The first week….

Initially I thought Jake had meningitis,  but then he seemed kind of stable in the ER. No spinal tap- just other tests. Pretty soon they admitted him. It’s a nice hospital 25 minutes from home, so by the end of the day my dad and husband came over. Things started to go down hill from there. Jake started talking jibberish. He was irritated or upset about something, and he kept repeating the same incomprehensible “words”. I thought maybe he was worried that he was missing work. Pretty soon he was trying to get out of bed. It took a lot to hold him down. Still no spinal tap, but he was moved to the ICU. Initially that scared me to death, but then I came to realize it meant more attention from his nurse. They started the broad spectrum antibiotics just in case it was bacterial. I started telling the doctor about Jake’s history. “Who told you that? I’ve never heard of anything like that. What hospital? ” I told him the name of Dr. N. and the hospital. Pretty soon they started him on anti viral medication and ordered other tests like an MRI of his brain. An allergy/immunologist stopped by eventually and reassured me that Dr. N. was the best in the Midwest.  He has an immune deficiency. The doctor replied, “Well I think he has a pretty good immune system,” Puzzled. ..I let her continue…”He’s still with us…” That was the first time I thought my son might not survive this. Jake went in and out of consciousness and coherence the rest of that week. His girlfriend came to visit one evening. Jake turned to his nurse, Greg and asked, “Who is that girl staring at me? She’s kind of stalkerish.” We giggled about it later, but he had no idea who she was. He lost control of his bladder, and over and over they had to change his sheets. This greatly agitated Jake, and it became unbearable for me to watch. I started to realize he would fidget when he needed to go, and I would grab the urinal and try to catch it. A team of doctors and I were standing around his bed when he started to fidget. I nonchalantly grabbed the urinal and tried to assist Jake when he came back into awareness. He looked around, and my son who was offended by cursing yelled, “What the f*$% are you doing? Why are YOU touching my junk?” By the end of that week, a couple of nurses were hinting that we needed to get Jake to a larger hospital when the doctor came in. “Jake is not responding to our treatments. His MRI shows nodules in the brain that I’ve never seen. His immune deficiency complicates this further, so we believe it is time to transfer him to a larger hospital.”  Our daughter and dogs were at home, so my husband, Dave, and I took turns. It was my night, and I couldn’t ride in the ambulance.  I followed them in my car to an unfamiliar place that would be our home until late February.

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