Joey

Meningitis Survivor | Georgia

I was 19 years old when I contracted Meningococcal Meningitis in August of 1996. I lived in Jasper, Georgia, at the time and was enjoying my summer with friends. We had been camping at a nearby river and had gone to town on Friday night to get something to eat and ride around. After going to dinner around 6pm, we decided to go to a friend’s house nearby. At about 7:30 I felt like my head was about to explode. Fifteen minutes later I had my friend stop the car so I could throw up. I recall thinking that I must have gotten a bad burger. We started back, and no more than 15 minutes later I had my friend pull over again. This time I could not make it back to the car. My friends took me home to my mom’s house. I told my mom that I must have the flu and that I just need to get some rest.

The next morning I awoke to an overwhelming headache and pain in my lower extremities. My mother had to work every other Saturday and as my luck would have it, she was gone. I tried to stand to get to the restroom but I fell and ended up soiling myself. I struggled to take a shower. In the shower, I fell and pulled the curtain down on top of me. The pain in my legs at this point kept me from walking. After getting dressed, I pulled myself to the couch to rest. It was around 11:00 am. At this point it seemed like all I did was blink my eyes and my suroundings would change. I closed my eyes and then my mom was home (4:30pm); then I closed my eyes, opened them, and my mom was calling 911. I blinked and then the paramedics were in front of me. I blinked and even more people were in the house, even the local police. The last thing I recall is that I was fighting with the nurse about a catheter, as I did not care for one. I woke up 3 weeks later in another hospital. The pain was still there but was a lot different. When I came to, I recalled the doctor saying not to expect much to my mom and my sister. The doctor told me I was a sick young man and asked if I understood that. I blinked once as I was still on a ventilator. He said I was going to lose my legs, and that he did not know how much would be amputated. I strugled to lift up and see my feet. My mother did not want me to look, but the doctor lifted the bed just so I could see my black shriveled up toes. The black ran all the way up to my thighs. I also looked at my hands and they were black. I tried my best to move my fingers, but they did not respond. The doctor told my family that they needed to start thinking about my final arrangements. I was told my mom went nuts.

I spent 5 mounths total at the hospital, had 18 operations and more pain than any one should know. I found your site almost 15 years after I lost both legs from this awful thing. I have never met a person that had MM. I often feel like no one around me can understand some of the challenges I have faced and still face day to day. I found myself in tears at the stories on your site. My heart reaches out to the families of the ones lost.

I now have two great kids of my own. I am grateful for the work you do in protecting ones from MM and making the stories of yourselves and loved ones available for people like me to read. Just knowing you are not alone in this crazy world will help get some through another day.


« Read other visitor stories.