MT. VERNON — A riveting testimony of faith and courage was presented by bi-lateral amputee Loretta Goebel at Friday's annual Mt. Vernon Prayer Breakfast.
Goebel was diagnosed with strep toxic shock on Dec. 11, 2001, following a freak accident when she injured her hand in a rush to answer the front door. Only 20 percent of those who contact strep toxic shock survive, Goebel reported.
"That blunt trauma is what changed my life forever," she said. "I had a crack in my thumb. I babied that crack. I put lotion on my hands, antibacterial cream, and wore socks to bed so I wouldn't get any more cracks. But what I didn't know on that Tuesday morning was that harboring inside was a strep germ."
Goebel was still not feeling well later in the week, eventually visiting her family physician, who treated her with influenza fluids and bed rest. On Sunday, she was awakened by a severe pain in her arm.
A visit to the emergency room resulted in an intravenous antibiotic, pain medication and prescriptions for oral antibiotics.
As a result, she missed a Christmas program at her church that evening. Her then husband, Wally, took children Mitch and Melissa to church and passed on his narration part to another parishioner and returned home.
"I had no idea of the severity of my health at that moment," she said, noting that she fell to her knees in a bathroom. "I didn't know that death was right around the corner, but arising at the emergency room the second time that day, my blood pressure was 40 over 20 and I had no registering body temperature."
After several tests, Goebel was taken to a larger medical facility. Her husband told her to fight and Goebel gave her husband a thumbs up.
"They pumped 70 pounds of fluid on my body to keep pressure on my internal organs as my kidneys and liver are failing. I am hooked up to life support and unresponsive to my kids' touch and unable to hear about the Christmas program," she recalled.