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Facebook Just Unveiled A New Dating Service

Posted: 02 May 2018 08:01 AM PDT

Facebook launching online dating service

You’ll be able to find your next romantic partner on Facebook in the future. The social media giant announced on Tuesday its plans for a dating service during its annual conference.

“This is going to be for building real long-term relationships, not hookups,” Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg said during the announcement. Um, okay, there is a lot to unpack with that statement. The two most obvious being: why and how does the company plan on ensuring relationships formed via Facebook are long-term? And why would a tech company care? Since Facebook had a lot of new features to discuss, Zuckerberg didn’t clarify his comments or release too much additional information during his presentation. But following it, the company shared some details on the new dating service.

“We're building a feature for dating and relationships within the Facebook app. People already use Facebook to meet new people, and we want to make that experience better,” the company shared on its blog. It’s a good point. We spend so much time on Facebook that there are now countless think pieces on why we need social media breaks. The blog post went on to describe what the dating tool might entail: “People will be able to create a dating profile that is separate from their Facebook profile — and potential matches will be recommended based on dating preferences, things in common, and mutual friends. They'll have the option to discover others with similar interests through their Groups or Events.”

It’ll be interesting to see how the experiment works out. I tried Match.com more than 10 years ago when almost nobody trusted online dating and those of us who were brave enough to try it typically lied about it since no one else was into it. And I’ve always considered Facebook the social media tool to keep track of friends and family. But as we move more of our lives online, it makes sense that one platform would host most of our online social interactions. Plus, there is good money in online dating. About $3 billion in revenue is made annually in online dating, Mashable reported. And that is just in the United States.

Although the company didn’t release many details about the dating service, they did say: “what people do within the dating feature will not be shown to their friends.” So we don’t have to worry about grandma or our boss seeing our dating deets. Facebook will start testing the new service later this year. It’s unclear when it will be available to all users so don’t delete Tinder just yet.

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Nicole Richie’s Daughter Drew The Most LOL-Worthy Portrait Of Her

Posted: 02 May 2018 06:50 AM PDT

Somehow Nicole Richie’s daughter knows what all moms are like at bedtime

You know how kids have that uncanny ability to just completely humble us anytime we think we’ve got this whole parenting thing down? It’s like, the thing they do best. Take Nicole Richie’s daughter for example — she recently drew her mom a lovely, uh, “portrait.”

And it’s so spot-on to how all of our kids see us, it’s impossible not to laugh when you see it.

Richie and husband Joel Madden are parents to 10-year-old Harlow and eight-year-old Sparrow. Harlow, however, clearly inherited her mother’s creative genes (Richie is the creative director of House of Harlow 1960, her own fashion company).

Instagram Photo

“My daughter drew a picture of me last night. Happy Monday!” LOL. Have you ever seen a more “Monday” appropriate sketch of a person in your entire life? As if the stern eyebrows, wild eyes, and pursed lips weren’t enough, the “just go to bed!” portion really seals the deal on how pretty much all kids see their moms.

Just gotta own it, I guess, right? At least Richie’s brows are on-point here. The whole thing is just friggin’ hilarious all around.

Instagram Photo

Look, there is no bigger struggle than bedtime in any given household with children. Suddenly one kid needs water, another kid is asking for Goldfish, then someone else has to pee (again). And all of this happens as soon as that magic bedtime hour hits, like clockwork.

If bedtime isn’t a shitshow at your house, we can’t be friends.

Instagram Photo

Right now, it’s almost nine o’clock and my toddler has convinced me she’s in desperate need of chocolate milk, Play-Doh, and oh yeah — her “piggy toes need painted.”

Wild eyes? Check. Pursed lips? Check. Deep, heaving sigh of capitulation because I’m easily manipulated? Double check.

So yeah: JUST GO TO BED. It’s every mom’s nighttime mantra and Harlow nailed it.

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7 Rules For The Neighborhood Kids

Posted: 01 May 2018 06:00 PM PDT

Growing up, my house was a popular hang out spot. It was en route to many of my friend’s houses from school. My parents were very social people and had frequently hosted their own friends throughout my childhood, so it was a natural progression for them to let our friends come over a lot as my sister and I got older. Plus, I think they liked knowing our social circles—who we spent time with, what types of kids we were choosing to befriend, etc. So on any given afternoon or Saturday night, there were a few extra kids milling about in our living room, kitchen, backyard, and pool, and everyone usually got along just fine.

