There are four families in Bedford County who say they hope no one ever experiences what they’ve been through this last year with MISC-C (Multiple Inflammatory Syndrome-Myocarditis.)
Despite what they’ve been through during the pandemic, they say in hindsight that they feel blessed their children survived. Those families are Scott and Kerri Mosier, parents of Alex Mosier, 9; Erin and Josh Puckett, parents of son Cayden Puckett, 18, a senior at Shelbyville Central; Lansanna Young, parent of Jor’den (JoJo) Locke, age 8 and Haden Cox, 18, also a SCHS senior.
Recently, the parents revealed how confident they are now that this community pulls together when the going gets tough.
They said the hardest thing about the ordeal was the doctors telling them they just didn’t know what they were dealing with. The families do know there were four males from Bedford County—all athletes in some form or fashion— who were dealing with the same symptoms and were a few weeks post COVID-19 exposure.
That was their kids right here in this county.
“It’s more prevalent in males,” said Erin Puckett. “They’re trying to figure out why. Cayden never ran a high fever . . . never put in hospital for that. They think the steroids they gave him with COVID helped enough . . . not enough to make him well though.” Alex’s dad added, “That was also one of the things with college football . . . big risk of myocarditis. I didn’t put 2 and 2 together with things until we’re sitting in a hospital for a week, dealing with heart issues.”
They sigh relief now but are still sad their children suffered so. So are the folks at Penalties Sports Bar.
An event, “Four the Boys” Part II poker run, is being sponsored by Penalties, 1731 North Main, on Saturday, Aug. 28. This is nothing new, that is, for the folks there to do something to help others hurting in the community.
Penalties reaches out
In 2020, Penalties owners Rob and Shondelle Lewis, focused fundraising efforts on four boys whose mother was murdered. Their benefit raised almost $20,000.
The response was so great before, they are doing it again, Rob said. He said he was fortunate to obtain his thriving business and he will always for that reason give back to this community. This time the funds, which Penalties hope will amount to at least $20,000, will be divided between the families of the four boys.
The best way these parents know to describe recent months and all contained is literally like having visited hell and returned. They describe the events as being shocking, emotionally draining and fearful, simply because there’s not a lot of information available on this new illness. Most of all, this involved their sweet children—those they vowed to love and protect.
It was impossible, they said, to have protected them from this. For part of this year, there have been no ballgames or school events, but rather rounds of tests and massive shots. They’ve also participated in genetic tests.
Kerri Mosier, a local teacher, said son Alex collected fluid around his heart. She remembers distinctly it being five weeks following COVID-19 contraction that her son fell ill with MISC-C. She is concerned how there isn’t a mask mandate at the local schools.
She isn’t sure her son contracted it from school, but it is a good possibility. Her son also has autism. That was even more serious with all the sensory overload at the hospital.
JoJo’s mom said her son’s symptoms started with a stomach ache and a fever. From that point, it was downhill; she wasn’t sure JoJo, who had been a joyous child participating in local sports, would even survive. JoJo also had inflammation around his heart.
“I hope when we go back, that everything will be gone.” Cayden never had heart congestion, but did get the inflammation around the heart.
Erin Puckett, whose husband is the new football coach at Shelbyville Central, said everyone has different stories.
She almost cries, saying they’ve all been emotionally affected, though each story is a little different. She and JoJo’s mom hug throughout their discussions.
“I think that’s why I find this to be so grateful . . . thankful to Rob and Shondelle.”
The dreaded symptoms
The Pucketts did know that their son had COVID19, so she was able to watch for symptoms. Sadly, her son has some life-long health issues which came into play.
“We were kind of grateful when it didn’t attack his lungs . . . he’s had double pneumonia more times than I can count.” Still, how do parents really prepare for such a fast and furious type of illness-one which intends to invade the whole body.
“It started with a stomach issue,” said Kerri Mosier. “All three of my kids had a stomach issue . . . a lot of kids at school had stomach virus.”
The families share their appreciation that Penalties is raising funds for them, noting that months following their kids’ hospitalizations, they’re still paying out bills.
This illness, Erin Puckett says, is not for the faint of heart. She remembers days of merely existing because there was so much stress associated with this sickness. There were some days their children might be visited by 30 doctors at Vanderbilt, ranging from internists to cardiologists.
Haden, 18, in his senior year, also starting with a stomach virus, visited the emergency room several times. Then came the vomiting and the high fever. The illness took over then. The blessing, the parents reiterate, is their sons are now out of the hospital.
Though, they have no idea if they’re completely out of the woods yet, as could more side effects take place in their futures?
These are unknowns which worry these parents. Some of them haven’t eaten well, others have stressed so much that they’ve had mental and physical issues.
What is truly a blessing is that the boys, if all goes well, will be at the upcoming poker run to be congratulated on getting past this horrible ordeal. (See more info about this run on Penalties Facebook Page and in the second story in Tuesday’s edition.)
“Alex is actually participating in a study that Vanderbilt is doing,” said Kerri Mosier. “Also they’re looking at their genetics (Alex is a twin.)
The parents say they evidently crossed paths at different times during all their children’s illnesses. Now, they come together, sharing a lot of the same pain and frustrations—the not knowing and the constant testing and evaluation process—with one another.
Alex’s dad said he had never heard of MIS-C, that is, until his son’s fever when up to 104 degrees on April 21. It was thereafter they spent a lot of time and anguish in the corridors of Vanderbilt Medical Center.
Vanderbilt Medical Center continues to study this new and rare disorder.
Children who have experienced the rare and potentially life-threatening multisystem inflammatory syndrome are being followed closely in a multidisciplinary clinic at Monroe Carell Jr. Children’s Hospital at Vanderbilt.
MIS-C can cause different parts of the body to become inflamed, including the heart, lungs, kidneys, brain, skin, eyes or gastrointestinal organs, often resulting in hospitalization. Many of these children end up on mechanical ventilation support, ECMO (extracorporeal membrane oxygenation), and/or inotropic support to stabilize circulation and optimize oxygen supply. About one in 1,000 children who either have the virus or have been exposed to it, develop MIS-C.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, there have been 3,185 cases of MIS-C reported in 48 states since May 2020. About 50 children (from ages 5 months to 18) have been seen in the Children’s Hospital MIS-C clinic at Vanderbilt by a group of pediatric physicians representing the divisions of Infectious Diseases, Cardiology and Rheumatology.
“Most of the kids who have MIS-C do not have a significant initial COVID19 infection. Some didn’t even have symptoms but had either a known exposure with a family member or in the community,” said Anna Patrick, MD, PhD, assistant professor of Pediatrics in the Division of Pediatric Rheumatology.
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