Bacterial meningitis : I am 20 years old and... - Meningitis Now

Meningitis Now
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Bacterial meningitis


I am 20 years old and have recently been discharged from hospital after being treated for bacterial meningitis. On January 7th 2020 I had a restless night after sitting one of my university exams and began to have an abnormal temperature the following day - going from freezing cold to sweating that I had to change my clothing as it was soaking from sweat. I hadn’t ate, had the worst headache and neck-ache and made myself sick. January 10th I went to the GP who gave me migraine tablets which made my headache much worse, so I went to casualty. I was then in hospital for two weeks where I was being treated for both viral and bacterial meningitis for the first week, then after the lumber puncture I was treated for bacterial meningitis only as the result of the lumber puncture showed no sign of viral. After the two week treatment I was officially discharged from hospital with a skiing holiday booked for the following week, which the doctor had informed me that I would be fine to go and there would be no after effects of the meningitis. Unfortunately, three days after being discharged from hospital I had a restless night. All of a sudden at 2am in the morning my legs began to ache followed by my arms later that night. I can’t even put into words how unbearable the pain was, my left leg and right arm was constantly throbbing. The following morning I went straight to casualty and the doctor was unsure what was wrong with my legs and arms after doing examinations on my legs, throat and eyes. The pain continued for the next three days and nights, where I had no sleep at all. Due to the continued pain I went to the GP three days later where she examined my legs once again and couldn’t pin point what was wrong, I had bloods done which read my infection markers were going up since being discharged from hospital. I am now a week on from initially suffering the pain in my legs and arms and I am feeling like a new person, back to my normal self. I visited my GP again today and had my bloods done which showed that my infection mark has gone back to normal. I wanted to get my story across just incase anyone suffers from the same symptoms as I did and is a big worrier, like myself. One big mistake that I made was to go walking long distances straight after being discharged. As a person who gyms about 4 times a week, I need to take things slowly as my body can’t cope with physical activity like it used to. I wouldn’t say that I’m completely back to myself but I’m definitely getting there in small steps.

9 Replies

hey i have a same problem.Last summer i have bacterial meningitis.Since then i have constant headache muscle aches and memory problems i don't concentrate but I'm afraid it won't go away

in reply to radin

Hello, thanks for getting back to me. After reading people’s personal experiences of meningitis on the website, I know you’re not alone as your side affects of meningitis are VERY common. I think that rest is key to help your body get back to normal, all week I’ve stayed at home and just watched television, read a book, sorted out my bedroom etc, just little things around the house. Personally, there’s nothing more I hate than being lazy as I’m generally a fit person, but the body really does need rest for a long period. Of course, everyone’s body is different and deals with illnesses differently, so it might just take you a bit longer to recover, which is completely fine! When I had the muscle aches, I used deep heat which gradually eased the pain so it may be worth trying if you haven’t already. With regards to your headaches, personally I haven’t experienced any since being discharged, but I know a few people have taken the obvious ibuprofen to ease the pain for a while. Lastly, I’ve tried to keep my mind active since being out of hospital as I’ve seen a lot of people have struggled with concentration and memory loss. I’ve been reading books and writing down some university work to keep my brain active. I’m not sure whether this has helped, but I haven’t suffered any concentration problems or memory loss, so it may be worth a try. I’m so sorry to hear that your still suffering side affects from the meningitis and I really hope you have a speedy recovery, I hope this helps.

Wow! Please take it real slow. Your body has taken a battering with a nadty bacterial infection. Five months on after bacterial meningitis I still get headaches if I do too much and cant walk distances more than a couple km at a time. Be careful as yr immune system needs time to recover and you are vulnerable to getting infections. Wishing you a safe recovery - go gently.

Thank you for the advice. I’m now taking things much more slowly as I’m more aware about the recovery period. I can completely relate to what your saying and thanks for getting in touch. Wishing you the safest recovery also.

