West Nile Virus

January 11, 2012
By Jonathan Ruf BRONZE, Wilmington, Massachusetts
Jonathan Ruf BRONZE, Wilmington, Massachusetts
1 article 0 photos 0 comments

When I was six years old I was bitten by a mosquito. This particular mosquito happened to be carrying the West Nile Virus, which was then transferred to me. Because of this I had to be hospitalized for more than two weeks. For one of those weeks, however I was in a “comatose like state.” After waking up for good, I still didn’t talk or move. As a result of the virus I lost a chunk of my memory. The only person that I recognized at first was my cousin Jacob who I followed around with my eyes. Over the next two days I started to remember who everyone was and slowly I regained part of my memory. After two weeks of exams, needles, and lots of bed rest I finally went home.

At this time I was only in the first grade. I missed about three months of school while I was recovering. When I did start back at school it was only part-time. When I had the virus it led to me getting meningitis and encephalitis. Encephalitis is irritation and swelling of the brain and Meningitis is a bacterial infection of the membranes covering the brain and spinal cord. One of the diseases made the outer part of my brain swell and the other made the inner part of my brain swell. My brain was swollen down to my shoulders. As a result of this I have had to live with a seizure disorder. Because of this I have had to miss many school functions, and other activities. I was only allowed to pass the first grade because I had a tutor who would come to my house and take me through what the other kids were doing in the work books we had and the other material that we were expected to know.

When I was at home in bed after being released from the hospital, I needed help to do most things. Someone always had to help me take baths/showers and go to the bathroom. I was always watching a lot of TV and I had the whole Disney channel schedule memorized. I remember that year for Christmas I asked for either a Playstaion or Xbox and my mom got me the Playstaion. I only got it because I was so sick and it was something I could do in bed. Another thing that I liked to do at home was play with my transformers, beyblades, and bionicles. When I was at home recovering I was constantly finding ways to keep myself entertained.

The virus also caused me to lose a chunk of my memory. My papa had taught me all about tools and cars and I was able to state the make and model of most cars, and name most tools. After the virus though I forgot most of them. Also I forgot who Santa Claus was. After I was mostly recovered and able to be out and about I went to an ATM machine with my mom. Before the virus I knew what it was and what it did, but when I saw it, it was like I was seeing it for the first time in my life.

Because of me being so sick, my mom who was a single parent at the time, had to miss a lot of work to take care of me. Thankfully, everyone at her job was very supportive and she had the vacation time to cover it. Because of my seizures she had to leave work a lot to come and get me from school. Most of the school concerts that we had, I had to miss because the noise could have caused me to have a seizure. In fifth grade their was a science camp that the rest of the grade went to. It was a four day overnight camp that most of my friends went to but I wasn’t able to. When I was in fifth grade I had a lot of trouble with my seizure disorder because I grew out of the dose of medicine that I was on. Instead of camp though, my mom and I went to Disney world. Most recently, I had to miss the Washington D.C. trip because if I were to have a seizure in Washington, my mom wouldn’t be able to come get me. Throughout my life seizures have made it hard for me to be involved in certain activities that other kids could.

Although having the West Nile Virus was a horrible part of my life I received so much love and support from everyone. For at least two weeks it seemed like everyone’s lives stopped. My mom was with me all the time and missed a ton of work. My Uncle Mike and Aunty Cheryll were at the hospital every day after work and would sometimes skip work just to come and see me. People from my mom’s preschool sent gifts and presents. My Aunty Amy’s friends from college sent gifts and balloons. So many people that I didn’t even know showed so much support when I was in the hospital sick. The nurses working there said that I had more visitors and balloons than anyone else. At the time Children’s Hospital was adding a new wing and on one of the beams on the inside the workers spray painted my name on the beam in orange.

I will never forget having the West Nile Virus or all of the love and support that I received during this time.

The author's comments:
its true

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