SLIDER

SUMMER WHITTAKER


'When you can tell your story and it doesn't make you cry, you know you are healing.'

- unknown.

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MENINGITIS & ME | CHAPTER 2


I remember looking at this man and the people around him as I witnessed a love I had only once seen before, at my Father's funeral six months earlier. It's the unspoken love that comes apparent when somebody is in desperate need, a love I try and show more often to those who mean the most. I still wonder to this day what thoughts were going around the hospital bed as we gazed down at Jacob. I knew what I was thinking, but it pains me still to this very day to say it aloud.

As each person began to leave, I decided to pull up a chair and stay by Jacob's side. He was awake at this point, but the agony was developing, he was uncomfortable and all I wanted to do was to kiss him and mend his heart and body. He cannot remember most of this first night, but all he does remember is asking me to take a photograph of his face. He knew he was covered in the rash, but I refused to show him what I was seeing. I was scared this could be a breaking point for a person with so little strength. Instead, I took a photograph of his back, to show him the rash he desired to see.





CLICK HERE TO READ CHAPTER ONE -

Hours went by as I kept hold of his hand. The nurse looked at me and suggested I go home to get some sleep, so I called for Jacob's brother who kindly gave me a lift in a town I knew so little of. My final words to Jacob that night spoke about how much I love this man and that I will see him tomorrow. Little did I know they were sedating him a few hours after I left.

I cried when I was told that morning because I wished my final words could have been something so incredible that he could keep hold of whilst he was dreaming. I beat myself up about this for days, but I stayed true to my word and I went back the next day to sit by his side as the hours slowly went by. I looked at his body and wondered how I was supposed to say goodbye. I genuinely thought that this was the end but as my taxi driver told me, 'hope is a powerful thing'.

All of the days spent in ICU merged into a blur. Time became irrelevant and unknown. I would wake up, go to sit next to Jacob, leave at night, sleep and then repeat the next day. Looking back, I remember feeling numb and stone cold. My tears were no longer, my smile was non existent, my future was fading. I have a lack of memory through this stage because I had never experienced this before. My Father passed away unexpectedly in his sleep at home. There was no visible illness, no hospital visits, this was the first I had experienced and it was the man I wanted to marry.

Jacob remained in an induced coma, his organs began failing one by one, two blood transfusions were needed and the only thing keeping him alive was a machine. Something we thought was less important at the time was that the septicaemia had severely damaged his toes. They were black. You could see them day by day beginning to dry up as death spread further down the feet. I wondered what would have happened at this stage, but I didn't care. I wanted Jacob to open his eyes and feel me there with him.

Jacob's family and myself got pulled into a room to discuss Jacob's outcome. With a predicted ten percent chance of survival, we were told that if he made it through, he could have life changing affects. His lungs may be damaged meaning he could no longer play sport. He could have brain injuries from the trauma. Then his feet were mentioned and this is the first time amputation got briefly mentioned, just for a second before he emphasised on the fact he had a ten percent chance of survival.

The pictures I have shared are some that Jacob has kept to himself. Jacob saw these photographs afterwards and looked at this guy, but claimed it wasn't him. I think he simply could not believe what he was looking at and wanted to prolong this harsh reality. He was the one who suggested I share these with you because he isn't scared of these photographs anymore. He doesn't see himself in these images, he sees himself progressing and aiming towards the future.

They began to wake Jacob for the first time from his coma when his Father and I were in the room. Jacob opened his eyes slowly uncertain of anything in life, but he smiled as he saw his Father and I, that's when I knew this man could pull through. The moment we looked at each other and shared a smile is when I felt complete in my life. I knew he could do it.
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