It's very commendable that you posted this. It really is heartening to see that you seem to have escaped relatively unscathed and are making a good and rapid recovery. What is completely staggering is your GP being ignorant of the very obvious red flags and warning signs. Apart from the fever/high temperature etc, for him or her not to realise that for somebody with no history of headaches or migraines that experiencing your acute headache and neck pain along with the other symptoms was not necessarily 'migraines' and possibly something much more serious. We seem to mistakenly hold all doctors in such high esteem and consider they are all competent when nothing could be farther from the truth. The policy seems to be that a perfunctory diagnosis of migraines is attributed to a whole plethora of symptoms until they develop into something more worrying that then leads them to carry out further investigation, scans and tests etc. There can be no doubt that doctors generally need to be made far more aware of meningitis, its initial symptoms and also its after effects. Whether this will ever happen remains to be seen.

Thanks for getting in touch. I couldn’t agree more. When I first went to the doctors unsure of what was wrong, the GP gave me migraine tablets, and even though the GP mentioned the word “meningitis”, he didn’t make a fuss about it and instead suggested I make an optician appointment. During that doctors appointment I was dripping with sweat as I was so ill. It was peace of mind after that GP appointment as I took the view it was only a migraine and the tablets would sort me out. As a law student who has studied medical law I know that doctors sometimes don’t always get it right, so when I realised the migraine tablets didn’t kick in I went straight to causality. I had blood tests taken where my CRP was a reading of 208 (when it should be 5), and my white blood cells took a reading of 17 (when they should’ve been 11). It was seriously worrying as earlier the same day I was informed I had a migraine and now I’m being told I have a major virus infection in my bloods so I wouldn’t be able to go home and needed to have an X-ray Of my chest to see if I had pneumonia, and a brain scan. I ended up waiting 11 ish hours in casualty until the brain scan could take place and I could have my results back, which thankfully, the results for the brain scan come back fine. From this point onwards I was treated for viral and bacterial meningitis in hospital and put on to a ward where the nurses and doctors were absolutely amazing to me and I honestly couldn’t fault them. The worst part of this whole illness was the unknown, and not knowing what was wrong with me! I’m just so grateful for the doctors and nurses in hospital who identified what was wrong with me and treated me immediately. What has been a major concern for me during the illness was that the doctors didn’t seem to know a lot about meningitis in general. My dad, obviously concerned, wanted to know the ins and outs of what was wrong with me, but unfortunately the doctors response was that “meningitis wasn’t their field”, which didn't put me, or my family at ease. Even though I’m extremely grateful for the doctors along the way, I think there should be more preciseness of meningitis.

Yes, I agree with most ... take it easy! One nurse told me to listen to my body .. if I feel like I can't work out, don't ... let your body rest. 5 months post viral meningitis I can finally go for a 15 minute walk without being in pain or completely fatigued. Acupuncture has given me my life back. Even with VM, I had joint pain from my hips to my ankles ... the neurologist didn't look surprised but she also couldn't explain it. My neck was still stiff but I could touch my chin to my chest. All in all felt very old and achy when before VM I was a healthy 31 year old. I can only imagine how much more severe bacterial meningitis is, so please take it easy. It's not something to take lightly.

Also, even though I feel more like myself, if I don't get a good night's rest, I feel like crap all over again. I am working on my Masters in Business Administration and I had to drop one class because taking 2 was too much. Working on 2 classes, full time job, married with kids is a lot and it was taking a toll on me. Every day, the exhaustion would put me in bed.. like I HAD to lay down and my eyes burnt. I dropped one class and I'm definitely doing better.

Glad to know you are ok now, and that you are spreading the message to take things easy after discharge

This is the problem, a lot of medical professionals are not educated in what happens after wards.

Were you self administering anti biotics after you left hospital?

I had one week on one anti biotic which wasn't really working then they started me on meropenem which saw my markers come down. It had it three times a day intravenously for three weeks. Two of those weeks were at home with a midline.

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