Andrea Thickett

Hello, my name is Andrea Thickett. I'm here to tell you my story about having Meningococcal Meningitis.

On February 1, 2012, I had developed a minor cold, what we usually get in the winter time. After drinking fluids and lots of rest, my cold had went away. So I continued on with my life, working, hanging out with friends, go shopping, the normal stuff 18 year old girls do. A few days later around February 5th, I had received another cold, not thinking of it much, I decided to do the same treatment as last time, lots of fluid and lots of rest, but the cold kept on getting worse and worse, it looked like I was getting the flu. So on the 6th of February, my best friend, and boyfriend had driven me to the closest pharmacy to get flu medicine, unfortunately those didn't help that much at all.

All night I had flu symptoms.

I had woken up to go to the kitchen to get some water, then all of a sudden, I started throwing up, since I had only drank orange juice that day, that's all that came up. The next day, on February 7th, my boyfriend had taken me to my family doctor, because at this point I had legions and spots on my stomach, so he assumed it was "shingles".

We arrive at the doctors office around 1:30, the receptionist told us that it was going to be a 45 minute wait. Since we had time to spare, we decided to go grab something to eat and a coffee at the nearest Tim Hortons. By the time we had returned to the doctors office, the entire place was full of people. So as I'm sitting down waiting for my name to be called, my head all of a sudden just started pounding and pounding, getting worse and worse. I started to pass out, and slide in my chair. I had a feeling we weren't dealing with shingles and this was much more worse then what it looked like. So I had left the doctors office and made my way back home for my mother to take me to the hospital.

As I was waiting, my head began to get much, much worse, to the point where I couldn't keep my eyes open for much longer anymore, as it turns out it in fact was my brain swelling so much that it was pressing up against my skull. As my mother arrived home, I got up and my neck was too stiff to even move, I wasn't even able to look to the ground. So my mother took my boyfriend and I to the hospital. Usually the hospitals around 5:30/6 are usually packed with sick people, luckily for me, there was absolutely nobody in the waiting room. So the man at the counter took my information, and sent me into the waiting room. As I'm sitting there, I felt extremely nauseous, unfortunately nothing was coming out. A few seconds later someone called me and go my information and sent me right to "yellow-zone" or the "fast-track" and they had taken me in immediately. As I'm sitting there, feeling more sick then I have ever been in my entire life, I finally start throwing up, but it wasn't just anything, it was bloody bile. My mother got my nurse and boyfriend to come see me, the nurse then hooked me up to an IV, and since I was so dehydrated, they had to keep refilling the bags every other 5 minutes, maybe less. So as my boyfriend and I are sitting in the waiting room with other sick patients, I start to fall asleep again and was getting confused to where I was. Next thing I know, I start throwing up the same bloody looking bile, luckily the both times I did, there was barely anything.

After that episode had happened, I became incoherent.

After I wouldn't respond to anyone, they took me to get a spinal tap done, it took 4 nurses and my boyfriend just to get me into a wheel chair, because I was so stiff, I was resistant to every move. As they had done the spinal tap, they saw that it was a musky colour coming out of my spine, which wasn't a good sign. At that moment, they induced me into a 12 day coma. Everyone had to dress in a gown, 2 masks and gloves because I was in ICU and so contagious. Since I couldn't breathe on my own, I had a breathing and feeding tube for 12 days, I honestly had no idea what was going on, which I guess in a way is a good thing. They had tried to wake me up from my coma a few times, but my brain was still so swollen that I was screaming at the top of my lungs, so they would have to induce me again for a few days. After the struggling battle, my brain had finally stopped swelling up.

On February 19th, 2012 was the day that they had permanently taken me out of my coma. The good thing is, when I woke up, I knew exactly where I was, I knew my name, birthday, anything the nurses asked me I knew, (except the day and time).

After a few days of waking up, I finally was sent out of ICU and sent into my own private room. While I was in the coma I had my stomach pumped, due to they thought I maybe have ulsters, so I still suffered from Pneumonia and the hospital born sickness C-defissiel (sorry I don't know how to spell that). While being in my private room, I started eating solid foods again, and started to strengthen my leg and arm muscles, by walking around with my walker around the floor. When the day came that I was clear of Pneumonia and C-defissiel, my sister and boyfriend had taken me on a walk, or shall as say, they pushed me while I was in my wheelchair, to check around the hospital.

I had so many people coming to me asking me if I was the girl who "had meningitis" they would all crowd around me and just say that they were shocked yet happy that I was still alive.

So after a few days of being in my private room, I was then transferred to a different floor to start physiotherapy. I did physiotherapy and occupational therapy for a few weeks. It was very tough at the beginning, but as each day passed by, it started to get better and easier. Then on March 7th, 2012, exactly a month from entering the hospital with this deadly disease, I got discharged, leaving healthy and happy to still be here. Mind you even though it's been a year, I am still very paranoid, not as bad as the first few months when I came home, but every so often if I have a headache I'll be paranoid, same with aches and pains around my body, but I know that it does and will get better. I'm happy to be here today to tell you my story of having Meningococcal Meningitis to tell you, that it does get better and life does go on.

And that was my story about having Meningococcal Meningitis.

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