Birthday April 23,1998
I wanted to share the story of
what we went through when our beautiful 5 year old daughter was diagnosed with
bacterial meningitis. The first day when she was still very ill I sat in the
hospital library searching the internet for some stories of hope.
Unfortunately there weren't too many. I hope someone, somewhere reads this and
realizes that there is hope and miracles happen every single day.
One day Mckenzie was bouncing off the walls,
wrestling with her brothers, and just being her silly little self. Less than
24 hours later she had a fever of 105.1, was throwing up constantly, was
lethargic, and she just sat there with this blank stare on her face. I put her
in the van and flew to the closest emergency room. On the way there I was
screaming at her to just say something, anything. I asked her what she wanted
for her birthday- she said a kitty. I wouldn't hear that precious voice again
for hours. We spent the next 10 hours at this ER. We were told she had an
infection but they didn't know where. They knew she had an ear infection and
they suggested that was what was wrong along with a "stomach bug." Her white
blood count was sky high, her heart rate was very fast, and her blood pressure
was low. They sent us home. As soon as we got home I called her Ped. and they
said to bring her in right away. I knew she was sick but never did I think she
was *that* sick. I had been up all night at the ER and I was on the verge of
collapsing. Aidan (our 3 year old) was at school so Shane (my husband) took
Kenzie to the Dr and he took Keegan (our 12 month old) too so I could rest.
About 2 hrs later I wake up and someone is banging at my door. I look out and
I see it's one of Shane's coworkers and all he said was, "You need to call
Shane, now. I hadn't heard the phone.
My hands were shaking as I dialed and all Shane said was that Mckenzie was
very sick and they called 911 at the Pediatricians and she was being rushed to
Children's Hospital in Cincinnati. And since he had Keegan with him he
couldn't go in the ambulance with her. I then felt like the worst mother on
this earth. My baby was alone in some ambulance with no one she knew being
rushed to a huge scary place. They told Shane she wouldn't remember any of it-
she doesn't but still. I couldn't get a hold of my mom but I left her a
message and then called my best friend to come and stay with the boys until my
mom could get here. Shane got home a few minutes later and we flew to the
hospital. It was rush hour though and it took us nearly an hour to get there.
I hadn't been to Children's in years and I had no idea where anything was but
I just ran through the place looking for the ER trying to find my baby. They
told us what room she was in and there were several Dr's and nurses in there
trying to figure out what was wrong. They first did a chest x-ray to rule out
pneumonia and then tested her urine to rule out any infections there. The Dr.
came back in and told us those test were negative so it was time for more
tests. He asked Kenzie to touch her chin to her chest- no way could she do it.
He tried to do it for her and she cried. He had told us earlier than
meningitis was a possibility but I didn't really think it was that. She would
need a spinal tap. When he said that I thought I was going to pass out. He
told us we could be present but since the room needed to be completely sterile
he prefer we didn't. We went out of the room to wait. It seemed like ages. We
were sitting in the hallway and he came out and very bluntly said, "She has
bacterial meningitis". Her spinal fluid was pure pus. Her levels were 3500. 5
is normal. I fell apart. I just put my head in my hands and cried and cried. I
told him I had so many questions. He told me he would answer every one of them
but at that moment his main priority was stabilizing Kenzie. He needed to have
a central venous catheter put in her to start very strong antibiotics and as
soon as that was put in we could see her. I didn't know what to do or what to
say when we were waiting to see her. I just held Shane's hand and said this
can't be happening to our baby. We finally got to see her and by this point
she was finally talking again. She still looked pretty bad but it was great to
hear her little voice. I wanted to just pick her up and hold her but we needed
to go straight to CT scan and then straight up to the PICU. There were so many
people in their CT scan room. They were all wearing face masks and protective
gowns. At that point they didn't know how contagious she was and everyone had
to be so careful. Seeing them and then looking at her on the CT scan table I
really felt like I was about to lose it. They sent a chaplain to be with us
and she just stood there with me and was patting me on the back. It's so hard
to explain but I didn't even feel like I was in that room. I thought for sure
this was all a nightmare and I would soon wake up and everything would be
We went up to the PICU as soon as the scan was over and they made us wait in
the waiting room while they took Kenzie to her room. I lost it again. I didn't
know what was going to happen. The PICU is just a scary place and it's one of
the last places a parent would want their child to be. We went to her room a
few minutes later and we saw Dr. after Dr. Kenzie was getting bored and told
me to get her shoes on her because it was time to go home! She said it was 10
pm and they didn't realize she was starving! LOL! The Dr's said that's
something they wanted to see but they were still very concerned. Kenzie's
blood pressure was very, very low. And she was on a medicine to stabilize her
blood pressure and it was still extremely low. At this point they started to
talk about septicemia and shock and that they were more concerned about that
than the meningitis itself. Her fingertips were blue and her hands and feet
were so cold despite her fever. Never in my life had I been more scared. It
was 10 pm and I wasn't sure if my baby was going to make it through the night.
