I was half dead to the world so I overheard them converse. I whipped my head around the room to see if there was anyone who might as well have heard what I heard. To my utter dismay, I was the only one in the room, lying on that sick bed. Was I suffering from a flu or meningitis? My heart begun hammering. Meningitis was one disease I feared most. It could easily take away all your precious life without leaving a remnant. I asked myself in a faltering tone if I was going to die. If I died, I would blame my parents for they delayed me in the house all in the name of divine healing. And if not for anything I knew at all, at least I knew that the bacterial form of this disease was a fatal and unmerciful one. It decides in whim to take your life as fast as it could. My heartbeat could not abate, but to only keep pejorating.
I laid quiet on the bed sobbing within my soul, when the door opened. It was a man in a white overall. He was tall and dark. His moustache and beard were scary. I doubt if he came purposely to treat me. He paced across the room, intermittently spying on me.
“Hey. What’s your name again?” He turned to face me while tousling his beard. He approached me and passed his right palm across my forehead.
“Fine. We need a diagnosing machine to be able to detect what actual disease it is that is affecting you. But it happens that our only machine is faulty. We may have to transfer you to an equivalent hospital as big as this,or even bigger than this so that you could be diagnosed of your disease.”
“My disease? Sir, am I going to die? I overheard a conversation about one matter being either flu or meningitis. Was it referential to me?” “That wasn’t about you.” he sighed greatly and continued, “erm…honestly it was about you. Your condition alternates between that of a flu and a meningitis. Which one in particular, we are not sure. But I assure you that you are going to be fine.”
“You haven’t even been able to diagnose my disease. Yet you tell me I will be fine?What if the causative agent in my system is multiplying at a faster rate than my body can control? Won’t I be dead by tomorrow before sunrise?” I spoke with a burning heart. I held and pulled his tie, until he choked before I released him. He coughed hard, and left my presence. My mind could not become stable. I was so disturbed and distressed.
At morning the next day the door opened; this time around, it wasn’t him alone. He came with one other professional. He also had a white overall. He was not as tall as the first man who came, but he was fair with no beard; only a moustache. He pulled an armchair from under a table and made himself comfortable. He asked for my hand and assisted me to sit up on the bed.
“Alright. You shall be fine. For now, there’s no diagnosing machine to use, but we will perform a small exercise.”
His tone of voice started to make me feel strong and hopeful. I nodded to his assertion.
“I would want you to bend your neck slightly.” He instructed me. They all were quiet while they watched me try to bend my neck, but I could not bend. There seemed to be a discordance between bending my neck and the twitchng of my knee and hip. When I tried flexing my neck, it was my knee and hip that flexed. He looked at me nodding his head in a confident way.
“Thank you. We shall perform another last exercise and that will be it for your diagnosis. And then, you will start medication.” I smiled after hearing him.
“In this exercise, you will have to lie in the supine position, and extend your leg after flexing it at your knee and hip.” I laid flat on the bed, flexed my leg at my knee and hip. Upon extending my leg, I felt a sharp pain in my thigh that I couldn’t extend it fully. He smiled and pat on the other’s shoulder and left my presence.
Flu and meningitis are known to present with the same signs and symptoms– stiff neck, severe headache, fever etc. However, the simple difference lies in their diagnosis, of which in meningitis, a physical examination will suffice.
Brudzinski’s sign- flexing the knee and hip when the neck is actually supposed to be flexed.
Kernig’s sign- extending a flexed leg at the knee and hip present with sharp pain in the thigh.