Trae Daniel Peterson

330October 27, 1994 to January 6, 2008

Trae was born in Waseca, MN. We moved to Mankato in 2004, and in October 2007 we moved to Shakopee, MN after I accepted a job transfer. At age 12, I knew moving to Shakopee was hard on Trae. But Trae being the way he is, he made friends on the first day of school and adapted very quickly to his new environment.

On New Year Eve of 2007, Trae went to stay at his best friend Nick’s house in Mankato for weekend. He hung out with friends and went snowboarding for the weekend. On Tuesday, January 1st, I picked Trae up from Nick’s house and we were heading back home to Shakopee. During our ride back, I remember him talking about how much fun he had snowboarding and mentioned that he had a slight headache. At the time, I figured he was probably up late with his friends and after snowboarding, he probably just needed rest. As we talked during our drive, I decided to tell him some “news” I myself had just found out two days prior. I broke the news to Trae that I just found out I was pregnant. Silence filled the vehicle and then moments later he said “well, I hope it’s a boy so I can teach him how to hunt.” We giggled but I could tell Trae needed to digest the news so I let the conversation be. We continued our drive home listening to Trae’s favorite songs on a CD.

The next morning came (Wednesday) and Trae mentioned his headache was a getting a bit worse, but all in all he seemed fine. I asked him if he wanted to go to the doctor, but he refused. I just gave him some Tylenol and kept him home from school. When I got home from work, he was watching TV, and on the computer between MySpace and instant messaging friends. Thursday rolled around and he said he was feeling better. As usual, I dropped him off for school and told him I would pick him up after school so he could get his haircut as promised. When I picked him up from school, he seemed good and said he was feeling pretty good. After his haircut, we went home and had dinner together, which Trae hardly ate anything. It was almost 7pm by then and I told Trae I had to run into the office for an hour and would be home shortly. Around 8pm, Trae called me as I was driving home and said his head was hurting real bad and he wanted to go to the doctor. I told him I would be home in a few minutes and I would meet him down at the front entrance of our complex. As I pulled up, he was walking out carrying out a large bowl. He got into the front seat of the vehicle and was holding his forehead with one hand and the bowl with another, as he said he felt like he had to throw up. I remember looking at him and noticed how pale he looked. It was obvious he was sick. We were at the ER within a few minutes. I tried helping him out of the vehicle, but he told me he could walk. As we got through the front door of hospital, he instantly threw up. They checked him in and put him into a room to lie on the bed until the doctor came in. Once the doctor came in, he looked him over briefly and because Trae was still vomiting and hadn’t ate much, they decided to pump some fluids into him so he wouldn’t dehydrate. The doctor said after looking Trae over and his signs/symptoms he is guessing Trae just has a sinus infection. But he went on to say that because he was out snowboarding that previous weekend, they wanted to do a CT scan to rule out any head injury. (Note: no other blood tests or anything were done…only a CT scan) They finally brought him back for a CT scan, but since I was pregnant, I had to wait in the room for him. Once they brought Trae back, he looked very tired and still very pale. Since we had to wait an hour or so for the results, I told Trae to rest and I would wake him up when the doctor came back. When the doctor came with the results, Trae woke up and the doctor stated it was just a sinus infection. However he went on to say that they did find an unusual marking on the CT scan but he wasn’t sure what it was. He stated “it could just be something that’s been there since birth.” He wasn’t sure but said it wasn’t related to his headache and would refer me to a neurologist to have it looked at within the next two weeks. So he gave us a prescription for Amoxicillin to treat his sinus infection and wrote down the name of a Neurologist in the cities on a piece of paper and sent us on our way. Trae said he was feeling a little better when we left the ER. He had stopped vomiting a while ago, so I thought maybe he was indeed a little dehydrated and felt better after they put some fluid in him.

It was now after 11pm by the time we left the ER. I knew there wouldn’t be a pharmacy open at that time so we went straight home. I told Trae to just plan to stay home from school Friday. I had an appointment first thing in the morning, so I would drop his prescription off first thing and pick it up after my appointment and be home early. Trae went straight to bed, and soon I did also. Little did I know, this would be the very last night I would ever talk to my son again….and that soon my world was about to be turn upside down.

