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.