My parents didn’t have a ton of rules, but the one thing they demanded was respect.

It covered most of the bases with having kids over—respect our home, our property, yourselves, and each other. And now that my kids are inviting their friends over, I find myself operating under that same philosophy. I like having my kids at home, knowing where they are, and who they hang out with. I don’t mind noise, or a little dirt. If you dump out a bucket of Legos, eh, I’m not worried. Drag every single item of dress-up clothes out of the bin to put on a fashion show? That can be cleaned up. And unless you just went hiking through an animal farm, I probably won’t freak out too much if you forget to take off your shoes.

But disrespect? That’ll get your butt tossed to the curb quicker than you can say Minecraft, little buddy.

Therefore, under the giant umbrella of “Don’t be a little shit when you are in my house or yard,” here’s how that gets broken down.

1. Be kind.

If I hear you bossing other kids around or ripping toys out of their hands or hitting others with baseball bats, it ain’t gonna work out. Now, I know my kids aren’t angels either. And if they exhibit this behavior, you’ll probably have to go home and happy play time will be over. I don’t tolerate unkindness from any kids in my house. Take turns. Share. Don’t poke each other’s eyes out with sticks. You know, the general rules of human decency.

2. Have a little common sense and show some respect that this is our home.

Growing up, I would never have entered my friends’ parents’ bedroom, or a fancy home office with important papers on the desk. It clearly wasn’t a place to play. Kids, stay out of my bedroom. There are no Barbies or video games in here. OUT. If I say “Don’t climb on the patio table,” or “Don’t touch that electric drill that’s on the top shelf in the garage” then don’t climb on the fricking patio table or touch the electric drill on the top shelf in the garage.

Play video games. Or air hockey. Throw a ball around. Take a bike or skateboard out for a spin. Play with anything that’s an actual toy for children. I’m happy to dole out Band-Aids and ice packs, but I don’t need broken bones and excessive bloodshed. My three kids fill that quota already.

3. If I say play outside, get your butt outside.

It might be because I’m working and have a deadline. Or it’s muddy in the yard and I don’t want that shit tracked through my carpet. Or I just want a hot minute with no one climbing up my ass crack asking for fruit snacks. We have a huge yard, swing set, giant bin of water guns, and I’ll even throw some snacks on the patio. Look, my kids were kicked out too—see them over there? Equal love for all!

4. Get out of my pantry.

I am happy to feed you. It’s why we buy our snacks at Costco. But I’ll decide what the choices are. Since the kids in this house are 9, 7, and 5, we are still in the throes of fruit snacks, popsicles, apple slices, and goldfish crackers. I will put out various plates/bowls of snacks for you all whenever you are hungry. And I anticipate as you all get older, I’ll stock a cabinet and fridge in the basement and say, “Help yourself,” but even then, I’ll decide what goes in those cabinets and in that fridge. Momma’s chocolate-covered blueberries ain’t on the list. Don’t be rummaging through my kitchen and helping yourself. If you’re hungry, just ask.

5. Go home when I tell you to go home.

And don’t ring my doorbell 96 times if I tell you it’s not a good day to come over. 75-85% of the time, I’ll open the door and say, Sure! Come on in. Once in a while, however, it’s just not a good day. Maybe my 5-year-old is a hot mess and I cannot handle another small person in my midst right now. Maybe I have a pounding headache and told my kids to go zone out on screens and not say the word “Mommy” for the next hour. Maybe I’m spring cleaning. (HA! I’m not, but you don’t know.)

And if I do say come on in, understand that there’s a shelf life on that invite. When I’m ready for you to hightail your little butt out of here, read my signal. It usually sounds something like this: “Thanks for coming over! It’s time to go home. Bye-bye!” See? I’m not vague. You’re welcome.

6. Don’t steal my kids’ shit.

I get that you kids all love to swap Pokemon cards and Shopkins and Hatchimals. If it’s a fair trade and all parties are on board, cool. But if I see you sneak something in your pocket on your way out, that’s probably the nail in the coffin for future invites unless you fess up and give it back. I get it—other kids have cooler stuff. My kids have tried to stuff things in their pockets themselves a couple times. You can come back over tomorrow and play with that nerf gun again. But it lives here, with its 982 nerf brothers and sisters. In our basement. Mkay?

I think that’s pretty much it. You can be loud, you can play with our stuff, and eat our food. Just don’t be an asshat and I think we’ll get along fine.

