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The personal journal of technology journalist and conference speaker Randall S. Newton.

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Thursday, February 17, 2005

Rennie McCormick Medical Update

Starting today, for as long as is needed, I am going to use my personal blog to provide news about Rennie McCormick. Here's an edited version of the email I wrote today to several friends and family:

Dear friends and family,
Last week Rennie McCormick had upper back surgery to repair chronic injury (very similar to the operation he had in 1999). The early days of his recovery did not go well. He had the stomach flu, and needed to go to the clinic for IV fluids, due to dehydration caused by the flu.

Last night he was taken to Wenatchee via ambulance due to more extreme complications. He has been diagnosed with meningitis, and is on IV drug therapy as well as strong pain relief -- meningitis causes extremely painful headaches.
Please pray for Rennie, and for Janine and the kids. The kids will be staying with us, at least through the weekend or until things are closer to normal. Janine had the stomach flu yesterday, and hopes to be well enough today to go to Wenatchee to be with Rennie.
Here's something I got off the web about the illness; I'll try to find out whether Rennie's version of the disease is bacterial or viral.

What is meningitis?

Meningitis is an infection of the fluid of a person's spinal cord and the fluid that surrounds the brain. People sometimes refer to it as spinal meningitis. Meningitis is usually caused by a viral or bacterial infection. Knowing whether meningitis is caused by a virus or bacterium is important because the severity of illness and the treatment differ. Viral meningitis is generally less severe and resolves without specific treatment, while bacterial meningitis can be quite severe and may result in brain damage, hearing loss, or learning disability. For bacterial meningitis, it is also important to know which type of bacteria is causing the meningitis because antibiotics can prevent some types from spreading and infecting other people. Before the 1990s, Haemophilus influenzae type b (Hib) was the leading cause of bacterial meningitis, but new vaccines being given to all children as part of their routine immunizations have reduced the occurrence of invasive disease due to H. influenzae. Today, Streptococcus pneumoniae and Neisseria meningitidis are the leading causes of bacterial meningitis.


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