Hillary Vanasse

When I was 8 years old I left school on a Friday with a headache and fatigue. I became increasingly sick throughout the night (severe vomiting, fever) and could not sleep or even keep water down... My parents initially thought it was a 24 hour bug, as kids get.

The next day my mom was running errands and my dad was watching me... I remember being delirious as I started to drift in and out of "sleep". We learned later that I was slipping into a coma. When my mom returned home and my dad was relieved to assure her that I was finally sleeping, "mothers intuition" kicked in and she insisted on waking me.

By the the time they were scooping me up to go to the hospital I was totally delirious, also yelling about a pain in my neck. My dad drove through red lights with me beside him, trying to make me stay awake as I was slipping again. My last memory is of bouncing up and down while he ran like a madman to the emergency room, and of the triage nurse jumping up and dropping her pencil.  I stopped breathing moments before reaching the door.

There just happened to be a team from Sick Kids hospital there, like RIGHT THERE, when we entered (Ajax hospital).

My heart stopped briefly but they revived me.

Without knowing anything about what was happening - one of the Sick Kids doctors administered an antibiotic that would save my life. I was rushed to Sick Kids in Toronto, where it was determined that I had bacterial meningitis (meningococcal). I was in a coma for 3 days...

When I awoke my recovery was unbelievably speedy, and I left the hospital a healthy girl in 8 days. The type of meningitis that I has was atypical, in that it only occurred in toddlers below the age of 4. My case was documented and I went back to Sick Kids every several months for the next 2 years to determine if I had any adverse cognitive effects (thankfully I didn't!).

The doctors said that if I had been left for 10 minutes longer on my couch, that I would have died. My life is thanks to my mother, father, and the amazing team of professionals who acted swiftly and instinctively to save me. I am eternally thankful:)

Of those who catch Bacterial Meningitis die, if left untreated
Of Bacterial Meningitis cases occur between the ages of 14-24

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