There have been very few times in my life that I thought I was going to die. No, I mean really die, not like “Netflix isn’t working I could just die with boredom” kind of die. I mean like, picturing how your children are going to grow up without you kind of die.
In fact when I really think about it, I can actually only think of one time my life flashed before my eyes like that. It was shortly after stopping Roaccutane and we had a Christmas party at our house. I thought my liver could handle a little bit more than it turned out to be able to cope with. I couldn’t move without the world spinning and wretching up the nothing that was left in my stomach. Eventually found myself in hospital on a drip on the road to recovery.
But before the drip I was pretty certain I was about to die. A bit mellow dramatic maybe, but I had never felt so entirely sick as I had that day.
Fast forward a couple of years and life is good. Nothing unusual was happening, except that we went away for a wonderful family holiday (more on that when it doesn’t take me 3 days to write one post) to Stellenbosch. I guess I should explain everything, because a couple of weeks before we went on holiday, I had noticed a niggling pain in my hips that I’d been trying to ignore. But by the time the weekend came I was aching all over. I tried not to think too much of it, except that I should probably just go and chat to my Doctor and make sure everything is OK.
When we came home on Sunday and I started with some fevers, it became a priority for me to check in with my Doc the next day. So off I went. Explaining the pains all over my body, the fever and the now headaches that had developed over night. She gave me some anti-inflammatories and put me off work for 3 days.
The Diagnosis: Viral Meningitis
By day three I was feeling worse than I had ever felt. Only getting through the day on 4 hourly doses of neurofen and when they stopped working, I was crying into my pillow because of the pain. I called to check in with my Doc and she mentioned encephalitis and that if it doesn’t clear I’d have to go to a specialist.
Uh say what now?
Now I’m not one to just freak out. OK, well, I mean I am, but it really depends on what it is. In this case it’s safe to say that I freaked the hell out. I cried for about an hour trying to process everything. And then I booked an appointment with Dr Stanley at VP because this didn’t feel like something I could just try and figure out by myself. I mean, I have three kids that I want to see grow up!
Met with Dr Stanley. He was fantastic. Did a whole bunch of tests in his office and then it was decided that I need to be admitted to hospital for a lumbar puncture to make 100% of what we were dealing with. Do I need to mention that by this point I was scared, so freaking scared. But off we went and found a bed. As usual it was a mission to try and find a vein for a drip so I was poked and prodded with needles until they eventually found a good vein. Then they took blood and then it was time for the lumbar. Thank goodness by then, Seth was there with me, but I still couldn’t hold still long enough for the Doc to stick the needle in my back so they had to dope me up to keep me calm. I’m so glad they did. 3 big vials of spinal fluid later revealed that it was not actually encephalitis but actually viral meningitis.
The”Cure” For Viral Meningitis
The Doc kept me in hospital for 2 nights on a drip with pain, nausea and anti-inflammatory drugs running through my veins. I was starting to feel better and so I got the go ahead to go home that Saturday. But by Monday I was unable to keep anything in my body as I was just vomiting every little thing I ate right back up again. Including the medicine so I felt like a version of death, just warmed up. Which meant back to the hospital for another couple of nights on more pain and nausea meds.
By this point I missed Seth and my kids so much that I begged the Doc to go home. He said that if I could keep food down I could go. Eventually I managed to get some food in and I got the go ahead to go home with another sick note booking me off for another week. And ever since then I have been at home in bed. Drifting from bed to the couch, back to bed. The Doc put me off work for another week, but I am starting to be able to sit and work at my computer for short periods of time every day so trying to get a bit of work done from home too. And check in on the blog of course 😉
Guys, it’s been so rough. But I am so thankful to my family (my Mom and my in laws specifically) who have helped out so much and smothered my kids with love and attention – so much so that they haven’t really seemed to feel the effects of me not being here or being as active as I normally am. And to our wonderful church family that have cooked us meals, prayed for and supported us during this hard time.
And of course Seth, who has held everything together despite having huge demands on him at work. It’s so amazing to know that I can pass out but the kids will still get fed and things will still get done. I don’t know what I would have done without him.
The summary? Viral meningitis is no joke. I don’t think I could even wish it on my worst enemy. It is honestly the sickest and most scared I have ever been. But the good news is that I am starting to feel more and more human every day, able to start helping with the kids again and take part in the family like I used to, even if it is for short stretches, it still counts for something.
Now just waiting to feel normal enough to get back to work!