“Hi honey” my mom said. Hi mom! How are you feeling?” I reply as usual. It has become somewhat of a routine to visit my mom in the hospital while she recovers from surgery. At four years old, my mom contracted the deadly bacterial disease, bacterial meningitis. Since that time my mom has undergone ten neuro/surgical operations on her arms, legs, face, teeth and most recently on her brain.
My mom does not recall much of her hospitalization as a child, but what she does remember is her hospital room, I.V. lines draped from her body, severe headaches and feeling flu-ish. The I.V. lines felt like needles sticking inside her body. She was given her “last rights”. My mom spent two and a half weeks quarantine at rainbow and Children’s hospital and was discharged with a clean bill of health. If only that would of played out to be true. Unfortunately, she has experienced many neurological side effects since her near death experience with bacterial meningitis.
Symptoms and side effects my mo suffers from today all began to erupt at the age of twenty-one. She lost all of her hearing in her right ear. She always comments that she is very lucky. Most meningitis survivors lose hearing in both ears.
She suffers from an auto-immune disease called Vetiligo. Vetiligo is the loss in pigment in your skin cells. Vetiligos appearance is patchy like footprints in the snow. Although it is painless it can be disfiguring. My mom has never let that get her down. She always says “It’s what you look like on your inside that gets you into heaven.” She also says “As long as I have my husband and boys that’s all I need to make me feel pretty.” My mom has always been thankful that she survived her bout with bacterial meningitis to live on in life and become a register nurse.
My mom also suffers from a neurological disease that stems from her experience with meningitis. Trigiminal Neuralgia is a deficit in her facial and brain nerves. IT causes severe facial and head pain. It hurts as much as getting punched in the face by Rocky Balboa every five minutes of your day. Just in the past year my mom has undergone two brain surgeries and four jaw surgeries. Prior to these surgeries she has undergone countless oral surgeries. All of these surgeries have been unsuccessful in controlling her Trigiminal Neuralgia. Still my mom has a positive outlook on life. She enjoys and participates in all our sports, school and extra curriculum activities. She encourages sleepovers and family get together at our house. My mom loves to “snuggle” with her four boys while watching rented movies and NFL or college football games.
My mom is my rule model. She has taught me that no matter what do not ever give up! Negative feelings and thoughts will only tear you down and cause you to miss out on enjoying life. My mom lives today because she has a drive to enjoy life and appreciate every moment as if it was her last moment. The best medicine for my mom’s chronic neurological disabilities according to her is “lots of love, prayers, smiles, and positive thinking.”