NATE APPLEMAN - Celebrity Chef and KD Parent
Chef Nate Appleman has received a James Beard Award for Rising Star Chef, been anointed Best New Chef by Food & Wine and is the champion of Food Network’s Chopped All-Stars. He is inspired by competition and is passionate about his career and his son Oliver. In 2009, Nate became a KD parent when his son Oliver was diagnosed with Kawasaki Disease at the age of two.
About a week after moving to New York, Oliver woke with a slight fever. He was tired and not behaving like his normal self. His parents cared for him, treating his symptoms, thinking he could be coming down with the flu. By the 3rd day, a rash and fever that had spiked to 103 degrees prompted a trip to the emergency room.
There was a long wait before finally being called to a treatment room. Once inside, the doctor found an ear infection and determined the rash to be scarlet fever. He would call the nurse to deliver a script for antibiotics and the discharge papers to go home.
While waiting for the papers, an unwanted visitor appeared beside Oliver. It was a bedbug and dad was not happy! The sudden and noticeable noise from the treatment room brought a rush of concerned hospital personnel to investigate. In the mix was a visiting physician who happened to be the head of dermatology at NYU. After the excitement from the bedbug’s visit subsided, the dermatologist noticed young Oliver and asked what diagnosis he was given. Skeptical that it was scarlet fever, she told dad she suspected Kawasaki Disease and said to make an appointment to follow up in two days.
The antibiotics brought no improvement, and after two days Oliver’s fever and rash had progressed. The follow up visit with the dermatologist brought the diagnosis of Kawasaki Disease and Oliver was admitted to the hospital right away. His condition had worsened and painful attempts to begin an IV by poking him over and over proved impossible due to severe dehydration and swelling. Eventually, sedation was needed to put him to sleep and open his shoulder to insert the IV.
Oliver was treated with IVIG right away with promises that after one treatment he should be OK. When two treatments of IVIG brought no response, attending physicians began to question the diagnosis. With his heart being monitored, several specialists were asked to evaluate little Oliver.
The decision was to treat with steroids. This followed with some improvement, and Oliver was allowed to return home.
When Oliver’s symptoms returned, a 2nd dose of steroids was given to continue treatment and he was scheduled to visit the cardiologist for an echocardiogram two days later. This test reveled giant aneurysms in his heart and Oliver and dad were sent directly to intensive care to receive treatment. Dad describes the walk from the cardiologist back to the hospital, as the longest walk of his life.
Total time in hospital for young Oliver was 3 weeks.
It has been 2 years since Oliver’s diagnosis. He remains under a doctor’s care for the heart disease he acquired from having Kawasaki Disease
Again, Dad is not happy! He cannot explain why his son acquired KD, nor does he see a cure in sight, but like with the bedbug, he is determined to draw attention to the issue. He is determined to work toward finding answers to the disease that wreaked such havoc on his young son’s precious heart.