The next morning, I was ironing my work clothes in a small hallway between Trae’s bedroom and his bathroom. While I was ironing, Trae came out of his room stumbling to the bathroom, almost hitting the iron board, but he said nothing. I could hear him in the bathroom and wondered if he had urinated on the floor as it sounded like he had. As he walked out, he stumbled again and I looked at Trae and said “Trae, be careful, you almost burned yourself on the iron.” He said nothing and went back to his bed. I put the iron board away, got dressed, and remembered I needed to make his appointment with the neurologist before I left. After doing so, I went in to wake Trae to tell him I was leaving and would be back soon. I pulled the covers from his face, and he continued to pull them back over his face, saying nothing. I pulled them down again and told him to wake up and talk to me. He looked me straight in the eyes, said nothing again, and pulled the covers over his head. I pulled them down once again, and noticed his lips were very chapped and he was very pale. I felt something was not right, and started to get scared, asking Trae multiple times “Please wake up and answer me Trae, your scaring me.” He would look at me as if he didn’t know who I was. My heart sank, and I knew something was terribly wrong. I grabbed my phone, dialed 911, and ran back to Trae. It felt like forever until the ambulance arrived but in reality it was only minutes.

The paramedics tried talking to Trae, but again he wouldn’t answer. It was almost like he was completely normal, grabbing the covers to keep warm and wanting to sleep. But as the paramedics tried getting him awake, they realized he was lethargic and they agreed that something was not right and suggested we take him straight to Children’s Hospital. As they tried to pick Trae up, he began kicking and trying to get away from the paramedics. It took both of them to get Trae on the stretcher. Trae was looking at me, unable to speak, and terrified. They got him into the back of the ambulance and asked me to wait in the front seat as they needed to get an IV in him. I felt so helpless and just wanted to comfort him, but it seemed even then he was angry people were messing with him by trying to stick needless in him while strapped to a bed. Trae continued to fight them, and once they got the IV in, they worked to calm him down. Finally Trae calmed down and went to sleep. We arrived at Children’s Hospital and they took him in through ER and got him into a room. There were about 5-6 doctors/nurses in the room and once the doctor started to examine him, he again became very agitated. Several doctors and nurses and I tried holding him down. I remember him looking at me square in the eye, terrified and not knowing what was going on. I felt like he was asking me to help me and to keep these people off of him. I was so scared, I didn’t understand what was going on with Trae…why was he not speaking…why is he so scared. Finally after several doctors and nurses were able to hold him down, they advised me they needed to sedate him so they could evaluate him and run some tests right away. Within minutes, he was fast asleep and calm.

I don’t even remember how long my family and I were waiting before the doctor came in to give us an update. I remember him saying that Trae had an infection. They believed it may be some form of meningitis but they couldn’t say much more as they had to wait for the bacteria to grow so they could determine exactly what they were dealing with. I remember the doctor’s voice at the time in a sense that I felt like it was something they could treat and we would be out of the hospital in no time. But as the day went on, and more lab work and CT Scans were done, they informed us that Trae had what is called pneumococcal meningitis. A form of bacterial meningitis, the worse form of meningitis you can get. Still not knowing exactly what this meant….the doctors seem to remain optimistic, or at least that’s the way we interpreted it at the time. The doctor took him off the medication that was given to sedate him and reminded us that it could take up to several hours to wear off, and they were unsure as to when he would wake up. As minutes turned into hours and the hours went by, Trae was still not waking up. I remember watching for any sign of movement and when I would see even the slightest twitch; my heart would race as I felt it was a sign of hope. But as I looked to the nurse hoping she would tell me he is waking up but instead she would inform me it was just a reflex.

By Saturday morning the infection (meningitis) was continuing to grow. But in addition to that, he was started to retain a lot of fluid in his brain. The doctor informed us they needed to get him into surgery right away to remove the fluid. The meningitis was growing, the fluid was building up, and all of which was leading to brain damage if they didn’t do the surgery now. After the surgery, both doctors came in to talk to everyone and said the surgery went as planned and it would be hours before they could do another CT scan to see where they are at with things. So until then, we just wait. Throughout the day and night nothing was changing. Again, I wasn’t sure what this all meant. Was he getting better? Was he getting worse? But still, Trae laid there motionless and unable to wake up. I remember at some point the nurse told me to try and get some rest and that she would come get me down the hall if anything at all changes. I finally went to lay down for a bit. I remember being in this dark room trying to sleep when all of the sudden I got this heart wrenching feeling that something was terribly wrong. I ran down to Trae’s room crying. The nurse comforted me and said that he is fine, nothing has changed. I asked if I could lay with him and with no hesitation, she moved him over slightly and let me climb in bed with him.

Sunday morning came. The doctor came to ask me when the rest of my family was coming. I knew looking at him something was wrong and wasn’t about to let him wait for everyone to get there. I understood later why he wanted everyone there as I would need them.

