Meningitis in your words

Gary William Frazier's story

  • Location: England
  • Categories: Pneumococcal
  • Age: Child 6-12
  • Relationship: Self
  • Outcome: Recovery with after effects
  • After effects: Hearing problems
Gary William Frazier

In 1971, when I was a ten year old, fourth grader, I became ill. Because of a 10-week coma, I remember nothing from my first hospitalisations (then again, in 1974, when my first shunt came out and I lapsed into a five day coma, I don't remember being in two of three hospitals).

When I awakened, I was used to deafness and didn't understand how until 1999, when I was in a month-long coma and, afterwards my wife told me I'd talked to people, in ICU...the only thing is, I couldn't give coherent answers to simple questions like what my name was.

All in all, I've lived 39+ years, with disabilities, ranging from total deafness, to mobility and memory problems. When I began the fifth grade, I realised I'd also lost my academic superiority and, later, learned I'd also lost my ability to excel in sports.

"I couldn't go back to work, couldn't do a lot of things I had before"

Over the years, a lot has been told me (by warring sides of my family), and I've tried to piece the events together as well as possible.

What I know is that Mom didn't believe I was sick and waited two weeks before she took me to Dr. Scott "to prove (I) was faking," to quote her.

The events, transpiring from the time we arrived at his office, led to the discovery of meningitis – in the latter stages – and Mom was told I wouldn't live more than two weeks. Every time I've been in the hospital, Dad was told not to expect me to live to go home, but I am still here.

In 1999, Dr Fick was forced due to my health problems to repair the shunt he'd installed in 1997. That led to the Staph Infection, which was his reason for not repairing the shunt as soon as they found the problem.

When I was released from the hospital, I came home, couldn't go back to work, couldn't do a lot of things I had before and, later, ended up spending most of my days at my wife's office. In time, however, I began to improve and, in November 1999, I had my first seizure, which caused Dr Spiegel to say he was amazed I hadn't had one, 29+ years before.

In the past 10 and a half years my problems have worsened. Memory dysfunction has become worse and my balance has as well. I've spent the majority of my days at home, because disability isn't what some people might think it is. I spend a lot of time writing and hope to, one day, publish a book in which I have a character, who lost a hand to meningococcal septicaemia.

Gary William Frazier
September 2010