Hi my name is Sarah Pryor and I had meningitis last year. I would like to share my story with you.
First of all a little back round on myself. I was 24 years old at the time and my son was 1 1/2 years old. We had just moved into a farm house that needed a little rehab work with my fiancÚ and my 8 year old step son. I have been pretty healthy my whole life until this happened.
I went to my primary care doctor around the 1st of April for a sinus infection. Around the 7th my tonsils started swelling and I began to run a low fever. I went to Urgent Care and the doctor there told me that I needed to go to the hospital because they were so infected that they may need to be drained or removed. So I went to the hospital, the doctor there said I was fine. He gave me some IV antibiotics and some IV pain medicine, he wrote me prescriptions and sent me home.
The next week is a bit of a blur for me. I know I called my primary care doctor quite a few times and complained about my head hurting. I went to his office and complained about it. He sent me to get a mono test. It came back negative.
A week after my first trip to the urgent care facility it was Easter. I bought the boys stuff for their Easter baskets and helped my fiancÚ fill eggs the night before. Easter morning my family came over to watch the boys do the Easter egg hunt and open their baskets. When they got there I was still sleeping. My mom took one look at me and said "come on we are going to the hospital". I went with out hesitation. I don't remember a whole lot about that day. I remember being in the ER and waiting for the doctor to come back to do more tests. After some of the blood work came back they feared it may be meningitis and did a spinal tap. The tap confirmed I had meningitis, but what kind? They tried to grow cultures to confirm what type, but the cultures would not grow because I had been given IV antibiotics a week before. I had also been given a pretty strong oral antibiotic that I had been taking for that week. I was taken to do a CAT scan and then I was admitted on the infectious disease floor. I was isolated from all other patients. Every nurse and doctor that came in wore protective scrubs over their regular ones, they wore gloves, a cap, and even covers on their shoes. My family and fiancÚ were told to wear them, but they didn't. What's the point? They all had already been exposed. I stayed at the hospital for 2 weeks and then I was allowed to go home with a pic line and I had to give myself antibiotics.
About a month later I was feeling pretty good, I was trying to get back to my normal life. I was having some anxiety problems so I went to my primary care doctor who prescribed an antidepressant and an anti anxiety medication. I took those for a few days when I noticed I was having trouble seeing out of my left eye. It was blurry and my vision kept coming and going, soooo back to the doctor I went. The doctor kept trying to talk to me about my anxiety, but all I wanted her to look at was my eye. She looked at it once and said it was fine, she then preceded to talk about the anxiety, I interrupted her and told her "there is something wrong with my eye" she looked at it again and said "your eye is fine". She increased the dosage of my anxiety medicine ( I know she thought I was crazy). So I went home and pondered was I losing my sight or my mind?
Well the next day I woke up and I was BLIND in my left eye! I immediately called my mom and back to the hospital we went. I got another spinal tap that confirmed I still had meningitis. Of course they tried to grow cultures from that, but they wouldn't grow. I had several different doctors come in and look at my eye, none of them could figure out what was wrong with it. They called in a retina specialist to look at my eye. The retina specialist looked at my eye and said he needed to do surgery the next day if there was any chance that my vision could be saved. So he did the surgery, he took out the fluid from the inside of my eye and sent it off to, once more try to grow cultures so we could see what this was that was attacking my body. He replaced the fluid with some fluid that had antibiotics in it. I didn't know this until after everything had happened, but the doctor told my mom I had a 10% chance of seeing out of that eye ever again. However the odds were with me, little by little my vision came back. I now have 20/30 in my left eye! So I spent the next 2 weeks in the hospital getting several different antibiotics. Since there was no way to confirm what type I had they didn't know which antibiotics to give me. They would give me one kind for a couple of days and then do a spinal tap to see if it was working to get rid of the infection. They finally did find one that worked, it was an anti fungal! Meaning that most signs pointed to fungal meningitis, however there was never an official diagnoses. Just meningitis. I went home with a pic line again for 2 weeks. I did it! I survived! Through out my stay in the hospital my family and fiancÚ were my life lines, they were there every day and someone stayed with me almost every night. I can never thank them enough or repay them for this. This was harder on them than me at times. As far as after effects go, I can honestly say I have some, but it could be sooooo much worse. I have anxiety BIG TIME, I have some memory problems, I have trouble concentrating sometimes and I have pains in my lower back where all the taps were done.
Unfortunately while trying to recover from the awful disease I was involved in a near fatal car accident. This slowed down my recovery process as I was admitted to the SICU for a week and then moved to a regular room for 2 weeks. I had 3 lacerations to internal organs, my pelvis was broken in several places and I had a punctured lung. There were a few other injuries I can't remember! So on April 16, 2006 I was admitted the first time with meningitis, then on May 16, 2006 I was admitted with meningitis again and the eye thing, then on June 29, 2006 I was involved in the car accident. As far as things go right now my main after effect from all this is anxiety. I have many aches and pains that I can take Tylenol for, but the anxiety is hard to cure.
My heart goes out to anyone who has or is battling this disease. It really takes a toll on you and your loved ones. Best wishes to all.