it was monday, october 31st. amongst the chaos of getting my twin toddlers ready for trick 'o treating, i was battling what i will refer to as an epic headache. i had been sick with what i thought was the flu the week prior, but over the weekend had rallied and was feeling pretty good. i was even able to go out for a little 3 mile run on sunday and although my body felt weak, i felt amazing for just getting over a 102.5 temp on wednesday, thursday and friday. but by monday night, the epic headache had descended upon me with a vengeance.
after trick o' treating, we headed home for the typical nightly ritual with the twins. but no amount of ibuprofen or acetaminophen would touch the headache. after a night of no sleep and increasing pain, tuesday came and went. same headache, no relief. by tuesday night, i had a fever of 100 and figured that the flu had come back from the week prior.
wednesday morning, i got out of bed after another night of lost sleep from the throbbing headache and eye pain and attempted to get ready for work. it was pathetic to witness, i'm sure. as i stumbled to the bathroom, clutching the walls along the way, i mentioned something half-jokingly to my husband along the lines of "i think i have meningitis". i don't know where this thought came from, it just sort of flew out of my mouth like a bird. once in the shower, i realized that i couldn't tilt my head backwards to wash my hair. it was 5:30 a.m., my temp was about 101.
my father, knowing how sick i was, offered to give me a ride into work that morning so that i wouldn't have to wait for the bus in the cold. once in the car, i debated with him about going to the doctor... "i just don't want to pay the $55 copay to have them tell me that i have the flu, and send me home", i whined. but once i arrived at work and my boss got a good look at me, she suggested that i pop downstairs and visit the clinic at work. i work at target headquarters, and apparently they have an on-site clinic with a real doctor, not just a nurse practitioner or receptionist with a stethoscope. this was news to me. so at 8:00 a.m., i called from my desk phone and made an appointment for 9:30 a.m.
the 90 minutes that passed between that phone call and the appointment felt like an eternity. i really don't think i did any work. i sat in my chair, literally shaking from chills and almost vomiting from the headache and eye pain. it took everything i had to make it to 9:30. i was hoping for some sort of diagnosis of the flu or a sinus infection... something that would send me off to the pharmacy for a nice, horse-sized dose of antibiotics.
once at the appointment, the doctor took my symptoms very seriously and said that she didn't think that it was a sinus infection, nor did she really think it was the flu. she said that my symptoms sounded like meningitis, but she wanted to do a flu test before shipping me off to the ER. at her mention of the word 'meningitis', i went into a complete and utter rat sh*t panic. in the fifteen minutes it took the flu rapid test to come back, i was shaking and whimpering out prayers to Whomever would listen - "please let it be the flu. please let it be the flu..." when the flu test came back negative, the doctor said "i think you really need to go to the ER to rule a few things out. do you have anyone who can drive you?". at this point, the headache was so intense, along with the wracking chills and panic attack at the thought of having meningitis, that i don't remember much. in my stupor, i stumbled back up to my desk and called my mom, saying that i needed a ride to the hospital because the doctor at target thought i had meningitis. she said that she and my dad would be there as quick as possible to get me.
in the ten minutes or so that i had to wait, i tidied up things at my desk and put my "affairs in order", so to speak. i figured that if i didn't die from this, i was at least going to be out of the office for a good week or so. i turned on my 'out of the office' email assistant, and cleaned up the surface of things - i didn't really want someone finding a 3-day-old yogurt container or a half-checked-off 'to do' list on my desk if i died and they had to go through my things.
<to be continued...>