The doctor took us into a conference like room. It was me and my boyfriend, and also Trae’s dad and his wife. The four of us sat down and I could tell by the look on the doctor’s face that it wasn’t good. All I remember him saying was that the meningitis was too powerful and was taking over too rapidly…and there was nothing they could do. I remember asking directly “he is going to be ok, right?” The doctor didn’t answer as I seen it in his eyes before he could. I immediately threw myself to floor and sobbed.

My family was there very shortly after I got the news. The doctor talked to the entire family informing everyone that the meningitis was causing Trae’s organs to shut down and the brain damage was too extensive that even if they took him off life support, he would never survive. By early Sunday afternoon, the entire PICU waiting area was filled wall to wall with family and friends to say their good-byes to our beloved Trae. Around 4:45pm, I went into Trae’s room with my father and two other doctors as they pulled Trae from life support. Minutes later, Trae passed away.

It seems impossible to truly describe the amazing person Trae was… or even begin to touch on all the memories I have…that we all have of Trae. Trae without a doubt was the type of person you could meet for as little as 5 minutes and walk away thinking “what a cool kid”. He was funny, outgoing, giving, and very loving – always putting others first. Ever since I can remember, he became the “man of the house”. Always helping me out whether I needed it or not. If I was hurt, he was hurt too. Never did he go to bed at night without praying and giving me a hug and kiss good night. Never did he go to school without giving me a hug and I replied, “Have a good day at school Bud.”

Trae’s passions in life were baseball, wakeboarding, snowboarding, hunting, and fishing. He excelled in all categories – always giving 100% dedication and determination. He just seems to have a knack for anything he did. I always felt like the proudest mom watching him do anything. My most memorable moment was when Trae shot his first duck, at the tender age of 10. He thought all the ducks were cleaned that day. But what he didn’t know is that his duck was pulled out so we could get it mounted for him. That following Christmas when we opened gifts, we got to the last gift. I pushed a brown paper bag to Trae to open. He looked confused. We told him to open the bag. And as he looked in the bag, he looked back at us asking “Is this Jake’s duck?” I looked at him and said “No Trae that is the very first duck you ever shot.” He instantly cried….and I went to him to hug him. It took him a bit to stop crying as he was just overwhelmed with happiness. Eventually we all stopped crying and admired the beautiful blue wing teal Trae had shot. I thank god every day I was able to go hunting with Trae on a few occasions. To see his face light up when he shot a duck/goose and to see the pure enjoyment that rushed through him was a sight I will forever have instilled in me.

On New Year Eve of 2007, Trae went to stay at his best friend Nick’s house in Mankato for weekend. He hung out with friends and went snowboarding for the weekend. On Tuesday, January 1st, I picked Trae up from Nick’s house and we were heading back home to Shakopee. During our ride back, I remember him talking about how much fun he had snowboarding and mentioned that he had a slight headache. At the time, I figured he was probably up late with his friends and after snowboarding, he probably just needed rest. As we talked during our drive, I decided to tell him some “news” I myself had just found out two days prior. I broke the news to Trae that I just found out I was pregnant. Silence filled the vehicle and then moments later he said “well, I hope it’s a boy so I can teach him how to hunt.” We giggled but I could tell Trae needed to digest the news so I let the conversation be. We continued our drive home listening to Trae’s favorite songs on a CD.

