It started as a blue spot in the crease of my arm. My grandma pointed it out. She’s a hypochondriac, so no one was inclined to believe it was serious. I was a fussy 20-month-old baby at baseline, but fussier than normal that day, so my parents brought me to the pediatrician. Not long after, I was in an ambulance headed for the hospital.
I had meningococcal meningitis, complicated by septic shock, disseminated intravascular coagulation, and purpura fulminans. My organs were failing: I was intubated, was placed on hemodialysis, and had 2 episodes of cardiac arrest, becoming unresponsive for almost a month. The purpura turned to necrosis, erupting in bursts onto my skin, burrowing into my bones, and forcing a below-knee amputation of my right leg. Debridement and dressing changes were too painful to be performed awake, so I was taken to surgery every day for weeks.
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Van Hentenryck M. Growing Pains. JAMA. 2020;324(8):745–746. doi:10.1001/jama.2020.13442
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