Meningitis in your words

Dianora 's story

  • Categories: Group B meningococcal (MenB)
  • Age: Young Adult 20-25
  • Relationship: Self
  • Outcome: Recovery with after effects
  • After effects: Memory loss
On March 3rd 2020, I wasn't feeling well. I hadn't being feeling well for a few days.

I live with 3 roommates as we attend Massachusetts College of Art and Design in Boston Ma. My roommates were aware of me not feeling well and had been taking care of me. On the morning of March 3rd I was feeling terrible, my roommate and best friend Lauren knew something was wrong. In the four years we have known each other I have never been sick. I called the clinical at my school who could not give me an appointment for that day. I texted my mother to ask my dad to pick me up. As I waited for my dad to come get me I got progressively worse.

Lauren took my temperature it was 102, she brought me water and after drinking it, I started to throw it back up. She became nervous and called my parents then requested her to call an ambulance. Everything after this moment has been told to me by friends and family because although I was awake and talking I do not remember any of it. The paramedics arrived, at this point I was delirious. They asked what day of the week it was and I said June. At this point they new something was wrong and decided to bring me to Brigham and Women's Hospital in Boston.
The ambulance ride was about 2 minutes since the hospital was right down the road from my apartment. At that point I was thrashing around and they had to restrain me. Lauren at first was the only person in the ER with me until my dad got there.

Once my dad was there they started taking many vials of blood trying to determine what was wrong. When they started to narrow down that it could possibly be meningitis, they needed to take spinal fluid. They already had me on antibiotics for viral and bacterial and steroids prior to fully knowing. In order to do that they believed that putting me in a medically induced coma and intubating me was the best option. This happened on March 3rd and I woke up on March 5th.
When I woke up they asked me the day, which I said was Tuesday (March 3rd). For the next day and half I continued my stay in ICU. The staff often asked me questions like what day is it? what month is it? Who is the president? They chuckled when I grumbled Trump unhappily. On March 6th two ICU nurses helped me out of bed and held me up while we walked around the floor to get me moving again. This was my first time out of the bed in 3 days. 

March 6 I was moved to a neurology floor. I stayed here until March 11. During this time I had many meetings with doctors. The doctors were confused as to how I caught Bacterial Meningitis since I did receive my vaccines. They continued to run test to see what possibly cause this.
Dianora Bennet
Now about 6 months later my doctor believes I had Meningitis B which I did not have the vaccine for because it has been more recently developed. I spent most of my time asleep when in the hospital and didn't eat much because of all the drugs leaving my system made me feel gross. I always had company whether it was my friends, family or even the nurses taking 5 extra minutes out of their day to talk to me which I truly appreciate. I left the hospital on March 11 and went home with my family to further my recovery.

The COVID-19 lockdown started about a week later and then I started virtual classes the next week. The after effects of having meningitis for me have been short term memory loss and fatigue. I am very lucky that Lauren was there that day.
As an artist I found that this experience has work its way in to my art. I often find my self creating little yellow ochre feet as though they are my feet in the hospital socks. For me this is representative of this time in my life, my feet seemed to a way for people to connect to me when they visited they would grab and squeeze my foot. I think is because they weren't able to hug me and this is the closest the could get to that.
I'm truly grateful for my friends, family, the paramedics and doctors that helped me to get through this tough time and took great care of me.

Dianora Bennett
November 2020

Detailed information about the after effects of meningitis

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