24-year old Lauren Wasser thought she had caught the flu, only to discover that her symptoms were connected to tampons she had purchased earlier that day.
She began to feel nauseous and achy as she messaged friends about a birthday party that evening.
Lauren looked so unwell at the party, her friends advised her to go home.
Exhausted and unwell Wasser climbed into bed only to be woken the following morning by the dog barking frantically, as police were knocking at the door.
“I came around and I could just hear pounding on the door and someone shouting, ‘Police, police, open up.’ I was so confused and thinking, ‘Why are the police here?’”
The police informed her that she “really need to call her mom as she is really worried about you”
Picking up her phone, she contacted her mum promising to call again in the morning once she felt better.
When Wasser never called the next day her mother contacted the police again.
Looking back Nasser explains “She called the police. They got to my apartment. It took them 30 minutes to get inside. They found me on my bedroom floor, face down. I had a 107F fever, all my kidneys were failing, I had a heart attack.”
The police got there just in time and she was rushed to the hospital, once there puzzled doctors wondered what could have caused this woman to be so close to death’s door.
Someone was fortunate enough to guess they should check for a tampon:
“Thank god there was an infectious disease doctor there [at the hospital] because as soon as they found me I was plummeting so bad they didn’t understand why this young, healthy 24-year-old girl was dying, there was nothing I was being receptive to, so they couldn’t figure it out.
They called the specialist down and based on the symptoms he said, ‘Well does she have a tampon in?'”
Medical staff removed the tampon once they located it and tests confirmed that it was indeed [TSS] toxic shock syndrome.
Lauren was put into an induced coma where she was on life support in order to become receptive to treatment.
All while her poor mother was prepared for the worst outcome.
“They were telling my mom and my godfather that they should prepare my funeral and there was no way I’m going to walk out of there — that it would be a miracle.”
According to Mayo Clinic, Toxic shock syndrome is a life-threatening complication that comes from toxins produced by staph or strep bacteria.
Often associated with super absorbent tampons, it can also be caused by contraceptive sponges, diaphragms, recent surgery, viral infections, and cuts or burns to the skin.
Symptoms include low blood pressure, a sudden high fever, vomiting, diarrhea, a sunburn-like rash, muscle aches, seizures, and headaches are all typical signs of toxic shock syndrome.
The condition can often lead to renal failure, shock, and death.
One should see a medical professional immediately if presenting with signs of toxic shock syndrome — especially if you have been using tampons or have an infection.
Tampon manufacturers have now changed the materials and design used in their products, the Mayo Clinic recommends using the lowest absorbency tampons possible, changing every four to eight hours while alternating with sanitary napkins.
Lauren was a long way from recovery even after she woke from her coma.
Her feet were burned and swollen, she overheard a nurse in her hospital room speaking on the phone and learned that she could end up losing one of her legs.
“There was a curtain there and there was a nurse. And I remember her speaking to someone from UCLA saying, ‘I have a 24-year-old girl here who is going to need a right leg below the knee amputation.”
Lauren cried when the news was confirmed that one of her legs would be amputated, it all felt so surreal for her.
“To hear that … I’m an athlete, I’m 24-years-old, I’m just a girl. You know, I had my whole life. My legs were my life. I didn’t want it to be true. I just kept crying and screaming and wanting my mom. And, ‘Please mom, don’t let them take my leg.’”
The only option for Lauren, under the circumstances, was to be strong but her blackened and gangrenous leg was still too painful to look at.
Finally, the dreaded day came when she had to sign the papers authorizing the hospital to take her leg.
Lauren explains “It was so hard […] My mom kissing my leg. And they write ‘yes’ and ‘no’ on your legs, like, ‘Yes, this is the one that is going,’ and, ‘No, this is the one we are keeping.’ To see that visually on your leg and see my mom kissing my leg knowing that that’s the last time … it was crazy.”
Wasser couldn’t take pain medication immediately after the surgery due to complications during the operation.
She regrets being so difficult to her mother and said it was “hell” for her.
In fact, knowing that if she gave in and committed suicide her little brother would be the one to find her was what kept her from ending it all.
Lauren has changed her entire outlook on what is important.
She’s is trying to raise awareness about toxic shock syndrome and is filing a lawsuit against the tampon manufacturer and the store that sold her the tampons.
Lauren is no longer the judgmental person she once was — someone who valued appearance more than anything else.
She claims that she became “a completely different person once she woke up from her coma.”
Lauren went back modeling again where her prosthetic leg has its own page and she even did a job for Nordstrom.
Although part of her still misses what she had, she wouldn’t go back:
“My heart wouldn’t be full. I wouldn’t feel like I’m doing good. I wouldn’t feel like I’m making an impact in a positive way. I wouldn’t have known what that felt like. Because I didn’t do that before.”
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Published By Trending Stylist.