|A Summary of the Worst Day of My Life - June 6, 2003
Todd’s unforeseen death occurred on June 6, 2003 at the young age of 22. A part of my very heart and soul and future died with him. He was my son, my best friend and my family.
His sister and my daughter, Shayna, lost her brother who was also her best friend, as well as the mother she knew who was never to be the same again. Everyone loved Todd and there are many he claimed as a best friend and many who saw him as a best friend.
That day started out as any other day. The only complaint he voiced of any discomfort was of a stomachache a couple of times that week. I went to a convenience store the evening before his death and bought some heartburn medicine. He voiced no complaints the day he died. He seemed a little tired but he had just got off work and worked outside on this hot, humid day and the day before. He worked that day, Friday, and the previous day, on the flight line at Tinker Air Force Base, welcoming men and women coming home from Iraq. He had also done physical training that morning.
We left together after his work to go to Ardmore, OK, an hour and a half drive, to get his sister, Shayna. I was already on base at his apartment because he had locked his keys in the car at lunch time and asked me to bring the other set of keys to him. He lightly napped on and off during the drive both ways. We arrived back in OK City and had just started east on I-240 heading to Tinker Air Force Base to get my car. He started waking up and was motioning to put the pass to get on the base on the dashboard or let him drive. I at first thought he was yelling at me and said "Don't yell at me".
I sensed something was wrong. When I looked at him, his left hand that I could see looked clenched or unnatural. I couldn't see his eyes because he had sunglasses on. I said "Todd!" and then I saw one tear roll out of his left eye. I knew something was horribly wrong and drove like a mad person over to a store at I-240 and Sunnylane Road - the next exit. Shayna's friend was sitting behind Todd had reached forward to feel for his pulse but couldn't.
I ran in the store screaming for someone to call 911. When I ran back outside, a crowd of people had gathered around. Shayna was crying. I remember people pulling Todd out of the car. I remember seeing Todd's head hit hard on the concrete as he was pulled out. An employee of the store heroically performed CPR on Todd. We found out later this employee was retired from the same squadron as Todd's.
Todd had just completed one year of his six year term a few days before his sudden death. He had graduated from tech school two months before he died and was stationed at Tinker Air Force Base in Oklahoma City. He listed Germany, Hawaii and Oklahoma City on his "wish" list. He served his country with pride and honor.
Evidence indicates a product containing ephedra caused his death. He had gained some weight during tech school and began taking an all-natural weight-loss supplement and multi-vitamins several months before he died. He had quit drinking soda, was drinking lots of water, eating by the pyramid plan, working out regularly and taking three different multi-vitamins. Results of reports indicate Todd was not taking more of the weight-loss product than recommended on the label.
We now know that these all-natural products aren't tested.