Oh wait, one more:

7. Mind your bathroom manners.

If you need to pee or poop, feel free. But please aim that little pecker, flush, and wash your hands. My kids are gross enough, so I don’t need to be wiping pee off of the floor from the rest of the neighborhood boys.

See you kids tomorrow! Love, Mrs. J in the brick house at the end of the street.

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Why You Need To Talk To Your Teens About STDs, And How To Do It

Posted: 01 May 2018 06:00 PM PDT

As a parent, you probably spend a lot of time talking to your teen about how to prevent situations that could put them in harm's way. But there's probably one topic that you aren't discussing: risk of sexually transmitted diseases (STDs).

And that lack of dialogue may be putting their future at risk.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), cases of STDs are at an all-time high, with more than two million cases of chlamydia, gonorrhea and syphilis reported in the United States in 2016. And those statistics don't tell the whole story. Young men and women aged 15–24 years acquire half of all new STDs, with 1,008,403 new cases of chlamydia and 218,302 new cases of gonorrhea reported in 2016 for this age group alone. And one in four sexually active adolescent females has an STD, such as chlamydia or human papillomavirus (HPV).

Although treatments are available, people often don't know they have an STD unless they are tested. I diagnose patients every week with chlamydia, syphilis, and HPV who have no symptoms and no idea they are infected. Unfortunately, STDs can cause chronic (and often painful) pelvic inflammatory disease, and, in the case of HPV, cervical cancer. STDs can also cause infertility. In fact, a woman becomes infertile due to an STD every 30 minutes.

A new survey suggests that false beliefs about STD risk, and miscommunication between females 15-24 years of age and their mothers – and even their doctors — may be factors behind the record highs in sexually transmitted diseases.

Commissioned by Quest Diagnostics, the survey polled young women (15-24 years), mothers of young women in this age group, and primary care, OB/GYNs and other specialty physicians regarding sexual behavior, sexual health, and knowledge of and screening for STDs. The survey looked at young women because the CDC guidelines recommend that doctors screen any sexually active woman 25 years of age or younger at least once a year for chlamydia and gonorrhea – even if they don't have symptoms. Yet, young women continue to be at heightened risk of these and other STDs.

The findings suggest many young women are at high risk for a STD, but they don't seem to be aware of it. According to the survey, more than half of young women between the ages of 15-24 say they are sexually active. Yet, only 39 percent of these women used a condom the last time they had sex. Only about half (56%) of sexually active young women say they've been tested for an STD. Sixty-two percent of those who haven't been tested say it's because they "don't feel at risk."

While these findings are specific to young women, the survey also showed that mothers and fathers can do more to help their sons and daughters reduce their risk of STDs.

For one thing, parents may not be fully informed about their sons' or daughters' sexual activity. While 56% of young women report that they are sexually active, only 47% of mothers believe their daughter is sexually active. The first thing parents can do, therefore, is acknowledge that their son or daughter may be sexually active, even if they claim otherwise, regardless of age. The average age that the American young man and woman become sexually active is about 17 years old – meaning it could be years earlier, or years later.

Parents may also want to consider the possibility they aren't communicating clearly or frequently enough about sexual behavior and STDs. The Quest survey found that most mothers feel they are very direct with their daughters when they talk about sex — eight out of ten mothers say they and their daughters have discussed risk of STDs (88%), having safe sex (86%), using birth control (86%), going to an OBGYN (84%), or delaying sexual activity until over the age of 18 (82%).  Yet, only one in three (33%) of young women say their mothers have talked to them about these issues. And it is likely that conversations about sexual health with young men are equally as infrequent.

In an ideal world, every primary care physician would offer chlamydia and gonorrhea testing for all asymptomatic female patients age 25 and under – unfortunately, this doesn't always happen. Maybe the conversation doesn't happen due to time constraints, or lack of education on the subject. The bottom line: only 75% of primary care doctors in this study said they would offer STD testing to asymptomatic women in the target group. Unfortunately, one of the reasons cited was the feeling they were uncomfortable about discussing STD risk with their patients.

There are three simple ways to overcome the communication barrier and help keep your teen or young adult safe.

First, talk to your teenager about his/her sexual health. Let them know that it's very important to protect themselves from the risk of infection by using condoms and asking potential sexual partners to get tested as well before sexual intimacy. Ask your daughters and sons to be completely honest with their healthcare team, and in the case of young women, to ask to be screened for STDs every year.

