My dad Mike was 34 when he was diagnosed with viral meningitis.
My mom had been an emergency room nurse for over eight years when she took him to the first walk in clinic. The doctor told him to stop being a baby and go take a tylenol and sleep off his fever. A day later, my mom took him to a local hospital, where they disgnosed him and kept him in the hospital for four weeks. My mom had three young children at the time, with myself being the oldest at age four. The scariest moment for her was being told by the doctors to go find a lawyer to discuss his will.
I remember having to take off my shoes before I entered his hospital room because any noise would only increase the intensity of his ever-present migraine. Thankfully, my dad pulled through.
Seven years later, at age 41, my dad came down with heatstroke one summer day. He was hospitalized and then diagnosed with viral meningitis for the SECOND time in his life. This time was not as bad as his first bout, but he was still hospitalized for three weeks. When he was released, the doctor told our family that he had never encountered, or even heard of, someone surviving meningitis twice in their life.
Today, my dad is 48 years old and has some slight brain damage. Short term memory loss, speech problems, susceptibility to heatstroke, and the inability to drive for long periods of time are a small price to pay for surviving this killer twice. My dad is my hero and we all feel blessed that he is with us today.
- Lauren, age 18