The Time I Kind Of Had Meningitis- Part 1
Back in 2001 I decided to try and walk the entire Appalachian Trail. I thought to myself, “I like the woods. I like to walk. Carrying everything I need for day to day survival on my back sounds pretty cool. I’m gonna give it a shot.” So I did. And I almost died.
Saying I almost died sounds much more extreme than it really was. I’m sure there are adventurous mishaps running through your brain right now. “Did he fall off a cliff and break his neck?” “Did he encounter a family of bears that attacked him with an array of calculated, accurate punches to the throat before shooting him with laser guns that shot out of their wrists?” It was neither of those. I got bitten by a tick. The tick bite in question most likely occurred somewhere in Virginia. (How could you turn on me like that Mother State?) But I didn’t feel the effects until I was in central Pennsylvania.
When I got to Duncannon, PA I decided to get a hotel room. The best I could afford was The Doyle Hotel. Now, calling this place a hotel is a generous statement. The Doyle was a first class shit hole. Roaches everywhere. Stains of all different kinds of God knows what in all different places. On the sheets. On the floor. On the walls. Everywhere. It was disgusting, but it was only like 10 bucks a night. I holed up in my room for three straight days trying to shake off the symptoms of my unknown malady. There were times when I was scared by my neighbors (who obviously lived there), by the shouts and screams coming from the alley directly outside my window, and by what kind of infestations were burrowing from the bed, through my sleeping bag, and into my skull to lay eggs that would eventually burst through my eyeballs in a gory Wes Craven sort of way. I finally decided that I maybe just needed to get back on the trail and trust my body and its healing powers.
But that didn’t work. I walked about 2 miles before I felt like I was gonna keel over and die, so I started the hard walk back to Duncannon and The Doyle Hotel. That night, feeling defeated and kinda scared for my health, I talked my brother Pete into coming up the next morning to bring me back to Virginia. Being the awesome older brother that he is, he was more than happy to make the trip and he showed up the next day with my mother to bring me back. On the ride I told my mother that I thought I had lime disease. She said I was talking crazy talk and I was just tired from the hiking. I just needed a couple more days to rest before I got back on the trail. Boy was she wrong.