PHOENIX (3TV/CBS 5) - An Ahwatukee teen is now recovering after being diagnosed with meningitis in his brain while on vacation in Germany.
The Europe trip had been months in the making. Raymond Reed, 19, worked valet in Scottsdale and had been saving up for it.
Reed even talked to Arizona's Family for a different story while working just a couple months ago.
But his big trip took a big turn.
"They told me that it was just a minor ear drum infection," said Reed, skyping us from his hospital bed in Germany.
He had some ear pain on the flight, and when it got worse, he went to a doctor in Europe twice.
"They just gave me eardrops and sent me on my way," said Reed.
But when he started to have cold sweats, he stayed behind while his friends went out.
"As they went out, my eye started to puff up, and I couldn't see at all out of it," said Reed. "They just said, 'Alright man, we gotta take you to the hospital,' because I was looking horrible."
They did some tests at the hospital, and doctors told Reed he had meningitis in his brain, and they needed to do immediate surgery.
"The pain was horrible. I felt like my head was about to explode," said Reed.
That's when his parents knew they needed to get to Europe and fast.
"Being stuck through all these airports and just wanted to be with him. And the flight here's it's like well is he OK how did the surgery go," said his mom Bernie Brown.
It took them 24 hours to get to the hospital, but they made it.
"To see him in this condition, it's devastating," said Brown.
The surgery was a success, but doctors said Reed will likely need to stay there for two more weeks as he continues to heal.
But he's lucky they did surgery as fast as they could.
"They said if it would've been a few hours even, it would have been very bad damage to my brain, possibly death," said Reed.
Now he's just ready to come home, a place he thought he might not ever see again.
"I really want to get back to Arizona because I know that's where my comfort zone is and it'll bring light to myself. I'll be able to say hello to everyone I miss because, God, I'm so happy to be alive," said Reed.
According to the Mayo Clinic, meningitis is an inflammation of the membranes around the brain and spinal cord.
Symptoms include an ear infection.
Mayo's website says the good news is, with prompt treatment, even patients with severe meningitis can recover.
Reed's treatment and recovery overseas has put an extreme financial burden on his family. If you would like to help them with the medical expenses, you can donate to their GoFundMe account.