"How are you holding up, beautiful," I ask my girl. Kate turns her head to me and smiles a little, but I know it's a fake smile.

"I'm scared, not only is my back and leg hurting like never before, but it feels like they're splitting my head into two pieces. I literally feel nauseous from the headache and I can't move my neck because when I do there is a sharp pain shooting through my whole body." Kate closes her eyes and tries to push back the tears.

"I know I probably sound like a 5 year old but I'm scared. This feels serious and what if I can't get through this. I'm not done with my life." Tears start to flow over Kate's cheeks. It feels like I have to swallow a brick. Again, I think about telling my thoughts on what's going on with her but in the end I decide against it.

"I'm not done here, Harry. I'm not done with you... We still need to do so many things together. We need to start a family and grow old together." Kate suddenly starts to sob and she pushes her head into my chest. My hands intuitively go around her, caressing her hair.
"Ssshhhh baby... don't say things like that, you and I will have a bright future. Everything will be okay." I coo but on the inside it's ripping me apart. I don't know if Kate's going to make it.
At that moment Maarten came bursting into the room.

"Oh I'm sorry guys but I've come to examine you, Kate." She wipes her cheeks with the back of her hand and nods. How can a person be in this kind of danger and still look so adorable? What if I will lose her? I push that thought away, I don't want to even consider that happening.

Maarten has examined Kate and now is entering some things into the computer. I walk up next to him and touch his shoulder. My friend sighs, "We have to wait for the test results but I agree with you. After doing the examination and looking at her laying there like that, losing consciousness every once in awhile, this isn't good Harry." I rub my face with my both hands and sigh.
"I'm going to do a spinal tap and we'll have all the results within an hour. Will you help me or shall I call a nurse?" I shake my head and turn to Kate who is looking at me and shoots me the little smile.
"I'll do it," I whisper.

Maarten takes everything he needs while I help Kate sit up and explain what's going to happen. I give her a pillow to hold and I position her head against me so that she'l be in the right position. With my arms around her I hold her steady, while Maarten does the procedure.
"It doesn't hurt, just some pressure." Kate answers when Maarten asks how she is. I'm so proud of her, she's always so strong and brave.

Maarten leaves the room to take the spinal fluids to the lab himself because we need the results as soon as possible.

After that, time crawls by. I sit next to Kate and hold her hand, caressing her forehead or kissing her cheek, but she slips in and out of consciousness the whole time.
After 45 minutes, Maarten comes back in and with the look on his face - I know it's bad.
"Kate, you had every sign when you came in and when I saw how turbid your spinal fluids were, I was already sure but now the tests have confirmed it. You've got bacterial meningitis."
Kate's eyes bulged out
"Me? Meningitis," she stuttered. "So I'm going to die?" She looked at me with glazed eyes.
"Your white blood cell count in your spinal fluid is extremely high, you should have five but you have eighteen thousand!"
I swallowed hard, this wasn't good at all.

"I will be honest, your life is in danger but we are preparing your first round of antibiotics now and tomorrow morning I'll remove the pain device because the infection is probably situated there. The bacteria probably entered your body through the catheter, while we took care of it. I'm sure once the device is removed and the antibiotics are working, you'll be okay. We will do everything to get you through this. Please be positive, Kate!"

Maarten put his hand on Kate's. She didn't react, her eyes were open but she didn't blink.
"Kate," I said sternly but nothing happened. I jumped up, knowing what was coming but before I could say anything, the heart monitor slowed down and stopped. The only sound that it made was one long beeeeeeeeep.

What is meningitis?
Meningitis is an infection of the membranes (meninges) surrounding the brain and spinal cord. Meningitis can be caused by a bacterial, fungal or viral infection. 
Bacterial meningitis can be life threatening. The infection can cause the tissues around the brain to swell. This in turn interferes with blood flow and can result in paralysis or even stroke.

Symptoms:
-

High fever,
- headaches,
- and an inability to lower your chin to your chest due to stiffness in the neck.

The onset of symptoms is fast, within 24 hours. If allowed to progress, you can die from bacterial meningitis.


A.N.: Thank you for reading this chapter and my story. 
I'm really grateful for each and every one of you. 
Have a nice weekend!

All the love,
K. x

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