Woman diagnosed with West Nile urges others to get tested
by Noel Brennan
TEMPLE - As the number of cases of West Nile Virus continues to rise across Central Texas, one woman diagnosed with the disease is sharing her story and urging others to get tested.
Flo Deibert has been watering her mother-in-law's garden ever since she passed away, but her son has had to take over the job for the past three weeks. Thursday afternoon was the first time Deibert watered the garden herself since she was diagnosed with West Nile.
"I've been trying so hard to keep her plants alive," said Deibert, hose in hand.
Just days before, Deibert had trouble even getting out of bed. She had a rash that covered her face and upper body, a splitting headache and a fever, at one point, that reached 105 degrees.
"I was achy, felt kind of like I had the flu, but amp it up like ten times," Deibert explained.
Deibert's husband, Clay, eventually rushed her to the Emergency Room of Scott and White Hospital in Temple. A urinalysis and x-ray showed she had a bladder infection. Doctors gave her antibiotics and let her go, but Deibert's symptoms persisted. Days later, she decided to see her own physician.
"He ran a ton of blood work and I came back positive for West Nile," Deibert said.
Deibert is just one of 43 people in Bell and McLennan counties to be diagnosed with West Nile Virus this summer. Of those cases, two people have died. Milam County confirmed their very first case of West Nile Thursday afternoon.
Flo Deibert knows she is one of the lucky ones, and now she wants to spread the word about how important it is to get tested.
"Follow your gut," Deibert said. "If it don't feel right, have it checked."
Deibert is feeling better and is just starting to get her energy and appetite back. She's once again tending to her mother-in-law's garden, and although it's still a bit dry, it won't be for long.
For more information on West Nile, visit the CDC website at www.cdc.gov.
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