In January, my twin sister had battled with bacterial meningitis. Thankfully, she has fully recovered and is springing back into life again. However, I can't stop thinking about what happened and all of the 'what ifs'. This post is a selfishly needy way of gaining empathy, and I had suffered nowhere near to how much my sister had suffered. I feel it's best to go over what happened that morning (sorry for the mad venting, it's driving me crazy)...
At 4am I was woken up by my mum exclaiming that there was something wrong with my sister (she had been unwell the day previous). I rushed downstairs to find her collapsed on the living room floor and fitting. We weren't sure what was wrong, but all I knew was she needed medical help and fast. Before we knew it, a paramedic arrived. He immediately requested for back up and asked questions like, "Is she under the influence of drugs or alcohol?", "Does she have autism?" then it clicked. She had something wrong neurologically. Before back up arrived, my fight or flight response kicked in (which isn't difficult when diagnosed with GAD) and I fled upstairs because I was going to faint. God forbid they needed two ambulances! Two more paramedics arrived and tried to lift her up into a wheelchair. I heard this horrifying, raspy howl coming from downstairs. It was my sister. I remember it like it was yesterday, my stomach dropped what feels like 5 metres just writing about it. Before long, she was brought outside. I peaked out the window and saw her head slumped backwards, her mouth agape. It was like she was lifeless.
She was in hospital for 6 days. The first two days were painful. She had been unconscious and unaware of her actions. From what I was told, she had no control of her body whatsoever. She fought the doctors and nurses, bashed her head on the metal bars of her bed in A&E and gave herself a black eye, ripped out her catheter and IV and undressed herself. It took six people to hold her down! She then sat there with her eyes wide open but pupils completely dilated. My mum and dad were traumatised. I just remember the night, how difficult it was to sleep. Every phone call caused an anxiety attack. I couldn't eat because my stomach was full of butterflies. Then the next morning my dad rushed up the stairs and was on the phone. Instinctively, I rushed out of bed praying it wasn't what I feared most. He handed me the phone. It was her. I had never been more excited and relieved to hear her voice in my life! All of my fears of never speaking to her again had vanished! She was groggy and confused, she lost her train of thought (an after effect to this day). She says she doesn't remember anything. She only remembers going downstairs and slumping herself on the sofa. She then tried to get up for a drink and collapsed knocking everything off the coffee table in the process.
But here comes the alternative scenarios my stupid brain makes up. What would've happened if she didn't go downstairs? If a loud crash wasn't made? If my mum didn't respond to it as quickly as she did? If she didn't respond to antibiotics as amazingly as she did? A small sepsis rash developed on her in A&E, what if she was found a couple hours later? I hate thinking these things, it makes me sick to my stomach. I'm told that I shouldn't think of these scenarios because they didn't happen, but I can't stop my mind from racing.
Phew... Sorry for the long, too detailed and somewhat narcissistic post. What I'm trying to get at is, has anyone else felt the same way?
Thank you in advance.
(And for those who're currently witnessing a loved one go through meningitis, my thoughts are with you all and I hope for them to have a speedy recovery)