By Laura: San Marcos, TX

My first episode of meningitis was in 1980. I was 24 years old and was hospitalized for 10 days. I have had recurring meningitis at least 15 times. The first few times, I was hospitalized and spinal fluid was removed for a diagnosis. Each successive episode for 12 years was less severe than the one before. At the end of that period, I was able to just stay in bed for 2 days before I was better. 

I had a few years with no episodes, then it started up again with a 4 day hospitalization and then getting less and less severe. Each time I went to the hospital, I was told it was meningitis, but I could not possibly have gotten it so many times. 

My last episode was in 2010 and in a different city than any of the other ones. I lived in Maryland and went to the hospital in Newark, DE. I explained to them as I always have that I have had this multiple times, they did a spinal tap on me, determined that yes I had meningitis then put me in the hospital. I was sharing a room with a woman that thought being there was to have a party. Laughing loud, lots of visitors, all the while I cried quietly trying to block out the noise with my pillow. 

The Doctors were perplexed, so they brought in an Infectious Disease Doctor. He immediately moved me to my own room, away from any noise. He spent a couple of hours with me, coaxing me to tell my story. He left and said he would be back first thing the next morning. He showed up with a copy of an article from a Medical Journal written in 1972 about Mollaret’s Meningitis. He put me on the antiviral medication Acyclovir and by the next morning, I was well enough to go home.