My son suffered from Kawasaki syndrome just before his third birthday ["Jett Travolta and Kawasaki Syndrome," usnews.com]. It was a nightmare in which he was near death for days and unable to take in any food or water. His extremely high fever lasted eight days, and he was left so weak he couldn't walk for a month. For the next six months, he had his heart checked, and when they feared that one of his arteries was damaged, they performed an angiogram. Thankfully, my son recovered, albeit with asthma that seemed to come after he had Kawasaki syndrome. It is an extremely rare disease, but there seemed to be an outbreak that year when 15 to 20 cases were reported in the Bay Area. They didn't know what caused it then (1984), and I see little progress has been made. At that time, the only treatment was massive doses of aspirin. At no time, then or since, has a doctor ever suggested that Kawasaki would have affected his neurological health, so I really don't think Jett's problems stemmed from Kawasaki syndrome. I do know that once your child has Kawasaki, you never recover from the trauma.
Comment by Susan Reynolds of MA
First of all, I want to send my deepest sympathy to the Travolta family. I can't even begin to understand what you are going through. My son also had Kawasaki disease. As you know, this disease is not an easy one to deal with. As a single mom, we battled this for over 12 years. It was not an easy path for us, and not once did my son ever have seizures. I realize that the family will have long, hard, challenging times ahead of them, but with the family's love and their strong faith, they will make it through. God bless the Travolta family.
Comment by Lisa Overholt of CA
My youngest child has suffered with seizures from 15 months to age 5. They were life threatening as well, and anoxia from the seizures left her with acquired brain trauma. I truly understand the suffering and fear of parenting a special child like Jett. Today, my daughter is an active 13-year-old. Though struggling academically, she lives life to the fullest. Like Jett Travolta, I hope she will have a blessed and beautiful time as a teenager. I look into the eyes of this beautiful family and can see in their photos that John and Kelly adored their son! I feel awful for their loss; however, I am comforted to know that (by merely looking at them in their photos) their lives with Jett were lived to the fullest in the short time that he was with them. May they be blessed always!
Comment by Kathleen of AZ
Careers for the New Year
I have been employed as an occupational therapist for over 20 years now ["The 30 Best Careers for 2009," usnews.com]. I have never felt like I could practice only in one area. Choice and flexibility have always been at my beckon. I also teach in the field as a part-time faculty person and see the profession expanding in ways that never before existed. With the advent of a practicing doctorate degree, young graduates are truly able to leave school and hang the proverbial shingle (start a private practice). There are also many positions available in private clinics, schools, and healthcare settings. If one is able to go where the opportunities are (I moved from Connecticut to California for my first position), you can have your choice of fulfilling careers! These are tough times, but if one is willing to go to a program that will front tuition reimbursement (yes, they are out there and looking for strong students to help them grow), one can finish the degree in as little as two full-time years and have a strong, fresh start.
Comment by Heather of CA
I completely disagree with urban planning being a solid career choice for 2009. Half of the planners are working in the development field, which is laying off people left and right. Several of my colleagues have been laid off in the government and the private sector because of the downturn in development. Those with jobs are biting our nails and trying to figure out Plan B.
Comment by Colleen of AZ
I recently was hired as a veterinary assistant. I received on-the-job training and have no fears of being laid off. It's a pretty intense job and stressful at times, but I love working with animals. I'm thinking of going back to school to get my veterinary technician license. It's two years of schooling, but it's supposed to be one of the fastest growing fields in the United States.
Comment by Paula of CO
Wellness programs are never listed as the top satisfying jobs, but believe me, when the boomers hit retirement, they are going to want their yoga, organics, and nutritional support. Believe me, as a yoga teacher, these very simple preventative practices will help deter hip replacements, cancer, and a host of age-related diseases. I almost always feel that the mainstream business folks have no respect for wellness programs.
Comment by Linda of OK
There are thousands of openings for truck drivers in the United States. While it may not be glamorous, you can start out at between $40,000 and $50,000 a year, and a lot of companies will not only train you, they will pay you while you learn. I may not wear a suit or have a cushy office, but I made $81, 000 last year, and I am home every day.
Comment by Scott of WI
Life as a Librarian
The article presented a fairly accurate description of being a librarian ["Best Careers 2009: Librarian," usnews.com]. It's a great job—we get to help people and learn new things every day in the process. Being given the chance to learn and keep up with all sorts of trends—technology, literature, the job market, government policy—is an awesome part of my job! For those of you who are complaining about the salary, you must work for small libraries in lower-populated communities. Besides, no one lied to me when I entered graduate school—I knew exactly what to expect in a salary and made the choice to pursue the career. And as far as needing a graduate degree to enter into the field, that's a trend in most fields these days. I work for a large public library system in a large city and have moved into management. I now make about $70,000. Sure, other fields may pay me more to manage two buildings and 30 employees, but the job satisfaction wouldn't be there and the stress level would probably be higher. I encourage anyone to look into this field if they like a challenge, enjoy helping others, and want growth potential.
Comment by Kay Duplechin of TX
This field is very different since I started in 1991. The technology of online databases and automated collection catalogs has really made a radical change. If you are tech savvy and like to pursue the answers to questions, then this field is great. The people who pursue the master's degree usually do it because it is something they really want to do either as working librarians or as people who always wanted to be one. Most of the librarians I know are very satisfied with their positions. Library schools are not at every university, so it is not a degree to get anywhere. And by the way, I recently learned that the program expanded at Wayne State University in Detroit because of the demand. And more libraries are reporting more demand with the tough times. I don't think the profession is dying at all.
Comment by Ginny of OH
Librarianship is the best-kept secret! Unless you are a frequent library user or a friend of a librarian, people would have no idea of the great profession of librarianship. Librarians wear many, many hats, and the profession is not for everyone, just like everyone cannot teach, operate, counsel, etc. However, public service and helping others must be a passion for those who choose this field. Therefore, unlike many, I truly love my job!
Comment by Michelle Bennett of GA
I've been a public librarian in a large urban library for 27 years. I used to get to choose books for my branch, but that's now handled by a central office and has been for years. Even before, I mostly got to choose from lists prepared by that central office. Now, they make the decisions for everyone. Working with the public, especially in public libraries (opposed to academic or special libraries) means helping people find information, good books to read or movies to see, cleaning up all manner of messes (because not all libraries have full-time custodians), and breaking up fights over public computers and other nonlibrary duties. Years ago, I had to break up a fight between two elderly gentlemen having a tug of war over a newspaper while I was also trying to answer the phone and direct people to the bathroom.
Comment by Shelly of NY