The next morning came (Wednesday) and Trae mentioned his headache was a getting a bit worse, but all in all he seemed fine. I asked him if he wanted to go to the doctor, but he refused. I just gave him some Tylenol and kept him home from school. When I got home from work, he was watching TV, and on the computer between MySpace and instant messaging friends. Thursday rolled around and he said he was feeling better. As usual, I dropped him off for school and told him I would pick him up after school so he could get his haircut as promised. When I picked him up from school, he seemed good and said he was feeling pretty good. After his haircut, we went home and had dinner together, which Trae hardly ate anything. It was almost 7pm by then and I told Trae I had to run into the office for an hour and would be home shortly. Around 8pm, Trae called me as I was driving home and said his head was hurting real bad and he wanted to go to the doctor. I told him I would be home in a few minutes and I would meet him down at the front entrance of our complex. As I pulled up, he was walking out carrying out a large bowl. He got into the front seat of the vehicle and was holding his forehead with one hand and the bowl with another, as he said he felt like he had to throw up. I remember looking at him and noticed how pale he looked. It was obvious he was sick. We were at the ER within a few minutes. I tried helping him out of the vehicle, but he told me he could walk. As we got through the front door of hospital, he instantly threw up. They checked him in and put him into a room to lie on the bed until the doctor came in. Once the doctor came in, he looked him over briefly and because Trae was still vomiting and hadn’t ate much, they decided to pump some fluids into him so he wouldn’t dehydrate. The doctor said after looking Trae over and his signs/symptoms he is guessing Trae just has a sinus infection. But he went on to say that because he was out snowboarding that previous weekend, they wanted to do a CT scan to rule out any head injury. (Note: no other blood tests or anything were done…only a CT scan) They finally brought him back for a CT scan, but since I was pregnant, I had to wait in the room for him. Once they brought Trae back, he looked very tired and still very pale. Since we had to wait an hour or so for the results, I told Trae to rest and I would wake him up when the doctor came back. When the doctor came with the results, Trae woke up and the doctor stated it was just a sinus infection. However he went on to say that they did find an unusual marking on the CT scan but he wasn’t sure what it was. He stated “it could just be something that’s been there since birth.” He wasn’t sure but said it wasn’t related to his headache and would refer me to a neurologist to have it looked at within the next two weeks. So he gave us a prescription for Amoxicillin to treat his sinus infection and wrote down the name of a Neurologist in the cities on a piece of paper and sent us on our way. Trae said he was feeling a little better when we left the ER. He had stopped vomiting a while ago, so I thought maybe he was indeed a little dehydrated and felt better after they put some fluid in him.

It was now after 11pm by the time we left the ER. I knew there wouldn’t be a pharmacy open at that time so we went straight home. I told Trae to just plan to stay home from school Friday. I had an appointment first thing in the morning, so I would drop his prescription off first thing and pick it up after my appointment and be home early. Trae went straight to bed, and soon I did also. Little did I know, this would be the very last night I would ever talk to my son again….and that soon my world was about to be turn upside down.

The next morning, I was ironing my work clothes in a small hallway between Trae’s bedroom and his bathroom. While I was ironing, Trae came out of his room stumbling to the bathroom, almost hitting the iron board, but he said nothing. I could hear him in the bathroom and wondered if he had urinated on the floor as it sounded like he had. As he walked out, he stumbled again and I looked at Trae and said “Trae, be careful, you almost burned yourself on the iron.” He said nothing and went back to his bed. I put the iron board away, got dressed, and remembered I needed to make his appointment with the neurologist before I left. After doing so, I went in to wake Trae to tell him I was leaving and would be back soon. I pulled the covers from his face, and he continued to pull them back over his face, saying nothing. I pulled them down again and told him to wake up and talk to me. He looked me straight in the eyes, said nothing again, and pulled the covers over his head. I pulled them down once again, and noticed his lips were very chapped and he was very pale. I felt something was not right, and started to get scared, asking Trae multiple times “Please wake up and answer me Trae, your scaring me.” He would look at me as if he didn’t know who I was. My heart sank, and I knew something was terribly wrong. I grabbed my phone, dialed 911, and ran back to Trae. It felt like forever until the ambulance arrived but in reality it was only minutes.

The paramedics tried talking to Trae, but again he wouldn’t answer. It was almost like he was completely normal, grabbing the covers to keep warm and wanting to sleep. But as the paramedics tried getting him awake, they realized he was lethargic and they agreed that something was not right and suggested we take him straight to Children’s Hospital. As they tried to pick Trae up, he began kicking and trying to get away from the paramedics. It took both of them to get Trae on the stretcher. Trae was looking at me, unable to speak, and terrified. They got him into the back of the ambulance and asked me to wait in the front seat as they needed to get an IV in him. I felt so helpless and just wanted to comfort him, but it seemed even then he was angry people were messing with him by trying to stick needless in him while strapped to a bed. Trae continued to fight them, and once they got the IV in, they worked to calm him down. Finally Trae calmed down and went to sleep. We arrived at Children’s Hospital and they took him in through ER and got him into a room. There were about 5-6 doctors/nurses in the room and once the doctor started to examine him, he again became very agitated. Several doctors and nurses and I tried holding him down. I remember him looking at me square in the eye, terrified and not knowing what was going on. I felt like he was asking me to help me and to keep these people off of him. I was so scared, I didn’t understand what was going on with Trae…why was he not speaking…why is he so scared. Finally after several doctors and nurses were able to hold him down, they advised me they needed to sedate him so they could evaluate him and run some tests right away. Within minutes, he was fast asleep and calm.

