Family seeks help to deal with their child's rare disease

December 11, 1997

Family seeks help to deal with their child's rare disease

It's the Christmas season and with two small children, Kelly Moser ought to be getting ready for a family-style celebration. But instead of decorating the house, Moser spends her days tending the heart monitor and making sure the oxygen tube stays attached to her baby, Cody Fraley.

Born Oct. 23, Cody has a breathing problem that Moser says neither his own pediatrician nor the doctors at the Johns Hopkins University Hospital have been able to figure out. Despite a helicopter trip and a stay at Hopkins, no one is 100 percent sure what's going on with this child.

Shortly after he was born, Moser said, doctors noticed he had severe jaundice and sent him to Hopkins, even before Washington County Hospital officials could take his picture. Moser says the only photo she has to show anyone was taken at Hopkins, of a tiny little figure connected to an array of tubes and monitors.


She feels bad about that, she says, because she's got pictures of her 2-year-old son all over the place. But she does get to look at him all the time, though there are fewer tender mother-son moments than the normal family shares. For her, the reality is that tiny babies who use oxygen tubes must have them secured in a way infants don't often find comfortable.

"I have to tape his face up and he isn't too fond of it," Moser said.

"I have a medical card for Cody," she said, but added that Johns Hopkins people are asking her about paying at least some of the accumulated charges herself.

She's not sure where she and the child's father, Larry Fraley, will get the money, since they've spent a lot of cash just traveling back and forth to Baltimore.

"We have a lot of bills, and people aren't being too nice about it," Moser said.

To help, some of Moser's friends have set up a trust fund for Cody at Home Federal Savings Bank. If you'd like, you can make a donation at any branch by making out the slip to Account No. 011460088, and making it to the attention of Home Federal's Sarah Miller.


The same person who left me a musical voicemail message last week has called again, this time with a whistled rendition of "Jingle Bells." If this is a guessing game, it's too easy.


How can The Herald-Mail's editorial page do a better job of emphasizing how important education is?

That's the question that's been vexing the editorial page advisory committee since its formation several months ago. But at our last meeting, the citizen members and I brainstormed together and came up with something all of us feel will do the job.

The problem we see is unrealistic expectations about what's required in today's working world. Perhaps this is due to the industrial heritage of Washington County, where not so long ago a young person could walk onto the factory floor, learn the job with co-workers' help, make a decent living and live happily ever after.

Those days are gone, however. Not long ago I toured the Hagerstown Junior College New Technology Center and heard about plans to re-train some people who were being called back to Mack trucks after a layoff of several years. In their absence, the plant has installed computer-controlled machinery that requires a lot of additional training to operate.

So how do you get the point across?

We decided to begin by talking to some high school juniors, who very shortly will be making some decisions about the rest of their lives. We'll ask them about their dreams and how they're preparing to make them come true.

Then we'll talk to some first-year-college students and some young people who've just begun their first jobs, to see how the expectations they had in high school did or didn't become reality.

If you're a first-year college student from the Tri-State area, or if you're just starting out in the working world and you'd like to share your experiences for this project, you can call me at (301) 733-5131, ext. 7622, between 7 a.m. and 4 p.m. most days. Or write to Bob Maginnis, Editorial Page Editor, P.O. Box 439, Hagerstown, Md., 21741.

If no one responds, of course, we'll find another way to contact such folks, but if you can share something that might help the next group have an easier time of it, why not do so?

Bob Maginnis is Opinion Page editor of The Herald-Mail.

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