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 ONE

Thursday, 10.01.2013. I was at university preparing for the deadline I had that next day. I remember exactly which room I was in, exactly what chair I was sat on and which computer I used to search the most vital definition I needed in my life.

I got a phone call from Jacob during my break. He sounded completely fine, normal if you will. He told me that he had to go to the doctors and have some bloods taken as he was not well. I told him I could ditch university to go and be with him but he told me he was fine, he was with his Mother and all would be well. We left that phone call and I continued my day as normal totally oblivious. The next phone call between Jacob and I, he told me that things had developed and he was now going to the hospital and that he was still okay. He must have reminded me that he was doing fine at the end of every sentence. He demanded me to stay at university and that he would be home in no time, I had no need to worry. A part of me felt I wanted to be with him. Jacob going to hospital scared me more than I thought it would, so I asked him which hospital he was at with a full intention of walking out of that building. Just before Jacob opened his mouth to tell me the name of the hospital, his phone died. Gone. It was almost like a scene of a movie, where the phone cuts off and you're left in a panic with the unknown.




I contacted his brother to inform me of Jacob's whereabouts. 'Jacob has been rushed to Blackpool Victoria Hospital and he is in ICU'. Remember when I had to use the computer for a definition which changed my life? This was it. I have been lucky enough to live my life not knowing that ICU stood for the Intensive Care Unit. As I hit search on Google, I came across an article which told me a terrifying statistic of how many people don't leave that unit alive. I remember feeling a cold sensation take over my body as I sat there staring at the screen. The whole room continued to live their lives as mine stood still for that moment to take in what I had just read.

I was silent as I travelled home via public transport. I grabbed a bag, filled it with necessities for one night and left for a two hour journey yet again, via public transport to Blackpool Victoria Hospital. I had no clue where I was going, but I will always remember my taxi driver who took me from the train station to the hospital door. He must have taken one look at me and wondered why I was so pale, so silent. I could see his eyes flicking at his mirror to gain eye contact as he asked me why I was going to the hospital. I was stone cold by this point. I grabbed my bag as the driver opened the door for me. I was searching for my purse until I felt him put his hand on my shoulder as he gained eye contact with me and nodded. He didn't bother to charge me any money I owed him for that journey. But his last, haunting words to me were, 'hope is a powerful thing'. I owe this man not only his money, but for those words I cherished throughout that night.

I pressed the telecom to enter the Intensive Care Unit, then I was shown the waiting room. Little did I know at this point that that waiting room would be my unexplained sanity for the next week. I was greeted by Jacob's sister-in-law who warned me of what I was about to see. Jacob was described as swollen, pale with blotches covering his whole body and in a worrying state.

Walking past the curtain and focusing my eyes on Jacob for the first time still haunts me to this day. I had been previously told Jacob had suspected Meningitis, but I had no clue what this was about to do to both of our lives. I still feel foolish for the lack of knowledge that would soon change my life for good, but I feel naive for thinking Jacob would have walked out of that hospital that same night.
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