Julie’s Story

My name is Julie and I am 17. On October 31st, when I was 15, I found my life was going to drastically change. It was Halloween and it was the day of hurricane Irene. My family and I were going to a friend’s house because we didn’t have power in our house. On our way to our friend’s house I stopped the car 4 times to throw up. My mom thought it was just the flu and I would be fine. When we got to my friend’s house I was shivering in my heavy winter coat. My mom gave me hers and I was wearing 2 winter coats in a heated house. We went to my aunt’s house that night to sleep there. I woke up the next morning and I didn’t feel well, I felt sick in my stomach and I had a fever of 102. I begged my mom to let my boyfriend come over to sit with me and watch movies. She let him come over and when he saw me he told me that I literally looked dead, we all thought he was joking…..That night I went to bed feeling fine but I woke up in the middle of the night to throw up and my bones felt broken everywhere. I slowly tried to get down the hallway and I passed out and hit my head. I woke up to my mom trying to get me up to the bathroom. I got to the bathroom and so badly needed to throw up but I couldn’t because there was nothing in my stomach. I tried to force myself to throw up because I was in so much pain. I slept in the bathroom that night and passed out 2 times trying to get up. My mom stayed up all night with me until we could see my doctor. That morning at 7 am we went to see my pediatrician and he thought I needed fluids. But I could barely move and my skin was white as snow. We went to the closest hospital to get fluids. When I got to the hospital I saw a doctor but he never looked me over physically to check for a rash. I had an IV inserted in my right arm and was told I would be transferred to Morristown Memorial Hospital within that hour. I waited 7 hours in that hospital, in that hour my heart monitor went off and the nurse shut it off. My eyes were closing and I was dying I could feel it. I was so weak I couldn’t talk. We finally got on the ambulance and I was hooked up to everything, the ambulance drove with no lights, no siren, and it drove slow. I don’t remember most of the ride to the Morristown hospital. But when we got to Morristown I was rushed into the PICU. I was greeted in the PICU by 3 doctors 6 nurses and a surgeon. My mom didn’t know how severe my case was. Everyone in the room immediately was checking my skin and taking off my clothes. The doctor looked at my stomach and arms and literally cursed. I had a rash all over, that was as red as a tomato. She told me that they were going to knock me out with Ketamine and put in a femoral line in my leg. My organs had shut down, my blood wasn’t clotting , and my heart was shutting down. I asked if it was going to hurt and all I remember is her telling me no. I woke up to all those doctors and nurses, and my mom looked as if she were crying. I was in the most pain I had ever felt. The doctor told me I went septic and that it was the cause of TSS. I had a blood transfusion and a human plasma transfusion., and I stayed in the PICU for the next week and was sent home with a PIC line in my arm that went to the main artery in my heart. I now suffer with PTSD and OCD. I never want to get sick like that ever again. I felt my life on the line and no one knew what was happening. I believe that my doctors are my heroes they literally saved my life. Because my symptoms were so much like the flu I didn’t know it was TSS. If you are feeling these symptoms severe or not seek a doctor’s attention, your life could be at risk.


  1. There have been times where I’ve thought I had TSS, and it is scary to even think that you have it! I’d bet it’s even scarier when you actually have it!