I never expected to be told at the age of 19 that my boyfriend would have less than a 10% chance to live. Jacob and I had been together one year previous to this and I thought I already knew how much this guy meant to me, but until that moment, seeing him on what we believed was his deathbed, I never realised how much I loved this man.
We had been in a relationship for only a year, but after trying to cope with my father’s unexpected death, I knew Jacob was in my life for the long run and we spoke so passionately about the future until I had to think of the reality of meningitis and the circumstances we were both about to face. His organs were beginning to fail one by one, he needed yet another blood transfusion, his feet were as black as my mind at that time as the words ‘goodbye’ kept on racing through my mind.
Jacob was in a medicated state as he told me to just leave him and go and live my life, but for me, he was my life. I knew we were stronger together and I wanted to be there for as long as he would want me.
Days became months, then months became years as Jacob spent a total of 699 days living in hospital. Our relationship suffered as I was trying to maintain my university studies and attempt to progress with my part time job. Seeing Jacob once a week in hospital hours ruined our freedom and thoughts of the future. We went out for meals in the hospital canteen, we took romantic walks past the duck pond and the bins and I spent long hours hiding in his room through protected meal times. Honestly, I question how we made it work but then it all becomes clear to me.
This man is the only person in the world who has made me feel true happiness and shown my true love. I always look back and question where I would be in my life if I listened to Jacob and walked away. But it brings me so much happiness that I followed my heart as now, after the years of pain and heartbreak, we can now walk together, hand in hand and we can continue to talk about the future.
Jacob told me after he made the decision himself to get both legs amputated below the knees that once he could walk his first ten steps, he would ask me to marry me. Eleven steps later, he proved to me that I made the best and most valuable decision of my life as he asked me to marry him. Our meningitis experience was horrific, painful and destructible but you wouldn’t think that now when looking on our outlook of life.
Meningitis almost destroyed my love life.