Hope... Page 2



Journal of Martha's Memories:  December 1973

There is something wrong with Jud.  Call it mother's intuition.   Call it whatever you'd like.  But please listen to me. There is something very wrong with our son.

Eleven years ago, Elton and I had another son.  He, too, was born strong and healthy, just like Jud.  He was, as the doctors told us, perfect in every way.  But something was wrong.

Elton III developed a cough that he just couldn't seem to shake.   His condition worsened, and the pediatrician suspected congenital heart disease.   We took him to Texas Children's Hospital where he was examined by Dr. Dan McNamara, pediatric cardiologist.  Dr. Denton Cooley's conclusions was that Elton III had a blockage in the aorta, and that surgery could repair it.  He scheduled the operation.   Further medical tests, however, revealed that instead of a heart problem, our son apparently had a serious lung condition.  As the physicians evaluated his condition and began developing a protocol to treat him, his condition worsened and he died.   The diagnosis:  Pneumocystis carinii - a rare form of pneumonia. 

Elton and I were told to go home, rest, and begin our family again.   We were reassured that this was just one of those sad things that happen, and that there was no reason to believe that it would ever happen again.

We followed their advice and over the next decade our family grew a we welcomed three beautiful, healthy daughters into our lives - Rosemary, Ainsley, and Allison.  They developed normally, and helped to reassure us that Elton III's death had indeed been just "one of those things".

And then Judson Maxwell was born a month ago.  And I know that something is wrong with him.


Research Notes

Since 1952, when Ogden Bruton discovered agammaglobulinemia (the absence of gamma globulin proteins in the blood which are critical to immune function), researchers have identified over 50 forms of the genetically determined immunodeficiency.   Severe Combined Immunodeficiency (SCID) is the most severe of all of them.   Caused by diverse genetic origins, SCID is most simply characterized by an absence of essential T- and B-cell function within the immune system.  These specific cells mediate the body's ability to recognize foreign organisms and chemicals in order to prevent disease.  SCID infants carry only the immunity transferred to them from their mothers during pregnancy.  Once born, they gradually lose their ability to fight off disease and, without medical intervention will die by the age of one or two.  They are left with virtually no defense against infection.  The most famous SCID case is probably that of David Vetter, the so-called "bubble boy" who lived in isolation for thirteen years.


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