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Kidney Infection
Karen Wheeler

Margaret Wheeler received a good Christmas present in 1962 -- her 4 month old daughter, Karen, came home from a week-long stay at Children’s Hospital.

While visiting family in Birmingham for Christmas, Margaret noticed Karen was running a fever. Since they were away from Karen’s normal pediatrician in their home state of Florida, Margaret took her to a pediatrician in Birmingham. The pediatrician gave her medicine, but it didn’t help. The fever continued to climb. When Margaret called the pediatrician back, he said to give her a tap water enema. That would work for awhile, but never permanently, and the fever continued to come back. The pediatrician then told Margaret to take off her clothes and put her in a sink of tap water. When Margaret did that, Karen had a convulsion. The pediatrician then said to take her to the Children’s Hospital emergency room.

In the emergency room, Karen was diagnosed with a kidney infection and a high fever. She was then admitted to the hospital. Her fever was so high that the nurses put ice in rubber gloves and put them around her body to cool her off. They packed her in ice for a few days, and the fever went down. Nurses also gave her shots in her side and watered-down tea and coke to drink – but no milk.

Karen continued to improve and got to go home on Christmas Day. Margaret received a surprise when she went to pick her up though – she wasn’t in her room! Santa Claus was parading her around the hospital and showing her off.

Margaret recalls the care that Karen received. She remembers the nurses being very attentive to Karen’s needs. She said, “They watched her like a hawk.” She also remembers the student nurses coming by and paying special attention to Karen.

Although Karen’s short stay at Children’s Hospital was a long time ago, Margaret still thinks highly of the hospital. “It’s been a long time since I’ve had dealings with them, but I would highly recommend them,” Margaret said.
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