IAmA 16-year-old girl who has metres of plastic tubing inside my body to stop my head exploding.
http://i.imgur.com/R8RFj.png 2 weeks after surgery pic
Ok, so slight exaggeration. I do, however, have a plastic tube called a 'shunt', which drains fluid from my head, and carries it to my stomach where it can be disposed of in the normal way.
When I was 6 weeks old I managed to contract meningitis from E.coli bacteria that crossed the blood-brain barrier. This type of meningitis is very rare, and is only seen in very young babies. As a result of the infection, I developed hydrocephalus, or water on the brain. This caused excess fluid to build up around my cranial area, and my head started to swell up to quite a large size. Unfortunately I don't have any pictures of when I was in hospital, otherwise I'd show you guys.
To solve the problem of my rapidly expanding head, doctors decided to open up a hole in my skull, insert a long plastic tube into my brain cavity, then push it under the skin. This tube ends up in my stomach, where it drains the fluid.
Without this procedure, I would have died. Hydrocephalus also holds a high risk of mental abnormalities, even after treatment. I really am very lucky. AMA!
EDIT: As I can't remember what happened for the time I was actually sick for obvious reasons, I'll be asking my parents/other relatives for the answer to some questions. I hope that's ok!
EDIT II: I have to go to work for a couple of hours! Feel free to leave your questions, and I promise to answer them as soon as I get back :)
EDIT III: I'm off to bed now, so I'll answer any questions I get in the morning. After that set of answering questions, I'll be done on this AMA :) Goodnight reddit, and thank you for the fabulous questions! You've certainly made me think about my life, and how lucky I am to be here at all. Farewell, my friends!