One sunny morning, I went to the post office and left my fiancé, Jane, making breakfast. She called me 20 minutes later with a very weak voice saying that she had collapsed on the floor and to get home quickly.
Neither of us knew what was happening to her, or how our lives were about to take an unimaginable change for the worse.
The local hospital diagnosed Jane with pneumonia and said she would have to stay in for a few days - they totally missed the indications of meningitis. From that moment onwards, Jane and I fought day and night for months to keep her alive.
We lived in Thailand where the healthcare is minimal, and so when the money started to run out, Jane ended up in a hospital near to her home. It felt like they gave up on her, and they told me that she was going to die at any time. By this point, she had almost died on 6 occasions and weighed just 15 kilos.
But I never gave up on Jane and told her to do the same. She survived through courage and a whole lot of constant love from me - I slept on a concrete floor to be with her so that she knew she was not on her own.
They finally sent Jane home with the diagnosis that she would never be able to move her body, eat, drink, speak, or do anything.
It’s now nearly 3 years down the line and Jane’s feeding tube is long gone (she can eat more than me!), she drinks by herself, has got full upper body movement, can speak, tell jokes, and has been on 2 holidays.
Jane cannot walk so is in a wheelchair and her speech is a bit slurred, but apart from that she is doing well. She goes to a physiotherapist session twice a week, and we dream that one day, Jane’s legs will link up with her brain again. I wish I could get her to a Western hospital, where I’m sure with her courage, Jane would improve leaps and bounds.
I wish they had specialised meningitis hospitals in every country in the world because meningitis is a brutal disease. It has wrecked our lives and our dreams, but my message to anybody touched by this awful disease is to never give up and keep on fighting. We are in the process of putting our lives back together, and maybe next year with a bit of luck, we will get married.