My name is Sharon Giunta.
I am the grandmother of Anthony Michael Giunta, who died of streptococcus pheumoniae, a form of bacteria meningitis at the age of 8 months. On April 9, 2008 Anthony woke in the morning making a little moaning noise. He drank his bottle and then vomited. He then drank a lot of water as if he were severely thirsty. Mom decided to take him to a Central Care Medical Center that is a 5 minute drive from the house. Upon arrival the doctor told mom to take Anthony to the ER. They felt he was dehydrated and did not have the equipment to help him. The ER is also a 5 minute drive. By the time they arrived at Florida Hospital's ER Anthony's skin color starting changing and he starting having difficulty breathing. The nurse took Anthony very quickly to the back to a doctor. The doctor came out and told us Anthony had meningitis but at that time they were not sure if it was viral or bacterial. The decision was made to transport Anthony to Florida Hospital South where he would get the best care. The doctors sedated him and put him on a respirator so that all he had to do was to fight the illness. When I arrived at the hospital I spoke with one of Anthony's doctors.
Thats when we learned he had contracted streptococcus pheumoniae. I was told they had started medications to help fight this disease. Because he had a form of bacterial meningitis I asked the doctor about survival and he said it was too early to tell. Anthony would remain on medication for a few days or so and then we would see if any damage was caused due to the illness. I asked if there was any better place Anthony could be and the doctor said no. I felt confident that they would make Anthony well again.
I then told him that my son, Anthony's father was in Rhode Island working and asked if I should have him come home. The doctor said that he needed to come home. I called my son and told him that Anthony was very ill and that the doctor said he should come home. My son than called his boss and told him the situation and at that point they proceeded to book him a flight home. Even though I knew Anthony was very sick I never expected nor was there time to try and prepare myself or anyone else of what was about to happen.
When I went to the infant ICU to see him, his whole body was swollen and he looked like he was sleeping. I was not able to get close to him, they were getting ready to give him blood. We had to leave and wait in the waiting room until they were finished. The wait seemed forever. Anthony's mom, Brittany and I went back in to see Anthony again. We were told that the blood transfusion was not working. I remember a Chaplain being there and he said we should say a prayer together, which we did. Even though the transfusion didn't work Anthony appeared to be critical but stable. I called my son again to find out about his flight.&; He said there were no flights out until the morning. I was devastated by this news so I called myself and explained that Anthony was very ill and that my son needed to be with Anthony and with us. The company had 4 people on the computer and telephone trying to get him a flight. All I could do was cry. Carl needed to be with his son and Brittany and Anthony I felt needed his daddy there. We went back to visit Anthony and while watching him his heart stopped.
I can't describe how I felt or how Anthony's mommy felt. We just cried and held our breath praying that the doctors would make his heart beat again. After what seemed like a life time Anthony's heart started beating again. The doctor said it was going to be a long few days with Anthony. At that point I was on the phone again checking on the status of a flight for daddy. They were all working diligently to get him a flight but there were none. I told them that Anthony's heart had stopped and that he was revived. They said they would keep searching for a flight. I called my son to check in on him to see how he was doing. I did not tell him that Anthony's heart stopped, I just couldn't. He had a good friend staying with him at that point until we could get him on a plane.
I went to the chapel and prayed for God to help make Anthony well again. I then prayed that if God needed to take Anthony then at least keep him with us until his daddy arrived. I went back to the ICU and the nurse brought Brittany out. They said she needed to take a break for a few minutes. Anthony's heart had stopped again and he was again revived. It had ony been 20 minutes since his heart stopped the first time. All I thought was that he is so small how can he keep fighting all night long to survive. I called About Carl's flight again and pleaded that they please help us get Carl home. I told them Anthony's heart had stopped twice. They were all as distraught as we were with the news.
Just thinking, my god how can this be happening. Please help him!! We were all in the waiting room, myself, Brittany, Brittany's mom and stepdad when about 10 minutes had passed and the doctor came in. He sat down and preceded to tell us that Anthony's heart had stopped again and that this time they could not bring him back, Anthony was gone. At that point a part of me died too. I felt a part of my soul leave my body, I was in shock.
Everyone was crying and Brittany was screaming for Anthony. After a while Brittany's mom decided to take Brittany home, there was nothing more we could do. I stayed struggling with calling daddy and telling him the devestating news. I spoke with a nurse and a chaplin and at first they said no to tell him tonight, they said to wait until he was home. I told them I felt I could not wait until the next morning when he got off of a plane to tell him his son was gone.
I struggled for some time and a nurse told me she saw that I had be struggle with what to do and she told me to follow my heart. I left the hospital and proceeded to drive home thinking of how to tell my son his son was gone. I was so numb, confused and shocked that I went the wrong direction to go home. By the time I arrived at home I cried and cried and cried. I finally decided to call my son to tell him the news. When he answered I asked if his friend was still there with him and he said no. I asked him to call him to see if he would come be with Carl so that I could take to him. He tried to call his friend but got no answer. I told him to go knock on his door, which he did and his friend did not answer. I had no choice but to tell him but I hated that he was alone. I told him Anthony was gone, that he had died. I started to say more while starting to cry and he said Mother please don't. As hard as it was for me I said OK. I asked him if he wanted me to just stay on the phone or hang up and he asked me to stay on the phone. My son is a very sensitive and private person. So I sat with him on the phone for a couple of hours not saying anything.
His boss was going to pick him up at 3:00 a.m. to take him to the airport. I tried to lie down for a few hours until I had to pick him up and of course just cry and cry thinking how could God let this happen. I made my way to the airport and when I saw my son my heart broke even more which I didn't think was possible with the emptiness I felt already. When he got in my car I was fighting so hard not to cry. I just rubbed his arm and we headed to Brittany's mom's house. When we arrived and Carl and Brittany went into another room all you heard was crying.
Being a mom, I was overcome by pain, anguish, still not believing what had happened and most of all not being able to fix it. I wanted desperately to take away all of their pain and suffering. The thought of not being able to hold Anthony, sign to him, he loved Row, Row, Row Your Boat, to kiss him and just watch him brings so much pain for me that I can't even begin to imagine how mommy and daddy feel.
You just go through the motions of the day. We all lost part of ourselves that night but now I tell myself that the parts we lost are with Anthony and they always will be.
He is forever in our hearts, our thoughts, and our souls. We love him dearly, more than life itself.