Meningitis Survivor | Georgia

I had spinal meningitis when I was 8 years old. I’m now 21. Luckily I lost no limbs and came out just fine after my long week in Egleston Children’s Hospital. From what I remember, I was sick one day, starting off with headaches and stomach pain and coughing with some vomiting. My mom took me to the local hospital, and they said it was just the flu and I’d be fine, and that she was over worrying. Overnight it seemed the symptoms got worse, and that’s when my eyes became extremely sensitive; the smallest bit of light hurt and my legs became EXTREMELY sensitive. The lightest touch or breeze to barely scrape my leg would send the most excruciating pain up my back and all over my legs, as if somebody was literally stabbing a sword through the bottom of my feet into my back up to my head.

Getting me into the car to take me to Egleston was hard, because my mom had to pick me up, and the pain of her touching my legs literally knocked me out. I woke up inside the hospital prepped for a spinal tap. That as well was a horrible pain, with an extremely long needle put into my spine to draw some fluid for testing. From what they said, spinal fluid was supposed to be clear and mine was so foggy it might as well have been a solid color. They put me into a room and kept all the lights off for me. I remember having IV’s. There were 2 other people in the hospital with the same disease. I don’t remember if they made it or not, but I remember it was the longest week of my life.

My dad used to spend the night in my room, and he got in trouble all the time for not wearing his protective mask and I got to play Nintendo 64 before anybody else. It took me about a week after being released from the hospital before I was finally able to walk again on my own. I have never seen my mom as happy as I did that day. It’s a brief story because I was so young, and I can’t remember every detail, plus I was constantly passed out from pain. But it was a fight I’m happy I won, and now I’m serving in the Army. My back still causes me tons of pain and even working out the muscles and all doesn’t really help. I’ve adjusted to it and hopefully it won’t get too bad again.

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