As a teenager in the 90s, I was scared silly of using tampons because of the dreaded toxic shock syndrome that tampon boxes and health class warned us about. I mean, GEEZ! But after years of well…not dying, the fear of it began to fade a bit.
But you know what? That’s not really good. To be honest, I think it’s busy MOMS, rather than teens, who need to be worried about forgetting to change their tampons in a timely manner. That’s exactly the message mom Aimee Hollis, 37, wants to spread to other women after she nearly died from toxic shock syndrome last May,
Fox News reports that Hollis, her husband and two children had just moved into a new home when she began experiencing flu-like symptoms (moving = perfect time to be distracted and busy!).
“Initially I thought I was just rundown from all of the craziness that happens when you move,” she told Fox News. “But the fever got higher and higher and higher.”
The fever rose “higher and higher” to the tune of a panic-inducing 106.8 when she was admitted to the hospital. Doctors, realizing she was already septic and in danger of organ failure, began scrambling to try and save her life.
Finally, a few hours later, they discovered the source of the infection. The date of her last period – just four or five days before she fell ill, provided the clue they needed to confirm toxic shock syndrome.
Photo: Aimee Hollis in ICU, courtesy Aimee Hollis
Hollis says, “They got the on-call OB-GYN to do a physical examination and that’s when he found the actual infection in my cervix.” None of the staff there had seen a TSS infection before, she says. “I said ‘what are you talking about?’ I didn’t know how severe it was and I credit that to the doctors in the emergency room.”
Hollis had a surgical procedure to remove infection, but despite doctors’ best efforts to save her, she remained critically ill in the ICU for five days. She was given her last rites TWICE, and her family was called in to tell her goodbye. Then, hanging on to life, she slowly began to improve. After five more days in the hospital but out of ICU she was well enough to go home.
Now she is IMPLORING women to listen to their bodies. Doctors never found the offending tampon, which means she removed it before her symptoms were desperate, but after the damage had been done. “I knew I was sick – I was doing all the right things but still getting rapidly worse. It could’ve been too late for me but thank God, it’s not. Always question something if you’re unsure,” she says.
So Mamas, next time your monthly time comes, I hope you will remember Aimee. Her two kids still have her, and THAT is a miracle, but her illness was preventable, and she doesn’t want ANYONE ELSE to go through toxic shock syndrome like she did.