My name is Mick Cassidy and I’m a regular person just like you.
Day 1: Friday April 10th 2010 was like any other day for me. That afternoon at 3pm my wife and I went to have coffee and a muffin, by 4pm I was back working in my garage and when 5pm came with the sunshine it was about 75 degrees. I began to feel a little tired, then started to get a little cold and I thought to myself “Hmmm, maybe I’m getting food poisoning from that muffin” I just eaten. At 5:30pm I could hardly hold the car buffer I was using. Then suddenly I was standing in the sun light with a jacket on shaking and shivering with cold. I thought to myself, “It must have been that muffin”, as food poisoning can come that quickly. Now it is 6 pm and I went to go lay down in bed and covered up in blankets. I could hardly speak my teeth were chattering. By 6:30pm I thought to myself I need to force myself to throw up and get this bad food out of my stomach. I induced vomiting and I threw up really hard. After that I felt good I sat in front of the TV fixed myself a salad had a glass of wine and at 10:30 pm I went to bed.
At 2:30 am I woke up it felt like my chest was on fire at first. I didn’t feel too good and as I sat up and I was gasping for air. At first I thought this is a dream. I sat on the edge of the bed wondering what is wrong with me I could barely speak or breathe I could not bend down to put my shoes on. I got my wife to immediately take me to the emergency room. I walked in whispering and gasping saying “I can’t breathe”, the nurse put me in a wheelchair. I had to wait 20 minutes during that time I was craving water. I was so thirsty I did get to have 4 small cups of it. The nurses thought I had swine flu and pneumonia, but that was quickly ruled out. I was now in the Intensive Care Unit and was placed on a breathing machine. I had cat scans and chest x- rays the next day my fever was 98/99 degrees. The hospital had ice packs all over my body as I was burning up. I was also heavily sedated and was not allowed any water only a few chips of ice.
Day 3: I do not remember anything I had to have chest surgery apparently as my lungs and chest had filled with fluid drainage tubes removed most of it. The next surgery was to relieve the pressure on my heart as fluid had built around it, and this caused my heart to enlarge.
I was sedated all the time I’m told I could not breathe on my own. I was on a breathing machine for the next four days and still in the ICU. During this time the doctors had discovered it was Meningococcal Meningitis. I had four or five IV tubes in my body with antibiotics going every few hours.
Day 8: I woke up and the nurses finally got me off the breathing machine. I was having a hard time wheezing and breathing; I was taken out of ICU. I remember looking down at my chest and all the tubes coming out of it. I asked the nurse what happened to me and she told me I came in contact with this bacterium (Meningococcal Meningitis).
I live a pretty secluded life. I work at home and I am seldom around people. I could not think how this happened. I had been going to the gym a lot and possibly got it there.
Day 9: My coughing was bad, it would not stop. I had constant sweating and drinking iced water. The drugs they gave me kept me calm and I didn’t panic. I did not know how long I was going to be there.
Day 10: My chest tubes were removed and my white blood cell count got closer to normal. The doctors did not tell me much only that I was in the right place and that I was a very lucky person. I got up and started to try to walk a bit, I was gasping for air and out of breath after 10 steps. I could not understand this. I began to pray and do exercises to strengthen my legs which were like jelly.
Day 11: I felt a little better but I wanted to get out of the hospital. I began to think of committing suicide. That there was no hope for me that I was never going to leave this place. At night I had bad sweating fevers and I would wake up thinking I was in a forest. I seriously had begun to think of ways to do it, now I wonder was it the drugs they gave me to keep me calm. My progress was getting better. I felt better and the doctors were amazed that I had not much in the line of side effects. I could be going home soon. I was still on strong antibiotics every 6 hours, and drugs to dry out my lungs which was why my cough had gotten better somewhat.
Day 12: I was going home!! I was happy when I got outside, but the light really hurt my eyes and I felt very strange. When I got home I did not want to be there. It was so quiet; I began to panic if I was left alone. My chest felt smaller and I could not fully extend my lungs. I had difficulty sleeping that night and I was still sweating.
My recovery: I realized that I had survived a deadly bacterial disease when I got home and goggled it. I was worried; as I am an artist. Would I ever paint again? This disease has given me a few minor balance problems and a few headache and lung problems along with major financial problems to the tune of $243,000. I can say that one year later it has completely changed my life. It has given me a new outlook on life. I have experienced survivors’ guilt. I was so lucky I got to the hospital quickly as the first 12 hours are critical to your survival once you come down with the symptoms. It is contagious. To everyone who reads my story I urge you to KNOW THE SYMPTOMS. You could save your loved ones or yourself. I did not have the typical sore neck, headache and nausea symptoms. I was also lucky I did not lose any limbs. There is a vaccine for this.
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