Skip to comments.Boy's recovery defies explanation
Posted on 08/03/2007 7:56:51 AM PDT by NYer
It has been nearly a month since members of the Jeppi family gathered in the living room of their Baldwin home to pray for 12-year-old Sal, who had been suffering from headaches so severe they left him unable to walk.
Sal's father, for whom he is named, was in the living room, with its brick fireplace and high ceiling. So were his mother, Denise; his sister, Ashley, 10; and other relatives.
An uncle, Darren Upham, led the prayer -- as young Sal recalled, "just that I would get healed."
Sal felt what he called "a warm, tingly feeling" that didn't strike him as extraordinary. Then he and his parents drove to their appointment with the director of pediatric neurology at Johns Hopkins Hospital in Baltimore.
To appreciate how that trip ended, however, it helps to know how it began.
Sal, then a fifth-grader and a member of the basketball team at St. Ursula School in Parkville, was diagnosed in February with pneumonia and treated with antibiotics.
Before long, "I started getting dizzy. I started getting headaches," Sal recalled.
In early March, he was back to see his pediatrician, Kozo Murakoshi, in White Marsh.
"He couldn't walk right. He was wobbly," Murakoshi recalled, describing a condition known as ataxia.
Murakoshi sent Sal to Franklin Square Hospital in Rosedale, and to Sinai Hospital in Baltimore, where he had a magnetic-resonance imaging exam and a spinal tap, and where he was diagnosed with mycoplasma pneumonia, a bacterial infection that can cause inflammation in the brain.
Sal stayed at Sinai for seven days; then went home. On Easter Sunday, April 8, he suffered an attack of vomiting brought on by the pain.
His parents rushed him back to Sinai, where he stayed four days, getting another MRI and another spinal tap, then took him to the University of Maryland Medical Center, also in Baltimore, for a six-day stay.
At Maryland, Sal got one more MRI and one more spinal tap, his father said. (The doctor who saw him, Jack Gladstein, was not available for comment.)
As his headaches lessened in severity, Sal was released from the hospital. In May, he first saw Jamie Turner, a physical therapist at Towson Sports Medicine in Towson.
"I was worried about him," she said. "I just saw this nice kid kind of deteriorating."
Sal went to Philadelphia to see another specialist. At Maryland, he had his fourth spinal tap.
"After that, I couldn't walk," he said.
Sal's father felt his faith being tested, he said, but the praying didn't stop.
"We had everyone we knew praying: friends of ours; pastors my husband was close to," said Denise Jeppi, who interrupted her nursing studies at the Community College of Baltimore County-Essex to take care of Sal full time.
In honor of the courage he showed, Sal was invited to St. Ursula in early June to accept an award.
The ceremony was silent, because Sal said he couldn't bear any noise. To show their support, 700 people simply stood and waved their hands for Sal, who arrived in a wheelchair.
On July 3, Sal and his parents concluded their family prayer and went to see Dr. Harvey Singer at Johns Hopkins.
They said Singer, who declined to be interviewed for this article, told them Sal needed surgery to install a shunt to take pressure away from his brain.
While his father was wheeling him back to the car, Sal said, the tingling feeling returned.
He told his father he wouldn't need the operation, that Jesus would heal him.
"Then I told my mom, 'My headache is gone, after five months," Sal said.
Reaching the car, he stood up; reaching home, he headed straight for the pool. Within days, he went to see his therapist, who has not had to treat him again.
His pediatrician, who saw Sal in late July, said he could not explain his recovery.
"He is a fine, smiling, walking, totally normal, healthy child -- so it's like a miracle," Murakoshi said.
St. Ursula's principal, Sister Joan Kelly, agrees.
"Through it all, Sal would say, 'Jesus is going to heal me,' " Kelly said. "I think Sal was right."
It’s a miracle!
The very definition of faith.
Awesome. Just awesome.
Bless God for this testimony of his work in the world.
Warm and tingling. That’s it NYer... miracle. My youngest as well.
This could reduce health care costs.