Wednesday, February 3, 2016

The Truth About Bacterial Meningitis... Coming From Someone Who Knows

For the last three years, since my near-death experience with bacterial meningitis, I have done extensive research about it and how you contract the disease. You don't *contract* it in any way. It's like a sleeping dragon that lives within your body, only awakening when you neglect to take care of yourself. Good Grief! I've been doing that for years. The cold hard truth is that even the most seemingly harmless illnesses can cause what we would know to be the *Perfect Storm* inside our bodies. Frightening though it may be, we all have the very bacteria that causes it in our bodies. Normally, they are dormant as long as we take care of ourselves. We don't all always do that, do we?

I spent a week (or more) in an induced coma until the doctors could figure out what was wrong with me. I don't remember a thing. If I had, I'd have gone stark raving mad. Thank God they finally deduced that I had bacterial meningitis which meant 24/7 I.V. antibiotics and a catheter which is oh so comfortable. I also had a small stroke, a medium stroke, and a seizure, almost like a cherry on top. Mr. Snooty thought at first I was yawning then realized I was seizing and alerted the nurses & doctor. Again, I don't remember a thing.

After being in CCU for over a week I was slowly coming around and moved to the ICU where they let me eat mounds of ice cream. Thanks so much for that new addiction. Every single day they would asked me annoying questions like my name & date of birth & who was the president. I was foggy on all answers at first. I damn sure didn't know the date. I said the president was Osama Bin Laden, then cried. The I.V. antibiotics made me completely nutso while they worked their magic on me. Oh, the stories I could tell of my Alice-In-Wonderland-bacterial-meningitis-induced antibiotic stupor.

I still (3 years later) have a scar on my lower lip where the whatever-it-was tube was during my induced coma (like they couldn't have occasionally moved it around... whatever). There were many other atrocities I cannot speak of but they were humiliating and degrading none the less. No matter how great the hospital, you will feel degraded... More than once.

I was *restrained* (tied down with straps) numerous times because of the IV going into my neck. It leaked constantly because it had not been properly inserted, which made it itch beyond belief (and yes, I scratched like a kitty with fleas). Before I was moved to the rehabilitation hospital (Hell South, where I was the only person under 80) they inserted a Pic Line (while watching its progress on an ultrasound). I never had a moment of trouble with it beyond that point. I still despise the nurse that repeatedly tied me down. Learn to properly insert an IV, idiot. You really get paid for your ineptness?

My brain doctor, my heart doctor, and my regular GP were the ones who saved me as well as the nurses. I literally owe them my life. It happened the first night of Spring Break, when most doctors take vacations with their families. Hubby found me on the floor of our bedroom, babbling and coated in sweat. Great visual memory for him, huh? He called the ambulance and the rest is history. I have no recollection whatsoever.

I spent nearly 2 additional months at the rehab place, which made me very irritable but I did ultimately survive. Bad roomies (no private rooms), bad food, no one to take me to the bathroom (after they said I couldn't go alone), freaking wheelchairs & walkers, shower seats, and canes. The atrocities of the elderly are only a breath away, my friends. Take care of yourselves, be well, exercise often, love hard, and laugh always. Growing old is not for pansies.

What I've told here is merely the  tip of the iceberg, as it were. My life, as I previously knew it, is over. But you know what? It's not so bad. I like being alive...


Cathy Monroe said...

That must have been some experience, maybe it's best that you don't remember most of it. I'm glad you're alive too.

I Am Woody said...

I like you being alive as well. And I seriously LOLed at President Osama bin Laden! :D

Snooty Primadona said...

Thanks Cathy. Even though none of us are getting out alive, I'm really loving life right now.

Woody: Thanks. That's how crazy those IV antibiotics make you. I also thought my cat was with me at the foot of my hospital bed, under the covers. Turns out they had put compression boots on me to improve circulation. I thought the cat was squeezing my feet, LOL.


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