weapons. Each one that your white cells destroys unleashes toxins into your body. So you end up being sluggish and lethargic, and won’t wake up, and if you go to the hospital too early you’ll be sent home with Tylenol – and die at home. Or if you get there just too late your child is just dead.
We were in the emergency room when Lexi presented with a petechial rash. Little purple pinpricks all over her body, that started to appear EVERYWHERE in seconds. And then, while we were there, I watched as her oxygen level dropped rapidly from 83% to 50-something. I ran to get a nurse immediately.
We were very lucky that it happened right then and there. We were at Seattle Children’s Hospital, because it was just around the corner, and my wife Darci’s instincts kicked in that this just wasn’t right. (Our Doctor – Martin Cahn – told her on the phone, “You can come here… but if you’re that worried, go right now to Children’s”).
So next, what happens is that your daughter is rushed up to the ICU – unconscious. And you sign a bunch of forms which give them permission to do everything and anything possible to save her life. They shoo you out of the room so you don’t see them pricking and sticking your daughter with every tube and IV known to man – including one down into her heart. She’s on a ventilator. She can’t breathe by herself.