Lost his son, Michael | Virginia

My son Michael Sean Hodges died from Bacterial Meningitis on May 9, 2009. He developed a severe headache on Wednesday, suffered though it on Thursday, trying but failing to stay at work both days. On Friday morning at 4am, he asked my daughter (his sister) to take him to the Emergency Room. He was there for about five hours while they took a CAT scan and diagnosed a “raging sinus infection”. The medical pros gave him pain medication and some antibiotics, and then sent him home, even though HE did not want to go. My daughter said that her brother was crying from the pain. My son RARELY ever cried so the pain must have been intense. My daughter took her brother home to the apartment they shared. She called me at work to let me know that Mike was being treated at the ER for a sinus infection. A few hours later, they called to tell me that he was being transported by EMT to the ER again and was non-responsive to them.

I drove to the hospital and a new doctor was on duty in the ER. He told us that he suspected meningitis and wanted to transport him by air ambulance to the local trauma center for a spinal tap, so that with his unstable condition there would be a qualified neurosurgeon available.

We agreed for his transport by helicopter to the larger hospital and trauma center. We drove there and arrived around 3 pm. My son was in the ER Trauma Center, and they informed us that he was a very sick man and the next 24 hours would be critical. Some of his friends began arriving at the hospital to wait with us.

They transferred Mike to the hospital’s Neurological Intensive Care Unit at six pm.

We were allowed in to visit him after they got him prepared. He was intubated for breathing, and other machines were there working to keep his vital signs going. He was totally comatose at that point and had been since earlier in the day.

We all kept a vigil at his room and in the NICU waiting room along with many of his friends who had heard about his condition.

At 10 pm the NICU physician came to us and told us that Mike had suffered brain damage and would most likely not be the same person we had known. Just as that shock was settling in on us, the neurosurgeon came to us at 10:30pm and told us that Mike’s brain has swollen to the extent that his brain stem had been pushed down into his neck and he was brain dead.

We kept Mike on the machines until his mother could be flow up from Florida to visit with her son.

We had the machines removed once the hospital ran a comprehensive battery of tests to confirm that my son had truly died. We were with him when the machines were removed and a couple of minutes later, my son’s body shut down completely.

Mike was 44 years old at his death. He got sick on Wednesday, he died on Friday, officially on Saturday.

Mike was a wonderful person, loving, caring, helpful. At his memorial service, over 200 people came to honor his memory from all across the country and even from Bermuda.

My son will be missed by all who knew and loved him. But he will be missed most of all by myself and his mother. Parents should not lose a child to death. It is far, far too painful for the heart and soul.

My son is gone, but he is still with us in spirit. And he has seen the face of God.

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