Emily – Meningitis Survivor | New York

Flick! The lights go on and I am instantly blinded. I don’t understand what is going on around me. Everything is so crazy, but all eyes seem to be focused on me. Sitting here I start to wonder, “How did I end up here?” After the lights go out, a doctor came in to ask questions, and meanwhile, my mom is on the phone with my family. Twenty-five minutes after the doctor has finished questioning me, a woman walks into my room and says “I’m here to bring you to your CAT scan”. As I am being rolled through a hospital corridor, I realize that that had been the most relaxing part of my day.

Sitting here I am able to rest without being bothered and I ignore the rest of the world. Sleeping in a hospital is not one of the best spots to choose, but it works for me. I am still in the dark when the doctors woke me up again; they say I need a lumbar puncture. At the moment I am unaware of what the doctor has just said, but as soon as I process it, I freak out. In general I fear needles, and to think that shortly there will be one in my spine kind of puts me into panic mode. Meanwhile, in the background, the doctor is listing all the possible issues that could come from it. Once I am able to calm down, they proceed with the lumbar puncture.

After about 30 minutes of uncontrollable muscle contractions due to the fact that my nerves being stimulated and my body going numb everywhere, I am able to relax again and the doctor say that the fluid looks healthy. Once I regain my strength back from all that has happened, I am given antibiotics to fight the illness, and then transferred to a second hospital in an ambulance. When I arrive, I am left all alone and scared.

All of a sudden, I feel as though I have just walked through a patch of poison ivy. My entire body is on fire and I know something is wrong. As soon as my mom arrives, she walks into my room, and then she walks right out. I am so confused about why she has left me. When she returns, she is followed by two doctors who immediately start to run tests on me. While everything was going on, I felt a painful burning sensation in my arm. I grab at my arm, but someone restricts my hand. The doctors say that I am having an allergic reaction to the antibiotics they have me on and that if they don’t get the medicine in body soon, that things could go terribly wrong.

When I wake up the next morning, the pediatric neurologist orders more tests in order to figure out what is actually wrong with me. By now we have already figured out that I have meningitis, but the doctors are still unsure of what type of meningitis I have. Since it has yet to be discovered what type of meningitis I have, I am allowed to see very few visitors, and I am in quarantine. Once my sister and dad arrive, I have someone to entertain me in my hours of boredom.

When my sister leaves with my dad to go home, the doctor comes and tells me that they have figured out what type of meningitis I have acquired. I am told it is enterovirus meningitis, which has to cure and run its course and that I am not contagious. I am relieved to find this out seeing that enterovirus meningitis is not nearly as harmful and deadly as bacterial meningitis. From here I know I will be able to leave soon because it is no longer necessary for medical attention. Around twelve, on my third day of being in a hospital, I am released. After being released, I am told I was not allowed to attend school three days and luckily, that ends two days before school starts. Yay! I get to go to school…

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