Last week, one of my foster sisters went to the emergency room. She had been experiencing nausea, dizziness, and bruising for the past two weeks while at her mother's house, and neither she nor her mother told my foster parents about it.
R., my foster sister, and P., our foster father, waited in the ER for two hours. Finally, R. decided to walk to the bathroom by herself. When she came out, she collapsed. That finally got the attention of the staff.
A team from Hasbro Children's Hospital was sent down, and they rushed her to Providence. R. has been there for the past few days, while a series of tests have been performed.
They ruled out leukemia quickly. The doctors have been stumped as to what's wrong with her. That is, until today. They've diagnosed her with TTP--thrombotic thrombocytopenic purpura. TTP is a disease that "affects many systems of the body. The main feature of TTP is the formation of clumps of platelets (also known as thrombocytes) within the smaller blood vessels. (Platelets are formed in the bone marrow as tiny fragments of large cells called megakaryocytes, and play an important role in normal blood clotting.) In TTP there seems to be an abnormal interaction between the lining of blood vessels and the platelets which leads to the formation of tiny blood clots (thrombosis) and proliferation of the cells forming the blood vessel walls. Patches of purplish discolouration appear because of damage to the vessels and the blood within them, hence the inclusion of ‘purpura’ in the name. These changes occur with only minimal inflammation but they are serious because they result in hemolytic anaemia (the red blood cells disintegrate), neurological symptoms, renal disease, and fever."
It can be fatal. They say that there's a good chance that the plasma replacement will work, but the treatment may kill her.
R. is only fifteen years old.