Do I return to work or have time off? - Meningitis Now

Meningitis Now
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Do I return to work or have time off?


I had meningitis just three weeks ago. 11/8/17 I was taken into hospital with severe headaches, a pain I have never experienced before! Extreme photosensitivity; I couldn't even open my eyes, a stiff back and neck, all cold and flu symptoms and severe vomiting. The doctors confirmed I had meningitis after a lumbar puncture but were unsure whether it was bacterial or viral. They treated me for bacterial I had intravenous antibiotics for ten days. I am due to start a new teaching job in a secondary school where it requires me to change classrooms and go up and down three flights of stairs several times a day (I struggle with my stairs at home at the moment) I am supposed to start tomorrow, I don't feel 100% fit if I am being honest. I don't know what to do. Work are being very supportive and have said to take time off but I don't know whether to test the water and see how it goes. I am currently still fatigued, very dizzy, and full of cold and I am finding I am getting irritated quite easily. The hospital have offered me no after care or advice. I don't even know if I had bacterial or viral meningitis. I am just feeling a bit lost any advice would be hugely appreciated.



20 Replies
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I was out 8 weeks but I should have stay out at least 4 more week .see what your body tell you if you work too hard you will feel it and stop

in reply to Helpman

Thank you for your advice it is appreciated. 😀 my head is telling me to stay home for a couple of weeks but my heart is saying to go and start my dream job. It will be my first ever teaching post 👏🏻 I just don't think I am fit enough yet 😌

Hi Katie, my advice would be to take it step by step. I was out of work for a solid 4 months, and when returning to work I made sure it was on a phased basis. Do not rush thing's, you will only make recovery more difficult. Rest as much as possible. Take care.

I think it is far too soon to think about work. Listen to your body. Until you can manage stairs easily at home, you wouldn't cope at school. I understand the circumstances are unusual starting a new job, but they are being helpful, as indeed they should be. Take care and try not to worry too much. Virtual hugs.

in reply to kelpie25

Thank you so much for your amazing advice. 😊 xx

I think 3 weeks is very soon to return to work. Everybody recovers at different rates, but that sounds too soon, especially if you're still struggling at home.

My daughter had ibacterial Men B and septicaemia 10 months ago (she's 23), she has not returned to the job she did before (bar work) but did start training to be a tattooist after 6 months. That's only 3 days a week and is sitting down most of the time. She gets exhausted after each day.

If I were you I'd take more time to recover and then ask your school for a phased return, where you go back part time to start with (I did this after having shingles and it was a really good way to ease yourself back in). Your doctor should be able to request this on the return to work certificate.

Best thing is to listen to your body and rest up when you are tired.

My daughter had little help after leaving hospital, she had a follow up appointment with the hospital after 3 1/2 months (which wasn't very helpful) then another appointment after 7 months as she was still struggling with walking and her sight. She had an MRI then (haven't had any results from that , it was over 2 months ago) and her GP referred her to physio around the same time. Physio have given her exercises to do. She's just got a hospital appointment for her vision loss (it's in one eye) in 2 weeks time.

I think the Dr's kind of leave you for a few months to see how you recover, before they offer you any other treatment for residual symptoms.

I hope your recovery is smooth and quick and wish you all the best when you do return to work.

in reply to MinkyD

Thank you for your advice. I hope your daughter makes a speedy recovery too. I have found a lot of comfort by speaking to people like yourself who understand what we go through. I am going to take a few weeks off and then if I still feel like this I will look into other avenues to try to cure this and get back to myself. Thank you so much ❤️ xx

Take more time off. Way more. And when you feel better, try a day of full on activity and see how it affects you the day after before committing to a return to work date.

Teaching is a very stressful profession as I'm sure you're aware. Would a part time timetable be an option when you do return, at least for a while? Just thinking that otherwise you won't get much downtime to rest, and if you push too hard to begin with you'll end up taking more time off later.

