Dave – Meningococcal Survivor | California
My story starts with a chest cold. It had been going on for about a week, with congestion and slightly labored breathing. I had attended a morning breakfast meeting on Sunday, July 30,2013 for our High School reunion. Had a uneventful meeting and a selfie with an old friend of mine. The rest of the day was fine. Went to work on Monday, feeling just okay. Had a sandwich from a local Subway, was fine after that. Later on that Monday, started to have a case of nausea, and had heard there was a food born virus going around. The nausea went away when I got home in the early evening. About 1:30AM, i woke up with a bad headache, stiff neck, a temp of 102 degrees, full body sweats, and a massive headache. I was also vomiting and had a loose stool. took some Aspirin for the fever and went back to bed. Got up around 3AM and still had the same symptoms, but feeling worse. Took a cold shower for my sweats and went back to bed. Got back up and 6:30AM and called my boss to see if she could give me a ride to the ER. I got up to the ER, saw a Nurse, who had asked me about my symptoms. She took me right in to the ER, past Triage and into a room right away.
Once i gave my attending the same symptoms I gave the nurse, they started with a blood draw, came back and told me they found bacteria in my blood they did’t like. That instituted a spinal tap, and a trip to the CAT machine. I was then diagnosed in less than an hour, I was informed of my diagnosis, and that I was being admitted with Meningococcal Meningitis, stuck with IV’s full of steroids and heavy antibiotics. the last thing I remember in the OR was the nurse giving me a shot of dilaudid for my headache. I woke up 30 hours later in the Critical Care Unit, isolated from anyone not wearing protective clothing. I spent 8 days in CCU, and three weeks of home care. I completely was cured of the disease with no lasting effects. Early detection is crucial to surviving this. I even had my primary doc come in two weeks while I was visiting for a checkup, come in and say, “hey look! A survivor!
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…