Meningitis in your words

Mary Brush's story

  • Location: USA
  • Categories: Viral
  • Age: Adult 25-59
  • Relationship: Self
  • Outcome: Recovery with after effects
  • After effects: Memory loss
Mary Brush

I was 20 when I had the first genital herpes outbreak. I didn't know what it was, but there had been news reports about the new STD, genital herpes.

My OB/GYN treated me with gentian violet and a light. I doubt that that treatment has any effect; but in seven days, the outbreak was over.

Fast forward a few years, I'm 25 or 27, and I get what feels like the flu, but with a very stiff neck to boot! I worked for an ENT group so I went on into work

"told me to go home and rest; just the Flu"

Dr. Reeves, one of the best diagnosticians I have ever met, took a look at me and sent me to our HMO. The HMO told me to go home and rest; just the Flu.

I went back to work to get my things, and Dr. Reeves was very concerned that I was back and called his buddy Dr. Yancy Beamer. The next thing I know I'm having a spinal tap at the ER.

I was diagnosed with viral menningitis, most likely contracted from a mosquito. No one could figure out where I picked it up from. This was California and I lived two blocks from Huntington Beach pier. Not many mosquitoes at the beach. Since genital herpes was so new on the radar, no one asked me if I'd ever had it and I didn't volunteer that information. It was a shameful thing to have had an STD, I wasn't bringing that up! 

"I have the C-section and then wait in recovery for hours"

Now I'm 29 ,6 weeks pregnant with my first child, and I have my first herpes attack in years. My OB tests me, which is negative, and then lets me know I will be having a scheduled C-section within two weeks, even if I never have another outbreak. I didn't during the entire pregnancy. No other choice without a threat of infection to the baby.

I have the C-section and then wait in recovery for hours. St. Joseph hospital in Orange, CA can't decide where to put me; someone who has had the herpes virus within a year, and may be "shedding". Really? They finally put me in a private room on the surgical floor. Mark my door with bio-hazard signs, try to keep my baby down two floors in the nursery, ask all my visitors to wear gowns and gloves, and basically treat me like a leprosy patient form years ago.

One nurse told me I couldn't lay MY child on my chest, but to place a sheet between us. The birth registrar had me wear gloves to handle her pen while I signed the birth certificate. I didn't even have an active outbreak.

Since then I have had mile shingles twice, and treated with anti-viral medication. I seldom have outbreaks now.

Mary Brush
December 2013