Healing · Phoebe, MD: Medicine + Poetry · Podcasts · Prose · Publication · Writing

Hope Was Not a Loss: A Story About Measles Encephalitis

Phoebemd.com is publishing a series of articles based on another poetry podcast I did on Podbean. You have seen this story of mine before, and I will tell it until I am blue in the face if it saves lives. Kids need protection – we all do – from the measles.

Phoebe, MD: Medicine + Poetry

By Barbara Leonhard | Featured Health Story


In this article, I would like to share my story of how an illness I suffered as a child affected me. Particularly with the climate of today, I hope this will help inform people of the consequences that can develop in young children who are at risk of getting certain illnesses.

It was the summer of 1957, and it seemed to have happened all at once, where I turned from an active six-year-old girl to a helpless baby overnight. At that time, my family was living in Lewistown, Montana, where my dad was a Presbyterian minister. Mom was at home with three children, aged seven to four. That summer, all three of us contracted measles. But while my siblings’ illnesses took a more benign course, I developed a life-threatening complication: measles encephalitisa serious and potentially fatal inflammation of the brain…

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