Sophie Wright has sat by the hospital bedside of her husband Peter every day since he was struck down with a potentially fatal illness.
Peter, 34, is suffering through a meningitis infection, a dangerous inflammation of the fluid and membranes surrounding the brain and spinal cord.
The condition commonly starts off with headache, fever and a stiff neck. and the young father first presented to hospital in late September.
Mr Wright first presented to the hospital in September, but his condition deteriorated sharply and suddenly.
Doctors have since been forced to place him into a medically induced coma on Wednesday.
He is out of the coma now but meningitis can cause long-term brain damage.
Sophie, 37, said she was feeling “quite lost” without her best friend and frightened about what the future might bring.
“There have been moments where I feared I’d lose him,” she said.
“I’m trying to stay strong, as he is a strength for me too. It’s been an incredibly tough, at times terrifying and very emotional time.”
The Sydney couple have two children together, aged 3 and 6, and have known each other for 15 years.
Brooke Crabb, Peter’s sister-in-law, said the eldest boy understood something was wrong.
“The eldest one has an idea that he is unwell and he has had age appropriate updates throughout,” she said.
Peter’s brain has experienced significant trauma from meningitis, sepsis and stroke, Brooke said on Thursday.
The Southerland Shire family will only know the future of Peter’s cognition and speech once the swelling has subsided.
“I hope he’ll remember us and our story, but I firstly hope he will fight and beat this infection,” Sophie said.
“I’d just like to hear him speak again. At this stage, it’s all so uncertain, and that’s the most unsettling feeling, not knowing what is next.”
It is understood doctors think Peter will be able to walk again after he started moving his right hand side on Wednesday.
The extended family is rallying round Sophie and the boys to help get through the days.
“The family is all on hand to support where we can with the boys and food, just trying to take the easy things away from her, so she can focus on being there for Peter, and she is there for her boys as well, so we’re all just trying to pitch in where we can,” Brooke said.
Brooke has launched a GoFundMe page to support Sophie and the kids as they battle the sudden shock to their life, but Brooke said the campaign was as much about education as a fundraising exercise.
“Early symptoms are similar to the flu,” Brooke writes on the GoFundMe site.
“Peter experienced both viral and bacterial meningitis, with symptoms of sore throat, body rash, ear ache, headache, fatigue, and vomiting.
“At this point he presented to the hospital and was discharged after fluids.
“Peter’s condition declined and he experienced a high fever, disorientation and confusion prior to his second hospital admission with sepsis.
“We are grateful to the doctors that acted promptly so he could receive lifesaving treatment.
“I’ve decided to set up this GoFundMe so that Sophie can have time off work to support Pete.
“Additional funds will be for any future medical expenses to get the best specialists team together and to support the whole family process this traumatic time.
“We also want to continue life as normal as possible for the boys by continuing their activities. They are frightened and confused, we all are.”
As of Friday, the campaign has garnered more than $30,000.
“We were quite moved by everyone’s generosity,” Brooke said.
Sophie works as a marketing manager and Peter works in web design as a sole trader.
When asked what she loved most about her husband, Sophie said his “loyalty, his heart and his commitment to our family.”
“He is such a wonderful hands-on father and he is also so motivated to support our family with his business,” she said.
“He’d do anything for myself and the boys and is such a calm and caring person.”