On February 10, 2010, at the age of 19, I woke up with a sore throat and was just feeling under the weather. I finished out my week at work and started to feel better by the end of my work day on Saturday (February 13). On Sunday I felt great – just a tad tired. I went on with my day and even did some Valentine’s Day shopping at the mall. When I got home I enjoyed the dinner my boyfriend had prepared. After dinner we laid on the couch to watch a movie and my stomach was getting kind of girgly. I ignored it. I went on to shower and get ready for my Monday work day. Out of nowhere, I vomited. Usually when I get a stomach virus I get stomach pain so this was weird to me. I vomited 8 times in 30 minutes. Being a Medical Assistant, I knew this was bad.
All I could do was lay on the bathroom floor and not move an inch. I had my phone next to me and texted my mom to come over. My mom and boyfriend had to help me off the floor and put me into bed. I was on my period and had been using Playtex tampons. I had always read the pamphlet in the tampon boxes and thought this was what was going on. Around 6am, I had to go to the bathroom. When I tried to go back to bed, I completely blacked out and fell. I yelled for my boyfriend and he carried me back to bed. Later in the morning Josh called My mom and said I don’t know what to do. We called the doctor right away and they got me in real fast.
When they took my blood pressure it was 80/40 and my pulse was in the 160s. I was hooked to an IV. I was then transported to Exempla by ambulance and admitted into the ER. The ER doctor came in and did a strep and flu test and then put a mask on me for fear of meningitis. I was taken into a procedure room where they did a spinal tap, put a pic line in my neck and inserted a catheter then sent me to the ICU. I was in the ICU for 5 days where they did every test possible. I was always on 2 IVs with the strongest antibiotics available. I had to have heparin, insulin, and dopamine injections. I was even on percocet for the pain, which meant I had to be on oxygen because It knocked me out.
On the 5th day in ICU I started getting up and walking. It was really hard because by that time I had developed a terrible cough, which I am almost positive was pneumonia. I then was moved to a normal room for 2 days. After not being able to get my IVs back in they put me on oral medications for a day before I went home. Finally, I was discharged on the 27th of February.
My doctors said I was VERY lucky to be alive. After hearing other girls’ stories, I am truly blessed and lucky to be alive. My Advice: If you even think for a split second that you could have TSS, go straight to the doctor or hospital. It really doesn’t matter how often you change your tampons, you can still get TSS.
— Amanda Bostrom
If you or a loved one has suffered from tampon related TSS, we would like to hear from you. Please contact us here.