My Experience of Viral Meningitis

I was 52 when I contracted meningitis in 2011. I displayed all of the classic symptoms of a bad case of flu and went to the doctors to see what could be done for me. I had blinding headaches none of which the like I have ever experienced, classic aches and extreme fatigue. I was told yes its flu take paracetamol and rest. I returned a week later and was told the same. It wasn’t until a couple of days later during the night that things came to a head. I woke in the early hours and found myself paralysed on my left side. I struggled to get myself out of bed fearing that I must have had a stroke and checked for any of the classic symptoms. Of which I couldn’t find and I returned to bed after having recovered some of my motor function on my left side.

The morning was desperate with a severe headache, fatigue and aching joints. After talking to my brother as we were due to attend a function that evening he took me to A & E fearing that it must have been a stroke. I was admitted and was subjected to the various tests, blood, x-rays, CT scan etc. and finally the dreaded lumber puncture, which they failed on their first attempt and had to do in surgery the following morning. I was never told what I had contracted until a week after admission and only then by a Renal Consultant who was treating me for a violent reaction to the anti viral drugs they had used in my treatment for the meningitis, which they feared had damaged my kidneys. Luckily for me I recovered from this but the Consultant is still keeping a check on me and now carry a note with me not to be treated with Aciclovir. My care in hospital I must admit must have been good as after all as I’m still here.

It has taken quite some time recovering from meningitis having all of the classic after effects of short term memory loss, exhaustion, speech problems, mood swings etc and do still have these to some degree. Although a year has passed it has been a long slow recovery, my speech has improved, and my short term memory is improving although I do still have some emotional and confidence problems to contend with along with back pain which has never really subsided since the lumber puncture.

I do feel blessed still to be here meningitis is a disease that I thought would never contract because it is normally associated with the young. How wrong can you be!! I feel myself to be one of the lucky ones who didn’t have it too bad. My advice to anyone is to take it slowly on your recovery and build on every success of any day. There will always be good and bad days, but concentrate on the good ones as they do make a difference. I honestly thought I wouldn’t make 53 but I’m now 54 and still here.

9 Replies

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  • Awww xx its nice hear ..x

    I am recovering from vm ... finding it very hard being honest ,luckily was diagnosed straight away and treated but the pain is just so unreal. It just takees over your entire life !! it's nearly been 2 months , i was ok about 2 weeks ago i thought i was improving greatly , then i got taken back in , a relaspe they said i was over doing it and should nt of been out in the sunlight, so now i am starting my recovery all over again x How long did you have off work ?? .. i am so worried i am not fit enough to go back yet , but need to for money sake ??x

  • Hi there

    It was Jan 2011 when contracted vm and was in hospital for just over a week for treatment. Not the best time of your life as you know all too well as you feel and look dreadful. As I said I feel I was lucky, you feel as though you just want to be taken away. Once at home the real battle for recovery starts, it takes time, lots of time, so little energy and will power to do everyday things it may take forever to do the simple things, but they have to be done and you do manage, you have to. Everything after that is an accomplishment and I always used to praise myself after every little achievement

    I was off work for six weeks I wanted to return earlier but my GP refused. I must admit he was right. After six weeks I had a phased return to work, which lasted for a further four starting 2 days a week and then gradually increasing over time never a full day as soon as I felt tired or the headaches returned I went home It was June 2011 when I went back to full time. You have to take your time and things will come right for you, but it does take time. I'm sorry to here of your relapse, but I'm confident that things will get better for you. Eventually the pain will subside, this again takes time, but it does go. You do have to pace yourself I found that out very quickly as just a short walk would seem to take forever. Concentrate on the good things you can do these do pick you up and any failures will become a success but most of all don't rush things. I still have one or two problems emotionally but these are insignificant compared to what I have overcome with the illness.

    I'll say it again take your time and things will improve I promise.

    I hope this helps x

  • thankyou xxxx it helps so much xxx my problem is i always rush things cant sit still etc ..x always at a concert/theatre with kids and now down to nothing ..x so i need to learn to except the little things i can do ..xx it's so hard though , how one day i was fine and the next ...... dreaded illness xxx lets hope we will all be fine xxx

  • Kel80, hon you will get there, i know what you mean about work i am freelance so no money no food, i had to go back 2nd week after getting out of hos... but it was like been on a ship, i was all over the place LOL, but blagged my wasy threw it.

    Yes sunlight is a no no, nor been in bright lights, you will need to wear sun glasses a lot, rememeber your poor brain has been boiled like a cabbage, and will need to re build, think of it as a computer thats been re booted and will take time. can you go back part time? if so, so so this will give your body time to heal, also change of diet will be needed, and up your vits Vic C, B6. but hon you will get there :)

  • Hello there,

    I have had Viral Meningitis 6 times now and always returned to work - you have to let your body decide and do not rush. Speak to your work as sometimes they can be understanding - perhaps go back part time and build up your hours gradually.

    Hope all goes well

    regards - Ray

  • Hi Ray

    I can't believe that you have had VM 6 times!! You are quite right that the body decides when its right. Work was understanding, but was waring a little thin patience wise towards the end. I'm full time back at work June 2011 and pleased to be there.

    The important thing that you mention is not to rush, I found that having a phased return to work really helped.

    All is well at the moment and fingers crossed will continue to be so.

    Thanks for the comment

    Regards - Graeme

  • OMG !! I just could nt survive getting this again !!! the pain is so awful !! how on earth have you managed !!

  • Many people only get it the once so no need to worry. I am not as fortunate but you have to use all the support available to you as it really does help. I always find it useful to focus on something else either work or my family rather than the illness. Take it easy and rely on other peoples support where you can - hope this helps

    kind regards

    Ray

  • Nice post, re what you said "My advice to anyone is to take it slowly on your recovery and build on every success of any day. There will always be good and bad days, but concentrate on the good ones as they do make a difference."

    you are dot on, hay it did nt kill us, just cooked our brain, re lumbur i had 4 docs and 12 done b 4 they got it right, now have slight back pain, but use a tense machine, which you can get for about £20, and you can wear it with out any one seeing it

    well done on you :)

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