It's Been A While....

Our journey with meningitis... Our journey with meningitis...

It's been a while. I'd love to say that things have been great, life is easy, and we have no problems. I'd love to say that I am not sleep deprived, on edge, and weepy.

On November 6th we left Orlando and drove to Illinois to see our son graduate from Navy boot camp. Something in me felt an overwhelming need for Mark to be at this milestone for our boy.We left with plenty of time so that the trip would not be rushed, in case the 18 hours in the car was rough on Mark. He did well though and the trip was enjoyable. We went to the airport with our boy on the 10th and watched his plane take off for A-school. We were SO proud of our son and his accomplishments! We drove home, again taking the trip a bit slowly so that Mark did well. We were home by the 13th of November.

On November 15, we left town to travel for about 2.5 hours for hubby to have surgery. Surgery was simple (just a lymph node resection) and hubby was discharged about four hours later.  I felt like we should stay in town for the afternoon/night and arranged for a hotel nearby because they will give us a discounted hospital rate. About four hours after discharge, hubby spiked a fever and began feeling absolutely horrible.  By 8 p.m. we were back at the hospital and by 3 p.m. the following day hubby was in ICU, on a ventilator, and diagnosed with a bacterial meningitis. The weeks following were incredibly rough. As Mark's white count continued to rise, the doctors were helpless to get the infection under control. Mark had swelling on his brain, silent seizures, and had to be kept sedated. Finally the doctors changed all medications and started the most potent antibiotic and antifungal mixture they could come up with.  Mark's white count was almost 40 before it started to finally go down, but it did finally start to respond.

Mark, miraculously, has exceeded all expectations that anyone had and not only lived, but was taken off the ventilator after three weeks and has no major brain trauma. We are far from over the ordeal though.  I have been with Mark 24/7 since he got sick.  We are still several hours from home and this makes things....interesting at times. After four weeks in ICU, Mark has now been transferred to a different hospital for rehab. His brain issues seem to be improving slowly. The most bothersome thing for him (besides losing an entire month and having no memory of even leaving town for surgery), is some perception and short-term memory issues. Hopefully these will continue to improve.

We have been moved to a different hospital now that can focus on Mark's rehab. We are still two hours from home. Although he "doesn't like it here," he is working hard to get back some muscle tone and endurance so that he can be released. They are telling us it could be another month here.

As overwhelming as all of this has been, a friend of ours started a donation account for Mark's hospital/medical expenses and has raised almost 3% of the funding to cover his hospital, medical, and rehab expenses.... What a blessing.

Mark still has a long road ahead of him, but I know with continued prayers and determination on his part will continue to improve... Please keep us in your thoughts as we continue this journey.

Thanks,  Teri

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