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My Sister's Obituary
by
Hunter Darden

I never dreamed that I would be writing my own sister's obituary. Her death had come unexpectedly and unnecessarily. Through the foggy haze of it all, I managed to write:

Fran was a rare and special person and you knew it while in her presence. She had a multitude of friends and an ability to extend herself to others. She took great care in the nurturing of her
friendships. Fran not only had beautiful porcelain skin on the outside, but a rare and precious porcelain heart as well. She radiated kindness, intelligence and great wit. She had a wonderful sense of humor and an infectious laugh. Her friends were naturally drawn back for more helpings of Fran's great company. In lieu of flowers, love your family  cherish every moment.

My family and I had been on vacation with my sister and her family. She was forty-one years old and the mother to three small children. When she first began getting ill, we thought she had a typical stomach virus. However, shortly thereafter she was in severe pain. She soon became unconscious and went into cardiac arrest twenty-four hours after her first symptoms. The doctors noticed the rash and removed her tampon. There diagnosis: Toxic Shock Syndrome caused by that tampon. She was on a ventilator for two weeks before being disconnected.

How could this have happened to someone so vital? 

TSS was more rampant in the late seventies. I believe that women are under the impression that the problem was resolved; however, the warning is still in the box. My sister's doctors felt that the applicator had caused an abrasion and that is how the staph germ got into her system. It systematically shut down all of her organs. The other symptoms are confusion, diarrhea, dizziness, fainting, fever, and pelvic pain and a sunburn-like rash that usually appears on the soles of the feet and palms of the hand. It can, also, be caused from leaving the tampon in for too long. It is certainly rare now, but one death is too many. We are told that OB that is made out of cotton with no applicator is the safest form to use. Don't let something so unnecessary happen to your friends and family. I feel that creating awareness is the only way to make something good come from something so bad. I think Fran would approve.

Fran's left nostril used to quiver when she laughed real hard. I never told her. I so wish I had. Enjoy every moment with your family and friends. If a relationship is in need of repair, repair it now. In case, there is no tomorrow with a loved one, make sure and tell them you love them more than they will ever know.

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