Monday, February 8, 2016

The Truth About Bacterial Meningitis... Part Two

After Mr. Snooty found me laying on the floor of our bedroom, babbling unintelligibly and unresponsive, the ambulance came and delivered me to the same hospital where my children were once both born. After arriving, at some point, I had a grand mal seizure. Hubby looked over at me thinking I was just yawning then suddenly realized I was seizing and alerted the nurses. I was out (or in some parallel dimension) and have no recall of what actually happened. I only remember my wonderful dreams. Well, most of them. All I know is what has been relayed to me by Mr. Snoots and others.

Apparently, the doctors did not know what was was wrong with me because bacterial meningitis has the exact same symptoms of a great number of illnesses. That makes it very difficult to properly diagnose in a timely manner. At one point my vitals were so bad (?) they believed I only had a couple of hours to live. Which, of course, led to the decision to put me into an induced coma... To buy them some time in trying to diagnose. I'm still not sure if I had the two strokes before or while in, the induced coma.

I guess somewhere along the way someone decided to do a spinal tap (or something like that) and soon they discovered the bacterial meningitis and after one week brought me back from LaLa/Wonderland. The first time I sort of *came to* the doctors asked me if I remembered anything and I said, "Remember what?" My precious husband was there every day as often as he could be, as was our son, giving me whatever strength they could. 

My most precious daughter was on spring break at the time, from SMU law school (she was also doing an internship for a Dallas law firm), while also studying to take the Bar. She stayed all night with me every night for a week, Bless her heart and soul. Evidently I spoke to her many times while I was in the coma and then when coming out of the coma. I could neither hold a thought nor play a hand of gin, which really made me mad for some reason. I had to be bathed by a stranger, had a catheter in, the tube I'd had down my throat had irritated it to the point I could barely swallow anything but ice or Jello, and apparently I was not at all nice. To anyone. That is just not me.

When I was slipping in and out of the coma, I thought I was at my brain doctor's house with he and his family and I was ready to go home. So I thought I called our daughter to come and get me (because I knew she was in town) and she refused to, saying that spring break was over and she had to go back to finish law school and graduate. The truth is that she had been asleep on the uncomfortable little *window seat* in my hospital room when I demanded that she take me home. Of course, I don't have a solid memory of this. But, it did happen and I was mean to the one person I could not and have not, ever hurt. Luckily, she has a nurse friend who warned her of what I would be like so she was at least prepared. I won't even go into the time I thought there were spiders all over the ceiling and started freaking out. It took everything she had in her to calm me down while trying not to laugh.

Anywho, Snooty Daughter went on to graduate, moved back to Austin, passed The Bar, was sworn in by a Texas Supreme Court Judge and got a fantastic job with the state as a lawyer for environmental issues. I wasn't able to go to graduation because although I was by then out of rehab prison, I still couldn't walk. I've never in my life been so proud of her. She knows I would not have missed it but for the doctor forbidding me. I was still taking physical therapy every day, but on a walker. I had no physical strength and used our extra computer chair (with no arms) to maneuver my way around the house, using the walls to move faster with my hands. I kid you not. It was a real laugh fest. Not.

So anyway, once they transferred me to the rehab hospital I saw many roomies come and go. I think I was there longer than anyone and got to know all the workers and patients by name. Once my mind began to return I had many late night talks with many nurses and students of nursing. I can't remember any of those conversations but they helped to pass my sleepless nights while there. I was STILL on the crazy IV antibiotics so it's entirely possible I didn't even have those conversations. I was still having to take breathing treatments twice a day (those really hurt) and to go PT (Physical Therapy) and OT (Occupational Therapy) every day. Those really cut into my nap times because Lord knows you can't sleep in a hospital at night. They wake you up every hour or so to check your vitals. I wonder if my vitals revealed I was sick of being awakened. Sleep heals you, right?

I was overwhelmed with determination to make it back home (sooner rather than later) so during my nights of insomnia and interruptions I began to shuffle up and down the hospital halls with my trusty (not really) aluminum walker adorned with golf tennis balls on the two front legs. My ultimate goal every night was to reach the communal fridge where free ice cream was available to all who could walk there and get it. I'm pretty sure there was only one other person who roamed at night, like me, but she was on the other side where they had their own fridge. I might or might not have raided theirs on the down low a time or two. Everyone else was either bedridden or needed assistance with a wheelchair. The ice cream was ALL MINE! Time moved like an ailing tortoise but I SURVIVED hospitalized captivity because of that ice cream. It was not easy.

There were many other crazy dreams and things that happened but I've said enough. For three years now,  I've slowly been coming back to life and good health. I'm also older and wiser now. I know that if you always put others needs first, you will suffer in the long run. I still take care of everyone else but now I also take time for ME. It's just part of surviving this world as long as possible. I also see life differently now. Trivial things that once mattered to me are no longer important and those I love are more important than ever. I can't really explain it, but the way I see everything is different now. It was one helluva a way to learn a lesson but I was given a second chance and, I've gotten it right this time.

Be well, my friends!

Don't forget to take care of YOU! Truly love and appreciate every single day of your life... It's such a special gift that can be taken away so swiftly...

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