Lynn’s headaches changed one day and the palliative care nurse directed us to wait overnight and see how it went. At 5:30 the next morning we were on our way to the ER. They ran test after test, each one telling us nothing. We spent the day in the ER waiting for many different test results, or a doctor to decypher them. By late afternoon they did a spinal tap on Lynn and the analysis was positive for meningitis. We were moved immediately to an isolation area and then admitted to the hospital ICU. An infectious disease specialist was assigned along with the other medical staff. More and more blood was taken and results were inconclusive as to the type of meningitis.
This monitoring and testing went on for several days. One doctor told me that they can only test for a small percentage of all the types of meningitis. This is not reassuring. All I knew was that Lynn was very sick again and not eating again. I can’t tell you how disappointing this all was. We were just feeling good about Lynn’s recovery and this happens. How did she manage to get meningitis? Hadn’t she been through enough? I had one doctor pull me into the hall and tell me that Lynn’s condition was serious. She said that the only other time she had experienced a case like hers, the patient had passed in a few days. Wait, what!? I broke down in tears, sobbing. She said she just wanted me to know and be prepared. I have always asked all involved to be completely honest, but this was a lightning bolt. I gathered myself and spent the rest of the day with Lynn in her room. I couldn’t bring myself to tell her what the doctor had told me. I didn’t see the point.
The next day, Lynn was put on a heavy duty dose of intravenous antibiotics, along with all the other normal things. Several days of this protocol helped Lynn to feel better, and she was able to eat a little. After 8 days in the hospital we were able to go home again, accompanied by some very expensive antibiotics to take at home. As before, we didn’t care as much about the medicines as much as just getting Lynn home again. She needed medicine, food, rest and comfort. She had lost too much weight and strength. It’s not that the health care was poor, because the medical staff was very good as was the hospital. It’s just that the ICU is very active and noisy. It’s no place for a sick person.