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Long, anxious wait follows post-wedding family dinner

Friday, November 28, 2003

By Cindi Lash, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

After spending 11 years and raising three sons together, April and Ed Davis decided in October that they'd waited long enough to get married.

Now they're wondering if they should have tarried a little longer.

Then they wouldn't be counting the days since their post-wedding dinner at Chi-Chi's, or fretting every time a loved one who joined them that day has a headache, an upset stomach or some other harbinger of hepatitis A.

"You can't help but worry. Every day it's better [because] we're one day further away from it," April Davis said. "But we won't forget that day."

The former April Kaminsky, 29, and Ed Davis, 35, of West Aliquippa, decided to marry after the birth of their third son, Michael, nearly five months ago. They got a license and arranged to wed Friday, Oct. 24, at the office of Aliquippa District Justice Joseph Zupsic.

Their sons -- Brian, 9, Jacob, 5, and the baby -- accompanied them, along with April's parents and sister, her sister's two children and a friend of Ed. Friends had planned a reception party for later that night, but the Davises wanted to celebrate with their children as well.

So off they all went to Chi-Chi's, a favorite family spot. Buoyed by the occasion, they shared appetizers and entrees, as well as chips and the salsa containing green onions that now are suspected of causing the hepatitis outbreak.

The following Tuesday, April's mother telephoned, telling her to turn on the television. In dismay, April watched a news report about the outbreak of hepatitis A among Chi-Chi's patrons.

"Every day more people were sick and people started dying," she said. "I was really scared for the kids."

Everyone in the wedding party -- except for baby Michael, who was too young -- got injections of immune globulin the next day to protect them from the disease. The shots made them dizzy and gave them stomach cramps, and Ed missed two days from his job as a commercial painter.

Still, they continued to monitor the children and April's father, who has emphysema, because they were told that the shots were only about 85 percent effective. They also were heartsick to learn that their West Aliquippa neighbor, Jeffrey Cook, 38, was one of three people to die during the outbreak.

When April's father, Edward Kaminsky, 57, started to run a fever and feel fatigued, the family was sure he'd been stricken. A blood test ruled out hepatitis A, but the family had to wait for several anxious days because local labs by then were clogged with tests for other Chi-Chi's patrons.

With five weeks behind them, the Davises are fairly confident they won't get sick. They won't be comfortable, though, until mid-December, when the disease's 15- to 50-day incubation period will have passed.

"At least now, I know what I'll give [April] on our 10th anniversary -- refried beans," Ed teased.

"They'd better be at Don Pablo's," his wife shot back.

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