Having Rheumatic Fever
I was eleven years old when my oldest sister, Willie, was admitted into the hospital for heart problems. At that age, I didn’t understand what was going on with her, but I knew she was very sick. By the time I reached my fifth-teen birthday, my sister was back in the hospital again. It was then that I understood what was happening to my sister. As a baby, my sister was diagnosed with rheumatic fever. Rheumatic fever is a delayed consequence of an untreated upper respiratory infection with group A streptococci (streptococcal pharyngitis or “strep throat”) (South Dakota Dept of Health). This disease can cause inflammation of the heart and damage to the heart valves (American Heart Association). Inflammation of the heart leads to scarring and deformity, causing the valves to malfunction (Microsoft Encarta). This strain on the heart muscle causes rheumatic heart disease, which can cause death in middle or later life (Microsoft Encarta). Rheumatic Fever is preventable, but if it is not treated early it can cause serious damage to the heart.
The symptoms of rheumatic fever, which usually develop within two weeks but may not appear for several months, includes fever, skin rash, swelling of the jo
She continued to be that cheerful person that we could run to when we were feeling down. I recall my sister telling me she was tired and sick of the pain. My sister even stayed cheerful when she was finally confined to a wheel chair. She was no longer that cheerful person. If the heart is involved, the abnormality should be able to detect by this time (Phibbs 151). The body goes on producing antidotes to the poisons of the bacteria long after the bacteria are gone (Phibbs 147). Recurrence of rheumatic fever is common (Phibbs 152). When the doctors told my family that my sister needed a heart transplant they felled to pieces, but my sister remained strong. After a routine check-up with her doctor, she was told that her last attack of the disease had produced more heart damage. The reason you don"tmt die when the first bacteria attacks is that the cells of your body have ways of resisting the bacteria by actually destroying them, and by neutralizing the toxic products they produce (Phibbs 147). The disease is going to run its course and the physician can only watch for signs of cardiac involvement and treat them when possible. I would come home from work and she would have dinner cooking for the entire family. She always had this wonderful glow in her eyes.