I love to travel the world. As a food critic, I love to explore different countries and experience the varying cuisines. Little did I know my traveling habit would soon come to haunt me. On a recent trip to California, I was bitten by a tick. I began to get headaches, fevers, and aching muscles. I thought I had the flew, I knew this couldn’t be true when one day I was having problems with my speech. I was talking to my wife and trying to tell her about a dish I tried in Australia when suddenly I couldn’t form my sentence in a logical or understandable way. I was startled, but my wife was absolutely overwhelmed with concern. I needed to find out what was wrong with me. I scheduled an appointment, and my wife and I made our way toward the doctor’s office. Was I going to be told I have cancer? I informed my doctor of all of my symptoms and she suggested that I have an MRI or CT to see what is going on inside my brain. After my tests, the results were in. My fate was held in the folder before me. My doctor explained that there appeared to be some swelling in the frontal lobe of my brain. She said that the brain is split into four lobes. These include the frontal lobe, occipital lobe, temporal lobe, and parietal lobe. The frontal lobe is the affected part for me. This makes sense because this is where expressive language and other higher thinking occurs. This is logical because of my trouble speaking to my wife earlier. Now I know what’s going on inside, but why? My doctor explained that the tick bite from California caused me to get a virus which has caused inflammation in the frontal lobe of my brain. With my brain damaged, my nervous system has difficulty sending messages to the different areas of the body and brain. The nervous system is broken down into the peripheral and central nervous systems. The central nervous system is split into the brain and the spinal cord. The brain is made up of a brain stem below and connected to the four lobes. The brain stem includes the midbrain, pons, and medulla; however, the frontal lobe is our main concern because this is where the swelling has been occurring. In the frontal lobe, there is a section called the motor cortex. This section is where information is put together in the brain and body movements are made possible. My doctor explained that this tick bite has caused an injection in the frontal lobe of my brain. This is why I have been having headaches and other flew like symptoms. I began to tremble because I knew this was horrible. I have an infection in my brain? She explained that is it called primary encephalitis and that it can occur from a virus from an insect. She told me that there is no definite cause of this diseases, but most people show signs of it when they have been bitten by a tick or other insects that may carry this virus. My wife was absolutely terrified, and honestly, so was I. My treatment plan was to go home and rest in bed where I can drink fluids. The doctor prescribed me an anti-inflammatory drug to relieve the headaches and swelling in my brain. She said that because I am older, I have a weaker immune system which couldn’t successfully fight off this virus. She explained that the bed rest and prescribed medicine may help to lessen my symptoms, but there is still a great chance of permanent complications. Since I have already had speech problems, she said that I may continue to struggle forming what I want to say. In most severe cases, someone may have completely damaged nerves cells in the brain. My recovery may take many months, but I need to get better for myself and for my wife. If I ever get well enough to travel anywhere else or even go outside I need to be extra careful to protect myself from harmful ticks and other insects. I would need to cover my sick with clothing and insect repellent; however, I do not plan on spending much time outside until I get better. I doubt my wife would allow me to go outside anytime soon! The road to recovery begins now for myself and for my wife.
“Viral encephalitis.” University of Maryland Medical Center, 9 Dec. 2014, www.umm.edu/health/medical/altmed/condition/viral-encephalitis.
“Learn the Basic Structures of Brain Anatomy.” Verywell, www.verywell.com/the-anatomy-of-the-brain-2794895
“Encephalitis.” Mayo Clinic, Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research, 13 June 2017, www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/encephalitis/symptoms-causes/syc-20356136.