Recent reports of tuberculosis cases in a local high school dredged up memories of a time this disease paid a visit to the college I attended …
Word spread through the hallways of the dorm: “Lacy’s sick, and she won’t be back for a while.”
We assumed that our friend, who’d gone home for a few days, had the flu or a stomach bug.
But Lacy, who lived directly across the hall from me during our senior year at Mississippi University for Women, didn’t return very quickly – in fact, it was weeks before we saw her again.
Diagnosed with active tuberculosis, Lacy was sent to Memphis to recuperate at a hospital, isolated from friends and family during what should have been one of the best times of her life. TB took its toll on Lacy – and on the people around her.
Those of us who lived in close proximity found ourselves at the county health department on a regular basis – for TB skin tests and chest x-rays. Like many young people in the U.S., I’d taken my health for granted, and, all of a sudden, I realized I was vulnerable. Luckily, no one else developed active TB, and Lacy eventually returned – to school and to good health. (more…)