As humans, we know nobody lives forever. Still, when death comes suddenly and unexpectedly, it is a truly painful thing.
That’s what happened to a woman named Crissy Naticchia, who had to bury her husband of 25 years after he was bitten by a tick.
Crissy shared her story on The Mighty website, where it was picked up by various outlets, including Love What Matters. The woman begins her tale at the end, describing the feelings of loss she and her family have been experiencing.
“My son, now a junior in high school, has no father to teach him how to drive, to talk to him about girls, to help him choose a college— nor to see him reach all of these milestones. My husband was all about his family— he did everything for us, unconditionally— which we took for granted like most people do. Now that he is not here, we feel lost and scared and alone.”
Crissy describes how her husband had been working hard at getting healthy and losing weight when he developed a sudden fever.
In their entire 26 years of marriage, Crissy’s husband had only been sick once. So when his fever continued with no other symptoms, she brought him to emergency care.
“He had been having drenching sweats— so bad he would have to change his clothes and bed sheets,” Crissy wrote.
“Urgent care tested his urine and diagnosed him with raging kidney infection, and prescribed him antibiotics. The fever and sweats went away but he still felt weak and not well.”
Her husband’s illness continued to get progressively worse. One day, he felt so bad he left work to go to the emergency room, and in the 12 hours that followed, Crissy says, “He went from joking to being in ICU on a ventilator”.
All tests were coming back negative, but doctors determined the man’s liver and kidneys were shutting down. When Crissy’s husband’s condition continued to get worse, he was transferred to a center that specializes in liver malfunction.
“They set him up on dialysis and they awakened him periodically to make sure his brain was functioning. After two days in this hospital, he was showing signs of respiratory distress and his prognosis was poor.”
Finally, they received a diagnosis. Crissy’s husband was suffering from a Babesia— a tick-borne illness that attacks the red blood cells. Because he did not have a spleen, the infection was particularly severe.
Doctor’s gave Crissy’s husband medication and she left feeling more optimistic than she had in a long time. Sadly, at 4:30 a.m. the next morning, she got a call urging her to go to the hospital. “His blood pressure was dropping, and his heart was giving in,” she wrote.
“Within 2 hours, I watched my handsome husband of 23 years pass away.”
Crissy calls her husband’s death a senseless tragedy and is now hoping to educate others on this parasitic infection— especially those who do not have spleens or are otherwise immuno-compromised.
“I lost the father of my children because he was bitten by a tick and the infection that developed is not widely known. If the doctors were able to diagnose him one, two, or four days earlier, might he have survived? We will never know.”
“If we had been educated, perhaps it might have made a difference.”
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