You can also help keep your teens and young adults safe by making sure they are vaccinated for HPV to help prevent cervical cancer. According to the CDC, HPV causes 30,700 cancers in men and women every year. HPV vaccination can prevent about 28,000 of the cancers from occurring. All children (male and female) who are 11 or 12 years old should get two shots of HPV vaccine 6-12  months apart (certain individuals with compromised immune systems and adolescents who receive their two shots less than five months apart will require a third dose of HPV vaccine). And all women age 21-65 should be screened for cervical cancer (Pap Smear) every three years.

Two, if your son or daughter is a teenager, talk to their physician. The physician may not know if you want your son or daughter screened for STDs, and your teen may be too uncomfortable to be that direct with the doctor. Let the physician know that you want your teen screened annually for STDs according to medical guidelines.

Three, consider letting your teen speak one-on-one with the doctor. No matter how open you are with your teen about sexual health and even if you let your teen's doctor know that you are supportive of STD testing, letting your teen speak privately with a doctor allows them to foster a positive relationship and have candid, important conversations.

Open, candid dialogue about STD risk may be one of the most important things you as a parent can do to safeguard your teen's future health — and ensure an optimal path to parenthood.

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When Your Spouse Struggles With Depression

Posted: 01 May 2018 06:00 PM PDT

I've struggled with depression for as along as I can remember. It is, more or less, a cornerstone of my life. And things only got more complicated when I was 19 and started to struggle with obsessive compulsive disorder.

My wife, on the other hand, has never dealt with any of these issues. In fact, it's unusual not to see her smile. She has the simplest, softest grin, almost like a joker's smile. It was part of the reasons I was so attracted to her. She held such a lightness to her, a sweetness that contrasted my own struggles with depression and anxiety that I couldn't help but feel warm when around her.

But that juxtaposition between someone with depression, and someone who has never experienced it, can be a stark contrast. After 14 years together, I still don't think Mel really understands my struggle. But you know what? That's okay, because she has learned how to help me manage it, much like someone married to a person with diabetes or high blood pressure.

Because honestly, that's the reality of depression and anxiety. It's something that must be managed with medication and action, just like any other long-term medical condition.

But the fact is, it's a learning process for both partners. If you are married to someone who struggles with depression, here are a few tips we’ve picked up over the years that have made our marriage work.

1. It's not you.

It's almost never you. If your spouse is quiet, sleepy, or withdrawn, most likely you didn't do a thing. Your spouse is struggling with an emotional dip. It doesn't mean that you started it or that you can necessarily fix it. What it means is that your spouse is trying to keep going, and social interaction is almost too much to handle, so they are pulling back a bit until it passes. Give them the space they need.

2. Even though you might not understand depression, that doesn't mean it's not normal.

Think of the diabetic example I used above. Depression really is no different. Would you ever ask someone who is diabetic if they really need to take medication every day to feel normal? Or if they really need to lie down when they don't feel well? Depression is a medical condition that takes care and constant maintenance. Don't think of it as something your spouse can just snap out of. Instead, acknowledge their struggle as legitimate, support them, and ask how you can help.

3. You can't fix your spouse’s depression, but you can encourage them to seek out qualified help.

Last year, work and life stress hit me pretty hard, and I had a significant breakdown. My wife came home to find me in bed. I'd been sent home from work. All of it was pretty embarrassing, which only made the depression worse. And yet, I was reluctant to see a therapist for help. Mel didn't try to fix it, although she did hold me for a while. What she did do was push me to see a therapist. And every time I tried to quit, she encouraged me to keep going. Now that I'm back to my functioning self, I know that it was the best thing she could have done for me.

4. Sometimes it's best to give your partner space.

There have been times when all I want is to be alone for a bit. And I know that ALL parents of small children want to be alone, but when someone is struggling with depression being alone can really be the only way to reset your emotions.

5. Depressed people often sleep a lot.

I know, sleep in marriage can be currency. Particularly when children are young. But you have to understand that living with depression and anxiety can often feel like acting. It takes twice the effort of normal living to act like you are happy and functional version of yourself, when inside, you really aren't.

6. Realize that even in their darkest moments, your spouse still loves you.

I can't speak for all marriages here, but what I can say is that sometimes, when I'm in the throes of a serious depression stretch, Mel looks at me and I can tell she's wondering if the reason I am so off is because I'm falling out of love with her. I'm not. In fact, she is the light of my life. I'm just struggling in the moment.

