Health, Family + Happiness
It has officially been one year!
The first week in June of 2017 my husband, 10 month old, 2.5 year old and 5 year old spent our Sunday afternoon at the pool. I can remember the details like it was yesterday. Marq asked me if I wanted a "Club Punch," a drink I often order in the summer. I passed and asked that we head home. Still in my swimsuit, I got straight in the bed roughly around 5pm. I had the absolute worst headache of my life. From someone who never gets headaches, I assumed it was a migraine from working out too hard that morning or from the hot sun right after. I thought I must have overdone it in the gym.
The next morning, having slept straight through, my husband was about to head to work and I was still in bed. I couldn't get out of bed to take the kids to summer camp... Literally, couldn't get up. It's not the norm for me to push that on him but I couldn't move... everything was so LOUD. Everything seemed too much. Marq came home from lunch to check in on me and to see if I was better. I was still in bed from the night before and told him, I felt like I was dying. Okay, I can sometimes be dramatic so Marq called Walgreens to see what I could take... Maybe like a Tylenol... Laugh.
After telling the pharmacist that I had a horrible headache, leg & neck pain, she told him to rush me to the hospital that I had meningitis and that if not seen immediately, I could die. We both thought that was a stretch so instead, chose a minor med. Minor Med couldn't do much and suggested the ER from the symptoms I described. At this point I was desperate to close my eyes and had Marq drop me off at the house, so I could sleep. Not two hours later, I phoned my sister and asked her to take me in. We arrived at the ER, I told them what Walgreens said, told them my symptoms and the Dr. diagnosed me with a migraine, gave me a steroid shot and sent me on my way. My sister drove me home and I got back in bed. Let me remind you, that it's still Monday....
By Wednesday morning, I had not gotten up to eat, drink, shower, kiss my kids... nothing. I was out for the count. Wednesday morning, I asked Marq to take me back to the ER for more help. Something was definitely wrong. By this point, I couldn't move my neck downward. When I walked in the ER, they new something was off and gave me a mask and put me in a quarantined room. In walks the same doctor I saw on Monday. I told him that I had just seen him for a migraine two days prior and I was convinced I had meningitis. Not only did he not remember I was his patient, but he said "you look too good to have meningitis." (This is not a sexual harassment or malpractice blog, so stay with me.) His diagnosis was the same as Monday. I received my second steroid shot and was sent on my way.
Thursday and Friday pass... Still in the bed (no food, not many drinks...death bed style) at about 10pm, I spike 103 fever and tell Marq to either call 911 or to go get the pediatrician that lived across the street (lucky her in times like this.) I was 1000% sure I was going to die at any minute... I couldn't walk to the bathroom if I wanted to. My neck wasn't able to bend down, right or left. My legs weren't working... my back was stiff. I couldn't move! He walked over there and asked her to come check me out. Her advice, "GO IN at shift change, first thing in the morning..."
Around 2am, I had taken all I could. I couldn't make shift change. Marq called my mom to come stay with the kids at our home. We went back to the ER for the third time. He got a wheelchair to wheel me in. I couldn't move, couldn't walk, I literally thought, this is it...
As we approached the desk, they knew it was bad. They put a mask on me and sent me straight back to the room I had been in the Wednesday prior. 15 -FIFTEEN- minutes later, they were doing a spinal tap. Apparently, the only way to confirm meningitis is to do a spinal tap. Once they saw the state I was in, everyone was moving... Everyone was in the room. Everyone was tending to me. It took 6 times to get the spinal. I couldn't scream. I could barely cry but I remember moaning over and over.
A VERY short time later, 4 doctors came flying through the door. They flipped on the lights, told Marq to stay on the bed with me. (We were laying down and he was listening to me sob.) I remember it like it was yesterday. "Ma'am, You have bacterial meningitis. I need you both to put on these masks. We're going to lay these suits over you both and wheel you to ICU." I LOST IT. I totally lost it. Screamed. Yelled. Sobbed. Begged them to help me live. Everyone knows the chances of beating bacterial meningitis are slim. I have three babies! How could this happen?
I phoned my mom around 3am, approximately 30 seconds after having heard the news. In a complete breakdown, I told her to take the kids to the children's hospital in Memphis and get them tested immediately. Arriving in ICU, things started happening FAST. The first 48 hours, I was quarantined. My vitals were not good, they were giving me morphine and I begged and pleaded for my life. Every suited up nurse & doctor that walked in, I clung to and told them "I have three babies that need me." At one point, my precious nurse, Katie, held me in the bathroom (where I was trying to pass out) and assured me they weren't going to let me die. It was SO dramatic and rightfully so.
Day 2 in the ICU was quite possibly the worst. That's when I received a PICC LINE. Heavy antibiotics, 8 hours at a time, twice per day....I started having major panic attacks, like the kind you mistake for a heart attack. I ended up staying in ICU and in no certain terms, bleaching my system of all bacteria to wipe me out, for 7 days. It was the closest thing to hell on earth that I've experienced. On the 7th day, they confirmed that they had treated me for bacterial meningitis but that it was then confirmed to be viral meningitis. Apparently, they have to do this incase it's bacterial because if it gets too far ahead of you, you're toast. All 7 days were horrible.
For a solid 6 months I struggled with major anxiety + PTSD. (I struggled to go in public or even scroll facebook for a few months.) For those of you that suffer from anxiety. I'm so sorry. It's debilitating and will completely change your world in that moment of panic. I had no idea how that felt until after I got sick. Fortunately for me, my doctor told me that it would take 1 year to fully recover. It took exactly 11 months. Sure, I still have a little anxiety but I can control it. I've fully recovered from the PTSD. I do, however, get frequent headaches.
Here's what I've learned: *Life is precious. Period. Life is so precious. I'm high strung and often struggle to live in the moment but I've learned that other than Health, Family + Happiness, you've got nothing. Nothing else matters. So, I now choose to put my best foot forward and focus only on the positive. Take away everything I have, but leave me my health + precious family. *Everyone has a chapter that they aren't talking about. When you look at someone's life and think that it's perfect, trust me, it's not. Everyone struggles with something. This past year has been hard recovering mentally and emotionally. It's been a real struggle for Marq and I and our marriage, but it has also shown me the TRUE riches of life: Health, Family + Happiness! God is so good to me. In the lowest of lows, I tend to get closest to him + in the highest of highs it reminds me of that place that I was in, to realize what's important: Health, Family + Happiness. Everything other than Health, Family + Happiness is just a bonus...
For more + better happy times, click here.