Maria Nazario’s son Jeremiah developed a low-grade fever just after his second birthday in October.
But as the fever got worse, Jeremiah’s parents realized he had something much more serious than a cold.
They took him to the hospital, where he tested positive for COVID and was diagnosed with multi-system inflammatory syndrome, or MIS-C — a serious condition linked to the coronavirus disease that causes organs to become inflamed.
“The swelling organs, blood clots, everything you can think of was happening to my son, my two-year-old son,” Nazario said.
Jeremiah was flown to the pediatric intensive care unit at Randall Children’s Hospital in Portland, but Nazario had to stay behind as she waited for her own COVID test results.
“That was probably the most heartbreaking part, because I knew they were taking my son to take care of him, but I didn’t know if he was going to come back home,” Nazario said.
As of April 1, just over 3,000 children have been diagnosed with MIS-C after testing positive for COVID-19, according to the CDC.
36 have died.
“The doctor did say it was pretty much like winning the lottery,” Nazario said. “That’s how rare of an occasion this could be, happening to a child. But at the same time, that was my child. My child was that one child.”
After three days in the ICU, Jeremiah returned home, but it would be months before he acted like his normal self again.
Nazario said he was at first too weak to walk at home while he was on a steady diet of steroids, blood thinners and aspirin.
“What happens if we were to get COVID again?” Nazario said. “Is he going to react the same way as before? What happens now? That’s my biggest fear.”
Nazario’s son appears fully recovered now, but Nazario hopes his story will be a reminder that, for some people, the worst-case scenario is a reality.
“My family is all vaccinated, grandparents are all vaccinated, and it’s because we felt the fear of losing someone,” Nazario said. “We’ve lost two people we cared about to COVID. It’s still scary to think of it. We know what the worst case scenario can be.”