Thank you all for amazing advice. I think I have been a bit in denial about the whole thing. Everyone is telling to take off even my family. I know I am not ready to go back I just feel terrible as they gave me a chance and give me the job when I was still a student (it is my first teaching job) I have two kids and even being with them is stressful when they get a bit loud it brings my headache on straightaway. I am waiting for my GP to ring me back so speak to him about it. It's nice speaking to other people who have experienced the same thing as I don't feel like anyone else understands the after effects of meningitis. Thank you all will keep you posted 😊

I went back to work after 4 weeks & wish I hadn't. The following 6 months were horrendous & pushing myself too soon had payback. I was falling asleep in meetings, falling up stairs and panic attacks started. Eventually I was signed off and have only just returned after 9 months off work. I've been left with M.E and still have extreme fatigue. I'm not saying that this was all caused by rushing back to work but I'm pretty sure it didn't help. Listen to your body & go with your gut. My experience is pushing myself too far too soon was a mistake. Wait until you've fully recovered & a phased return to work is best. Good luck with whatever you decide.

I had bacterial Meningitis four months ago and returned to work after four weeks with a IV port in my arm . Went for just three hours a day and It was very difficult . I just had to sit and do paper work . I can't imagine doing what you are expected to do in just that short of time . I also teach Yoga and waited three months to go back . I suffer with balance issues , became deaf in one ear and have pressure in my brain everytime I try to solve or focus on a situation either work related or personal. I would definitely take off at least one more month and leave the door open if you need another month . Your dream job will wait for you and everyone will be understanding . You want to be at your peak performance starting a new job that is as demanding as sounds .

Rest and be well.

Susie NY

I just want to thank you all for your advice, it has been so good to hear other people's experiences. I am very lucky that I have supportive work colleagues and they have told me to take the time off so I am going to listen to them and GP who also recommended I have more time off to rest. Thanks again ❤️ Katie.

Don't do too much too soon would be my strong advice. I did and am now paying for it with headaches, tiredness, dizziness and forgetfulness. BM is a very serious illness and can have some nasty twists and turns.

Cranial massage practically cured my daughter post VM. See Rosie S's Story. But this was many months after VM. It sounds like it's too soon for you to go to work. I don't know how soon you could see a cranial osteopath. May be you could seek advice on this? It really does work wonders, as others have found too! Good luck xx

Simply put (in response to a very critical problem) DO NOT RETURN TO WORK NOW.

I have not had VM, but I have taught elementary school (grades 1, and 2 ). I am healthy, but after teaching for a few days, I came home exhausted and drained ! You don't know the stress and strain that accompanies teaching little children. EXHAUSTING.

For your healthy future, stay home until you feel strong. How long? At least another 4 weeks.


Thank you so so much for your advice. I cannot explain in words how much I appreciate the fact you have taken the time to reply to me and be so kind. I have taken all of your advice on board and I am taking some time off. I am definitely going to ring the helpline tomorrow and ask for more information about the cranial osteopathy. I will keep in touch with all of you, please keep in touch with me too. Hugs and love ❤️ xx katie xx

I had BM and & Septicemia and stayed out of work for 9 months. When I went back, my foot pain was still so severe that I wore men's wide sandals and socks (dr said white only because of the dye) and blood from my toe area would frequently show on my socks. But I wore long slacks and no one seemed to notice. It's now been 40 years and the foot pain has greatly decreased! I still can't tolerate the pain of heels but I can wear a closed-toe flat.

It's a horrible disease but each day definitely gets better..


I haven't written for awhile. I have been trying to do 'normal' things. 7th July 2017 I was confirmed to have VM. The first two months I was wiped out, and continued to have every symptom. As soon as the headache/pressure disappeared I thought I was through. I am a teaching Principal and with the support of my staff/board I returned to work every other day for the morning or if I was tired not at all. A few weeks ago the pressure head and vertigo came back, which I hid from everyone as I felt if I didn't push myself I wouldn't get better. WAS I WRONG. A doctors appointment last week brought reality back again. I was doing more harm for my future health, and I shouldn't return until next year. (6 months) A hard pill to swallow but real! I have been reading your past posts and have a question about cranial osteopath. Do you need a referral? what health benefits are there? Have you heard of cranioscral therapy? I just want to help myself to get back to work.

Hi. I went back to work after 1 week. Bad idea. Have been so sick for 4 weeks of work. Now having a week off and best thing ever. My Advice is 1 month off if you can. Otherwise you will have a longer recovery.


6 years on from diagnosis I wish I could go back in time. I rushed back to work as I was told I'd make a full recovery in two weeks. I pushed myself, my body, and my limits far too much. I'm still recovering. Please, please listen to your body, and a further few weeks off even when you start to feel an improvement. It's so important to take the time to heal properly xx

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