6 Sep 2011

Life Threatening Illness: The Symptoms

Disclaimer: before I go into details about childbirth, I want to share with you an important story about my life which is going to influence  my wishes.

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Summer 1999, after a wonderful Friday night out with a friend and some guys I went to bed happy. But, in the middle of the night severe headache, fever and chills woke me up. I was home with my uncle because my mother was on holiday in Ghana. I called out for my uncle and he came from the other room just in time to give me a bucket in which I vomited my ‘guts’ out. After vomiting I curled under winter covers to be able to warm myself to sleep. It wasn’t hangover!

The following morning I went to work as usual but I couldn’t concentrate or eat. To make sure I had something in my stomach my boss ordered my favourite breakfast – crossaint and ACE (orange, carrot and vitamin E) juice. I couldn’t take a bite or a sip. He could tell it was very serious, because normally I wouldn’t let that delicious breakfast stay there untouched. Plus, the morning light outside increased my headache.  He sent me home.

In the afternoon, after a long sleep but still feeling rotten, my uncle phoned my cousin who came to take me to our local hospital. Once there the doctors gave me fever medication. I felt better and went back home. My cousin’s girlfriend helped me take a bath. After the cold bath, I started to be chatty again. However, for precaution my cousin decided to sleepover.

It was luck because in the early morning of Sunday, the fever and chills took hold of me again. I needed to vomit and my senses were limited. I remember my cousin carrying me on his back, because I couldn’t walk to his car. The last thing I remember was insistently telling the doctor that I didn’t have malaria, because I haven’t being out of Italy for the past seven and plus years.

One of the doctors listened to my hallucinations me. I was recovered. My cousin and uncle were worried, because my mum was not around. What if something bad happened to me while in their care. They didn’t want to tell her anything to worry her. I don’t know what they said when she phoned each day wanting to talk to me while I was recovered.

Sunday morning the senior doctor, a smiling lady, visited me. I had to follow her to one of the testing rooms but I couldn’t walk. I was so feeble I had to hold on to her. She laughed and said: “Wait and see when you have to give birth. I can’t imagine how you coping well when you are in labour.” I turned to look at her with my sleepy eyes and said “I am not thinking about labour. I want to get well.” My breath seemed to have departed my soul. She could tell I was suffering and wasn’t in the mood to joke. She did the test and sent me back to my room.

Sunday afternoon she referred me to the special section of Verona’s General Hospital, my case was an emergency. The nice female doctor was not certain, but she suspected I had a life threatening illness.

While in the ambulance on my way to the hospital, half conscious, I thanked God for His protection – for waking me up in the middle of the night instead of letting me sleep through the night. For my uncle who didn’t sleep but stayed up the whole night to look after me. For my cousin who came and stayed with us in case I needed him. For the doctor who listened to me and didn’t send me home with fever tablets. For the nice female doctor who recognised the emergency of my situation.

The following day, Monday 09 August 1999, at the Verona hospital, the senior doctor confirmed the suspicion. I had the a life threatening illness, meningitis.

{To be continued} – What is meningitis?

7 comments:

  1. What an experience you have shared thus far! I am interested to see what happens next........ and how you got better.

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  2. it's amazing how gathers certain people around us in our time of need! i don't really know much about meningitis! so can't wait for the next part!

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  3. goodness, so great to hear you had so much support. when i moved into the dormitory for university there was so much literature going around about meningitis. glad your healthy today.
    p.s. you write so well!

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  4. Wow, what a scary thing to have happen to you! :O

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  5. you had a close call! Thank God for family and caring doctors for real!

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  6. i have been away for a while so i already read your most recent post ... i just want to say that i am so glad that you are ok and that everything turned out fine.

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