“Mr. Zima…wake up!”
I was yanked out of my sleep by the voice of the nurse.
Time to have blood drawn. It was 4 a.m. and my skin had that sticky feeling of being in a bed for a week. I just wanted a shower.
Later, my friends came and something seemed off when they spoke to me. As they spoke, I put my hand over my ear. Hand off – loud. Hand on my right ear – all was normal. Hand on my left ear…the voices went mute. What was going on?
On the few times I did try to stand up, I noticed other problems. My right arm seemed to be stuck like a chicken wing. My mind thought out the command for the arm to move but it just stayed in place. I grabbed it with my left arm and pulled. It moved like I was in an arm wrestling contest against myself.
“How much longer until I get out?” I asked the doctor.
“Maybe in a few more days”.
5 days came and went and I was still there. My beard now covered the healing sores on my face.
Finally came the big day. Freedom! The IV tubes were removed and I was helped into the wheel chair. The doors opened and I could finally see the sun. After I was escorted into the car seat and belted in, we off for home. A slow parade of buildings moved by just outside the window. I was never happier to see the strip malls and fast food restaurants in my life.
Now came the second phase: recovery. This is what I knew. That somehow I contracted Spinal Meningitis. My body was unable to process commands due to my brain being damaged by the swelling. I had lost a lot of weight and was very weak. To top it off, my hearing was gone in the right ear.
The good news: I was alive.