Tell Me a Story: Teen Who Feels No Pain Counts Her Blessings


[Maggie Zahneis] “Hi, I’m Maggie and I’m 14 years old.” [Bob Zahneis] “Hello, I’m Maggie’s dad Bob.” “Hey Maggie, why don’t you tell us about the first visit you made to Children’s.” [Maggie] “My first visit to Children’s was actually the day I was born, which was Christmas Day.” “And I spent my very first 38 days and nights here at Children’s in the NICU.” [Bob] “How come you were here so long?” [Maggie] “I have a very weird disorder.” “It’s called HSAN II, and that’s hereditary sensory and autonomic neuropathy, type II.” “I have a diminished sense of pain, temperature, touch. I don’t feel that like everyone else.” “And I don’t have reflexes.” [Bob] “A loss of sense of pain and reflexes doesn’t sound that bad, what’s the problem there?” [Maggie] “Well, I will say that shots are very easy for me,” “but the bad part is that I can be hurting myself and I won’t even know.” “One time I was in the bottom of the pool when I was a kid, and I was walking around,” “I scraped my foot on the bottom of the pool and I didn’t even know until my mom saw blood in the water,” “and got me out.” “And then I had to be in a wheelchair for several months because I didn’t heal, and I would just pound on my foot,” “and I wouldn’t know.” “I’ve had 14 surgeries here. One of the big ones was I had cochlear implants put in to both of my ears,” “and I also recently had a hip surgery.” “Even like the receptionists that I check in with, they’re all great, and everybody just treats me like an adult.” “They would talk to me and answer my questions, and not just my parents,” and that’s something I really appreciate.” “Definitely it’s had a huge impact on who I am, you know, because I’m not a normal kid like everyone else.” “I’m okay with that now. I used to not be, but I’m coming to terms with it,” “and Children’s has really helped with that.” “Truthfully, I wouldn’t be alive if it wasn’t for Children’s.”

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