Please realize that even when your spouse is in the midst of a particularly troublesome depression stretch, they are still the person you fell in love with. They might need some space to work through the situation. They don't need judgment or criticism. And they always need support, and love, and compassion.

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Sweet Tunes That Will Actually Get Your Baby To ‘Go The Bleep To Sleep’

Posted: 01 May 2018 06:00 PM PDT

Ah, bedtime: the twilight hour when drowsy babies everywhere are tucked lovingly into cribs and encouraged to drift into a peaceful slumber.

Only … they don't. Because babies have zero freaking idea what an amazing opportunity this is, and how we – their weary parents – would give anything to be in their position.

Babies just don't appreciate the value of sleep. They don't know how lucky they are that someone is providing them with a comfy bed and literally encouraging them to stay in it for as long as they can. They have no clue what they're taking for granted, being able to go to sleep without wrapping up this chore and that chore first, and then lying there for an hour pondering bills and schedules and oh crap I forgot to put the wet clothes in the dryer.

Instead, they rail against sleep with all their might, like it's some kind of punishment doled out by their sadistic caretakers – yet we're the ones who end up the most exhausted.

Enter Scary Mommy's Lullaby League, a singing competition with some of the toughest judges of all: bedtime-battling babies and the desperate parents who just want them to go. the bleep. to sleep.

In this gentle-but-ambitious race, hosted by Jim O'Heir of Parks and Recreation, various acapella groups use their honeyed harmonies to get these a-holes to ZZZZZ. The group who sends the babies to dreamland in the least amount of time will win a coveted recording contract. Now that's a bedtime victory.

Wanna recreate this soothing scenario at home (minus the group of musicians huddled in your hallway, of course)? Now any baby can have the benefit of an acapella serenade via the Lullaby League soundtrack (Season One: Soothe Operators), which is available now on iTunes and Spotify.

And, parents, we NEED this in our bedtime arsenal. After all, these tunes have been field-tested, proven to tranquilize even the most tenacious tots in mere minutes with their dulcet-toned melodies. With lyrics like "your mom's the best, let her rest," and "cut the crap, it's time to nap," these lullabies are as clever as they are calming – so we can enjoy them as much as our babies do.

Bonus: if you've got an Emma, Frida, Sky, or Grace, they'll hear their names in songs like "Sleepy Emma" and "Skybird." It's like getting them a personalized album. Best of all, the proceeds from iTunes go to March for Our Lives.

The Lullaby League soundtrack is music made by people who want our babies to go to sleep as much as we do – maybe even more. After all, their chance at a huge recording contract is riding on it. They're musicians on a mission, bringing out their best so we can get some rest.

How does it feel to be one click away from an easier bedtime? Fa-la-la-la-fabulous.

Download now on iTunes: https://itunes.apple.com/album/id1374099496?ls=1&app=itunes

Download now on Spotify: https://open.spotify.com/album/0ukPD2TwYeoK6yCtpWKRye?si=mSKHEV5iT0aGKfvuldBoKw

Be sure to catch new episodes of Lullaby League every Wednesday at 8pm EST on Scary Mommy's YouTube or Facebook, or on air at Pop TV.

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Trashy Romance Novels Kind Of Saved My Marriage

Posted: 01 May 2018 06:00 PM PDT

Real talk: If you are related to me or my husband, perhaps a former teacher or just generally someone who DOES NOT want to see me talk about sex, be ye warned.

I mean it. Stop reading! Get out of here, Dad.

Incoming awkward subject… But I know I cannot be the only one who would feel so much better if we all just acknowledged the big infertile elephant in the room. Infertility sex.

*womp, womp, womp*

It is a truth universally acknowledged that a stressed out infertile woman in possession of a stressed out infertile husband must be in mourning of her previous sex life.

Let’s just say it together, ladies. Infertility sex is crappy. Crappy, crappy, crappy. And how could it not be?

Because infertility owns you as a couple. It owns your sex life.

It decides when you do it. It decides when you don’t. It decides how many times you do it. It makes you do it when you’re pissed off at each other because, heaven forbid, you potentially sacrifice the month. It makes you do it when you’re snotty and hideous and the only thing in the world you want to do is pump yourself with Mucinex and fall asleep watching Netflix. It makes you do it when you are depressed. It’s the reason you are depressed.

When infertility says “jump” (into the sack), you say “which cycle days?”

It’s not fun. It’s not fulfilling. It’s not romantic. It’s not sexy. Not, not, not.

I am not sure there is any way around this kind of crappy infertility sex. Infertility is pretty much the perfect storm of crappy sex. Scheduled. Required. Emotionally exhausting.