I don’t even remember how long my family and I were waiting before the doctor came in to give us an update. I remember him saying that Trae had an infection. They believed it may be some form of meningitis but they couldn’t say much more as they had to wait for the bacteria to grow so they could determine exactly what they were dealing with. I remember the doctor’s voice at the time in a sense that I felt like it was something they could treat and we would be out of the hospital in no time. But as the day went on, and more lab work and CT Scans were done, they informed us that Trae had what is called pneumococcal meningitis. A form of bacterial meningitis, the worse form of meningitis you can get. Still not knowing exactly what this meant….the doctors seem to remain optimistic, or at least that’s the way we interpreted it at the time. The doctor took him off the medication that was given to sedate him and reminded us that it could take up to several hours to wear off, and they were unsure as to when he would wake up. As minutes turned into hours and the hours went by, Trae was still not waking up. I remember watching for any sign of movement and when I would see even the slightest twitch; my heart would race as I felt it was a sign of hope. But as I looked to the nurse hoping she would tell me he is waking up but instead she would inform me it was just a reflex.

By Saturday morning the infection (meningitis) was continuing to grow. But in addition to that, he was started to retain a lot of fluid in his brain. The doctor informed us they needed to get him into surgery right away to remove the fluid. The meningitis was growing, the fluid was building up, and all of which was leading to brain damage if they didn’t do the surgery now. After the surgery, both doctors came in to talk to everyone and said the surgery went as planned and it would be hours before they could do another CT scan to see where they are at with things. So until then, we just wait. Throughout the day and night nothing was changing. Again, I wasn’t sure what this all meant. Was he getting better? Was he getting worse? But still, Trae laid there motionless and unable to wake up. I remember at some point the nurse told me to try and get some rest and that she would come get me down the hall if anything at all changes. I finally went to lay down for a bit. I remember being in this dark room trying to sleep when all of the sudden I got this heart wrenching feeling that something was terribly wrong. I ran down to Trae’s room crying. The nurse comforted me and said that he is fine, nothing has changed. I asked if I could lay with him and with no hesitation, she moved him over slightly and let me climb in bed with him.

Sunday morning came. The doctor came to ask me when the rest of my family was coming. I knew looking at him something was wrong and wasn’t about to let him wait for everyone to get there. I understood later why he wanted everyone there as I would need them.

The doctor took us into a conference like room. It was me and my boyfriend, and also Trae’s dad and his wife. The four of us sat down and I could tell by the look on the doctor’s face that it wasn’t good. All I remember him saying was that the meningitis was too powerful and was taking over too rapidly…and there was nothing they could do. I remember asking directly “he is going to be ok, right?” The doctor didn’t answer as I seen it in his eyes before he could. I immediately threw myself to floor and sobbed.

My family was there very shortly after I got the news. The doctor talked to the entire family informing everyone that the meningitis was causing Trae’s organs to shut down and the brain damage was too extensive that even if they took him off life support, he would never survive. By early Sunday afternoon, the entire PICU waiting area was filled wall to wall with family and friends to say their good-byes to our beloved Trae. Around 4:45pm, I went into Trae’s room with my father and two other doctors as they pulled Trae from life support. Minutes later, Trae passed away.

It seems impossible to truly describe the amazing person Trae was… or even begin to touch on all the memories I have…that we all have of Trae. Trae without a doubt was the type of person you could meet for as little as 5 minutes and walk away thinking “what a cool kid”. He was funny, outgoing, giving, and very loving – always putting others first. Ever since I can remember, he became the “man of the house”. Always helping me out whether I needed it or not. If I was hurt, he was hurt too. Never did he go to bed at night without praying and giving me a hug and kiss good night. Never did he go to school without giving me a hug and I replied, “Have a good day at school Bud.”

Trae’s passions in life were baseball, wakeboarding, snowboarding, hunting, and fishing. He excelled in all categories – always giving 100% dedication and determination. He just seems to have a knack for anything he did. I always felt like the proudest mom watching him do anything. My most memorable moment was when Trae shot his first duck, at the tender age of 10. He thought all the ducks were cleaned that day. But what he didn’t know is that his duck was pulled out so we could get it mounted for him. That following Christmas when we opened gifts, we got to the last gift. I pushed a brown paper bag to Trae to open. He looked confused. We told him to open the bag. And as he looked in the bag, he looked back at us asking “Is this Jake’s duck?” I looked at him and said “No Trae that is the very first duck you ever shot.” He instantly cried….and I went to him to hug him. It took him a bit to stop crying as he was just overwhelmed with happiness. Eventually we all stopped crying and admired the beautiful blue wing teal Trae had shot. I thank god every day I was able to go hunting with Trae on a few occasions. To see his face light up when he shot a duck/goose and to see the pure enjoyment that rushed through him was a sight I will forever have instilled in me.