always wear your underpants (or, viral meningitis part II)

my apologies that it has taken me over a month to compose myself enough to write part two. (if you would like to hear all about part one of my meningitis saga, please click here. thank you, kindly.)
now, where were we? oh yes. i had been medically discharged from work by the onsite doctor at headquarters, and told to go to the emergency room with the words “i think you may have meningitis…”. upon hearing those words, i imagined myself touching the face of god Herself (i.e., dying) and decided that if this was the last time i’d be at my desk, i should probably tidy up a bit. i threw away a 2-day old yogurt cup sitting on my desk, and crossed off at least half of the items on my “to do” list.
mom and dad arrived at work to take me to the hospital. on the way there, my father (not known for his grace in times of trouble) said “i sure hope you have a will in order…” to which i burst into tears, imaging leaving my two year old twins in the hands of their biological father. alas, where were we? oh yes.
so. we arrive at the hospital, and i try very hard to convince the triage nurse that i do not have meningitis, but simply a bad headache. he agreed and said that my symptoms did not seem synonymous with meningitis. i was relieved to hear this, as all i could think about since the doctor at my work mentioned the word meningitis was “spinal tap, spinal tap, spinal tap...” - that dreaded procedure where they stick a needle the size of a no.2 pencil into your lower back and drain out your spinal fluid while you sit still and pretend to not be in agony. right. that sounds like a lot of fun, sign me up!
i was taken to the backward of the emergency room  where a very knowledgeable and cold doctor assumed responsibility over me. he did a brief exam and said that he was going to prepare for a lumbar puncture (spinal tap, spinal tap, spinal tap…) to which I said “i am not having that done,” and looked at him with the plainest look i could muster. he looked back at me in stunned disbelief – either at how stubborn i was, or not knowing what to say in response to my flat-out refusal of the procedure. he looked at me for what felt like five minutes, not saying a word, and then said “well, i’ll give you a minute to think it over” and left the room.
he came back into the room a few minutes later and did some neurological tests (point to your nose, point to my nose, point to your own finger), and he then asked me to close my eyes and put my hands out straight on front of me, keeping them parallel to the floor and at the same level. i tried and thought that i nailed it. but when i opened my eyes, one of my hands was way up in the air, the other one was by my waist. he again mentioned the lumbar puncture (spinal tap, spinal tap, spinal tap...) and i, again, refused. my mother was in the room and at this very moment, gave me that look that only a mother can give that says something along the lines of "my god, my own child, if this doesn't kill you, i will kill you myself!" (as a mother, i am hoping to master this look any day now).
and so, i agreed.
i'll leave what happened in the next 45 minutes to your imagination. let's just say that i've had heart surgery, have broken a bone, have had 16 lbs of twins untimely ripped from my womb via c-section, and this was undoubtedly the worst pain i have ever been in.
lumbar puncture complete. 15 minutes later, the doctor walks into the room wearing a gas mask, and handed two of them to my parents who were now sitting in the room and said "well, you have meningitis..." at this point, the room began to swirl around me in a cold, utter panic, and all i could think about was poor sweet nashota dale and ezekiel william succuming to this illness and dying. other than a lumbar puncture, the greatest pain in the world is imagining losing your own children.
they quickly hooked me up to an iv with horse-dosed antibiotics given to end-stage cancer patients, in the hopes that should this turn out to be bacterial meningitis, that i wouldn't actually lose my limbs or my life. the details from here on out are a bit foggy, as they started pushing serious doses of narcotics into my IV, which i tend to have a sensitivity to. flaming turkeys on the end of the bed? check! hallucinations of large bowls of oatmeal? got 'em! feeling like my insides are being ripped out?! yes! that's what narcotics do to me. i realize that people pay a hefty price on the street for narcotics of all sorts of shapes and colors. but keep them the hell away from me.
and as for the underpants? am i the only female in the world who doesn't wear underpants with stockings, tights or nylons? they have a nice, cloth piece sewn into the crotch, which makes you think that they can substitute for underpants. also, have you tried wearing underpants with tights? hello, panty lines? i always go commando with tights. so as the doctor is peeling off my tights to do another neurological exam and says in his best bedroom voice "it's okay, we can leave your underpants on..." and i respond with "i'm not wearing underpants", i was instantly transformed from sickly-30-something-who-won't-stop-fretting-about-her-twins-getting-meningitis to a mama-porn-star.
and to that i said, "you're welcome."
i was admitted for three days to the hospital. it was pretty boring. and thus concludes my meningitis tale. they assured me that my twins were not susceptible and that i needn't worry about them contracting meningitis. all in all, i got off pretty easy. some people with meningitis lose limbs or lose their minds. i simply lost two weeks of running and ten days off from work.
in summary, if you have a headache that lasts longer than three days, put on some underpants and go to the doctor.


  1. Ugh! You poor thing, glad everything ENDED well. Both my babies had spinal taps when they were a few months old, but BLESSEDLY they drug babies to sleep for the procedure. I like your summary.

  2. Holy crap. What a freaking story. So glad you are OK mama - and so sorry you had to go through these.

  3. OMG!!!!!! What a horrible horrible thing to go through. I am glad you are feeling better.

  4. Ashley, thanks again for the note on DM. And now I've had a chance to visit YOUR blog.

    Holy crap, what an ordeal you have just gone through. I'm glad you got the treatment you needed are are feeling better.

  5. thanks everyone! i'm on the mend and knocking out 10-minute-miles like it's 2011! wait...

  6. Only you can make meningitis funny. Thanks for sharing/baring all.

    I'm very glad that you came out running. You scared us all!


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