Romance reading kept me from going bonkers. And not necessarily the way you might think. Okay, not totally the way you might think.

Romance reading reminded me, albeit via fictional characters, that somewhere out there in this big beautiful world there were people having sex just because they felt like it. Because it’s fun. Because it’s part of dynamic and connected relationship. Because it’s awesome.

And that would be us again one day. You know, when our daughter turned 18 and went off to college.

Kidding, kidding.

One way or another our secondary infertility was going to end. One day we were either going to have another baby or accept that we couldn’t. And when that happened we would be able to stop all of this madness and just be together again.

Romance reading during our infertility helped me remember my true relationship with my husband. Our connection. Romance reading yanked my head out of my fertility app and forced me to remember that intimacy isn’t just about procreation. Losing myself in a budding romance and watching that relationship grow into physical love and life-time commitment helped me to continue to believe in my own love story. It reminded me that no matter how excruciating infertility felt, we were going through it together. Hand in hand as it melted us down and welded us back together even stronger.

Romance reading refused to let me forget that one day my husband and I would be together just because we wanted to be. For no other reason than he is mine and I am his.

Infertility doesn’t own your relationship. It only feels that way. But it’s not going to feel that way forever. And if you have a hard time believing me, go read a romance novel.

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A Tick Bite Took My Husband’s Life

Posted: 01 May 2018 06:00 PM PDT

Here I am, sitting in a hotel room that my 50-year-old deceased husband bought with his Marriott points to take our daughter back to college. It has been almost a month since his sudden death, and being at his alma mater has really been difficult. Not only did he lead us with directions and reservations, but he led us with his infectious excitement towards the campus that he loved.

I am so lucky to have such an amazing family who not only accompanied me on this trip, but has been there for me and my kids in every way possible. However, it still does not diminish the feelings I have (and I am sure my children too) when we revisit the many places he talked about and shared with us.

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.

The worst part of this whole story is the reason why he passed away. He was healthy and getting in shape with diet and exercise and then suddenly he developed a fever. I have known him 26 years and he had only been sick twice, so it was a big deal for him to run a fever. This fever continued for several days without any other symptoms so he went to urgent care. He had been having drenching sweats – so bad he would have to change his clothes and bed sheets. Urgent care tested his urine and diagnosed him with a "raging kidney infection" and prescribed him antibiotics. The fever and sweats went away but he still felt weak and not well.

Several days later, he came home from work and said he was tired and didn't feel well. He was asleep half an hour after coming home and woke up once to tell me he vomited.

The next day, he went to work and called to tell me he felt awful and was going to the emergency room.

Me and my daughter met him there and his skin and eyes were completely yellow (jaundiced). After running some tests, they admitted him. They continued even more tests with no diagnosis and while he was there his health was deteriorating.

Within 12 hours after being admitted, he went from joking and talking to being in ICU on a ventilator. And still no diagnosis. All of the tests were coming back negative and his liver and kidneys were shutting down. The doctor told me he was in septic shock and that is was most likely from drinking alcohol. After three days in the ICU, and his liver belirubin rising, they transferred him to another hospital that specialized in liver malfunction.

The tests and questions started again while the doctors kept him stabilized. 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, that evening, a doctor came to me with a little hope – they had the diagnosis. He said his blood tested positive for Babesia – which is a tick-born illness that quickly attacks the red blood cells. Because my husband was asplenic, it is a very serious infection. They quickly gave him the correct antibiotic and transfused his blood to replace the infected cells with clean ones.

The following day he was showing small signs of improvement. His blood pressure was stabilized and his breathing was improving. The doctor told me that although my husband was not out of the woods, he was optimistic.

I went home feeling good for the first time since we took him to the ER six days prior. My children were excited to visit the next day as we were sure he had turned the corner.

When the doctor called me at 4:30 a.m. telling me to come to the hospital, I was in complete shock. My parents, mother-in-law, and I raced to be by his bedside to see him. He blood pressure was dropping and his heart was giving in. Within two hours, I watched my handsome husband of 23 years pass away.

Obviously, when someone young dies, it is a tragedy. That goes without saying. But this tragedy was senseless. 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.

My goal for writing this story is not to make people feel sorry for us, but to make more people aware of this parasitic infection. Especially people who no longer have their spleens or are somehow immune-compromised. If we had been educated, perhaps it might have made a difference.

Originally published on The Mighty

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