Gerald LaMark

Gerald LaMarkHi! My name is Gerald LaMark. The year 2012 was one of the worst years of my life when it came to my health. I was 22 years old at the time and I underwent two different surgeries for having multiple cysts or the scientific term “chalazion” on my lower and upper eyelid of the left side of my face. After my second surgery (which took place in May of 2012) of extracting the bacteria, I was put on long term antibiotics by the surgeon who operated on me. After I finally got of the antibiotics, I immediately started feeling sick. I would wake up every day with a headache and would take heavy doses of ibuprofen 800mg tablets to make the pain go away. But then by next morning it was back again. This repeated for about a week straight. In the meantime, I was just living my normal life and going to work every day. I thought I was just sick you know. My body then started rejected everything I ate. I was throwing up and unable to digest anything I tried to eat. As my work week went on, I made an appointment with my family doctor. I remember being sick as a dog when I went to see him. I was having trouble even walking at this point. If I’m correct he prescribed me a steroid and just told me to try and rest and if I feel any worse …. Go to the ER. I think it was maybe 1 or two days later, I asked my father to take me to the ER. While in the emergency room, they took my blood and ran tests on me but couldn’t find out just what was wrong with me. I remember they told my dad, “We think he might have west nile but we aren’t sure.” I then left the hospital and went back home.

On the way home I threw up out my dad’s car. The next night was it. I remember telling my roommate ” Dude, I don’t know what’s wrong with me but, I really just want to go out for a little and try to have a little fun”. He took me to a local bar where a lot of our friends hung out at. When we arrived I ordered one beer. During the time it took me to drink that beer I started slurring my words. I was trying my hardest to converse with people, but it was like I was drinking all night and I kept slurring my words. We were only there for maybe 20 minutes until I asked my roommate to escort me back home. On the way home I called my mother and told her there’s something seriously wrong with me and I don’t know what to do. My head was pounding; the pain was like nothing I have ever felt before. It wasn’t a really bad headache; it was my brain swelling. I got home and my roommate had to walk me up to my bed. He was really worried about me and I kept telling him I’m alright I just need to lay down. When I laid down in my bed I went completely unconscious. I’m not sure how long I was out but I then was awakening by my parents and a bunch of paramedics. I sat up in my bed and began spitting out random letters and numbers to my family trying my hardest to communicate with them and let them know what was wrong with me. But I couldn’t do it. I lost my ability speak. The paramedics thought I was over dosing on drugs. They searched my entire apartment for drugs before they took me to the hospital. My roommates were screaming at them saying to get me there asap and letting them know I was sick for an entire week with severe headaches and such.

After being admitted to the hospital on September 10th 2012, there is not much I remember. Based on knowledge I received from family and friends I was in a coma for a couple days. I then woke up and I couldn’t talk or read period. I tried my hardest to talk but I couldn’t think of the words I needed to say. They then told me I was diagnosed with Bacterial Spinal Meningitis. Something I have never even heard of before. I didn’t remember getting a spinal tap. My family told me it took seven security guards to hold me down for the spinal tap. As I read later, when your brain is in this critical state there is no controlling how your body reacts to the pain of your brain swelling.

I was released from the hospital after a week and a half of being admitted. I left with an IV that was installed in my inner bicep that was ran up through my arm and directly into a major vein connected to my heart. I had to inject myself every day with a heavy dose of antibiotics. I had to re learn how to talk and how to read again and still to this day (two years later) I still have trouble in a social environment. I had to rebuild my vocabulary because there was so much that I forgot. And my memory is really bad. Both short term and long term. It really sucks but I am just happy I’m alive and 100% functioning normally. There could have been a number of things that could have went wrong during this whole process that I am thankful for not occurring. They told my family they were afraid I was going to lose my eye sight or hearing. I have heard stories of people surviving meningitis that are now completely paralyzed in certain areas of their body. Bacterial Spinal Meningitis is one of the scariest things to ever obtain. You don’t even know you have it. In fact, nobody does. Not your doctor, not the guy at the ER. Nobody until they extract your spinal fluid and test it. It’s the reason why so many people die from this. I am very lucky and fortunate that I am alive and healthy and I hope that you find this information helpful. Thank you.