Around 4 am her blood pressure was going up and they decided to wean her off
the Dopamine. Her blood pressure stabilized and never dropped again. The Dr's
were very happy. Her temp was also down in the morning but she was still
throwing up and dehydrated and just very weak and tired. She would wake up
every few hours but she was too weak to get out of bed. But as each hour
passed she got better. The next day we were released from the PICU and onto
the regular floor. That day she had a PICC line inserted in her arm and for
the next month she would be on very strong antibiotics.
We were in the hospital another 4 days and she had 2 more CT scans. We found
out that she had a bone infection around her ear called Mastoiditis. That
spread and then caused the meningitis. We had no idea she had anything more
that a slight ear infection. Since Kenzie was given an antibiotic about 12
hrs. before the spinal tap the Dr's said they would never be 100% sure what
strain she had but they suspected Strep
pneumoniae. We were told about all the complications that could
follow meningitis- seizures, hearing loss, and developmental delays. This all
scared me but I knew she was going to be okay. Hearing loss is a concern right
now and she has a hearing test in a few days but we can handle whatever
results we get.
She was released from the hospital on March 16. Yesterday after a month on iv
therapy she had her PICC line removed. All her blood levels are back to normal
and she is fine. She is the same silly little girl she has always been!
We are SO lucky that Mckenzie pulled through with no complications. Her Dr.
told us had we put her to bed that night she wouldn't have woken up. I cannot
We are just lucky. I can't say it enough.
Carly Wade- Ohio
Happy 6th Birthday Mckenzie
Happy Birthday Mckenzie. I pray your day is filled with love, joy, lots of
presents, cake ,friends and family. I know your life and recovery will be
celebrated here at Angels. God Bless You Little One.
Frankie, Heaven Bound Angel Ryan's mom
Birthday, McKenzie!! You are a walking miracle. May God bless you every day of
Love, Sherry (EBA)
HAPPY 6TH BIRTHDAY!!!
Your life is celebrated today by many. You are such a lucky girl to be here
with us on earth. You are one of God's special Angels, NEVER forget that! May
our Heavenly Father stay by your side now and forever.
All My LOVE!
Faithful Daughter Lana
Daughter of HBA Gina
January 13, 2004
birthday beautiful!! May you enjoy today and all of your tomorrows!!! Keep
smiling and enjoy each day!
Love, Aida D'Antona and Family
Birthday Mckenzie!!! God has special plans for you, and we are so happy you
did not let the meningitis win this time! You are a very brave little girl,
and God Bless You everyday of your sweet life. Gail,
Birthday, Beautiful! May you grow to be strong and happy and have lots more
birthdays! An Angel
Have a VERY happy birthday...You deserve it with all you've been
through...Prayers sent your way....Shirl
Birthday, Kenzie! You are such a precious miracle. I hope you got the kitty
With love from.
BIRTHDAY KENZIE! OUR FAMILY WISHES YOU A FULL AND HAPPY LIFE. WE WILL SAY A
PRAYER FOR YOU AND YOUR FAMILY.
LOVE, THE BOSTON FAMILY S. YARMOUTH,
I read your story. I am working every day to help
stop this serious disease in our Ohio area. I am so glad to hear you are a
survivor. Have a wonderful birthday.
Sanofi Pasteur Vaccines
Send Mckenzie A
Heaven Bound Angels