The doctor told us not to worry. It must be a bug. Nothing to worry about.
The summer when I was nine was awful. I was infected with E.coli O157 and was really sick. I was very sick for 3 days before I was put in the hospital and then I got HUS and had to be transferred to another hospital in Wisconsin because they thought I might need dialysis. I don’t remember it but I rode there in an ambulance. My kidneys stopped working and I needed to have dialysis and blood. I had to be poked with a needle every morning to give blood to see if I was getting better. A really short lady with an accent came in and would tell me “just a little poke”. When they had to clean the place on my leg where I got my dialysis it really hurt. Dialysis was really boring even though I could watch TV and play my video game, but I’m glad they have a machine like that because it saved my life. I had to stay in the hospital for 3 weeks, my mom stayed there with me and my Dad and Grandma would drive up to see me every afternoon. My Aunt watched my dog. I really missed my dog when I was at the hospital. I’m 12 now and I’m better. I even run on my school’s cross-country team. I still have to go to the doctor in Wisconsin twice a year. I still have to take medicine and get blood work done. I am glad that the Food Safety Modernization Act has passed and may soon be a law because I want to worry less about the food I eat and I don’t want other kids to ever be as sick as I was or to go through what I had to when I was nine.
13 Dialysis Treatments
6 Blood Transfusions
These are among the list of things we never thought Jack would be introduced to. But at the age of nine, Jack endured all of this and more. In July of 2008 we went with Bruce on a business trip through Illinois, Indiana and Kentucky. What we thought was going to be a fun family trip turned into a nightmare. One night, Jack had a bout of diarrhea. But it was over quickly, and we assumed it was just a virus. When we got back home Jack started having diarrhea again, only this time he was vomiting as well. He developed a fever and had pain on his right side. We thought something was wrong with his appendix. We took Jack to the doctor, but the doctor told us not to worry. It must be a bug. Nothing to worry about.
Not long after that Jack’s stools turned bloody. We knew something was wrong. We took Jack to the hospital and they diagnosed him as having E. coli poisoning. His condition continued to worsen and we were transferred by ambulance to a children’s hospital 70 miles away from our home. Things went from bad to worse as we watched our little boy’s kidneys fail.
Being a parent you want to do anything to take away your child’s pain. But there was nothing we could do. While we were at Jack’s bedside we searched and searched for what could have made him so sick. This was no tummy ache. This was serious.
We saw that there was a ground beef recall for over 5 million pounds of meat, but we couldn’t definitively make the connection. It was so frustrating to watch our son suffer so much and have nothing to blame it on. Even today we are unsure of what caused his illness.
We are very optimistic about Jack’s long term prognosis, but we want to do what we can to make sure this doesn’t happen to others. So our family joined S.T.O.P.
STOP’s mission is our family’s mission: To make food safer for all consumers.