Meningitis

At 5:30 AM on October 23, 2014, Jake woke me up, “Mom, I have the worst headache ever, and I’ve been vomiting all night.”  Meningitis popped in my head. I wasn’t going to mess around. I immediately drove him to the emergency room. They gave him morphine for the pain, and he was hungry and texting on his phone. Maybe I overreacted… A year ago I had a patient in the pharmacy who was irritated that the Tamiflu prescribed to him was over $100.00. We discussed it- he didn’t have to buy it. It would shorten the duration of the flu, if he had the flu.  Had he been tested? No. I told him the medicine would be here if he decided he needed it. The next Tuesday I heard he was fighting for his life in the same hospital that I took Jake to initially. The gentleman had bacterial meningitis. The Tamiflu would not have made a difference. Bob survived. I later talked to his wife and him about his ordeal. There are many types of meningitis.  There is a vaccine for meningococcal meningitis that helps protect people living in close quarters like a dorm or in the military. Meningitis literally means swelling or inflammation of the lining of the brain and spinal cord.  In 20 years, Bob’s doctor had only seen 2 cases of this type of meningitis, and his first patient died.  It’s crucial to identify the cause so the proper treatment is given. They guess initially and administer broad spectrum antibiotics. It takes weeks for the cultures to come back. Many patients don’t have days, let alone weeks. Generally viral meningitis isn’t as serious. People don’t really understand that they are often infected by a virus, and viruses do not respond to antibiotics.  Everyone wants an antibiotic.  They flew out of the pharmacy like candy.  I poured them down my kids’ throats.  I found too that people don’t understand there are many types of meningitis, and they aren’t all contaigious. Bob’s was. No one else contracted it, and after a difficult battle, he regained his health. I met an 18 month old girl when my daughter was about the same age. The little girl was missing both feet and one hand and her other thumb. The young mom volunteered her story. She and her husband worked opposite shifts so their baby didn’t have to go to day care. She became critically ill with a bacterial meningitis, and they have no idea where she contracted it. Her body, in an effort to survive, focused all of its energy on the core organs and brain. Her extremities began to die. She survived with the loss of body parts. I swear the Holy Spirit spoke to me that morning,  I just had no idea that meningitis could last for 4 months…

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *