Aseptic Meningitis

I am a 60 year old woman who was in good health until September 15, 2012 when I came in from a nice day of swimming in our pool with my 2 year old grand daughter, and I felt myself coming down with a fever and body aches. Even though it had been 106 degrees that day I covered up with a blanket. I was feverish and achy. It was 3 or 4 days before I went to the doctor. I was told that I had bronchitis and was given medication to take. A day or two passed and my husband took me to emergency because I had a fever of 102 and I was anxious with a headache. They did some blood tests, then took an chest x ray and told me I then had pneumonia. I was sent home with meds. Another trip to emergency came a day later - I had a terrible headache and my neck was sore, but I could put my chin to my chest so meningitis wasn't a concern. I was in the hospital for 5 days. There were many tests done, but they were puzzled by the outcome of them. I don't know exactly. I came home for a couple of days while my fever came and went and my head was hurting more and more as was my neck. Again, my husband brought me to emergency. I was put on iv antibiotics right away, they then decided about the only test left was a lumbar puncture. When the doctor told us that I had viral meningitis she seemed a bit relieved. I was hospitalized for another week while I was on pain medication for my horrible headache. It was never gone, but managed at an almost tolerable level. They did their very best for me, and I am grateful.

Once I was discharged, I had lost 20 pounds and was extremely weak. I could only walk with the help of a walker, and I couldn't raise my arms. We kept the windows dark because the light was too bright. Noises were intolerable. I couldn't concentrate, make decisions, or focus very long on anything. Conversations were difficult. TV was frustrating. Weeks passed, and I SLOWLY improved. At beginning of November I was able to get around the house alone, able to bathe and care for myself. I would feel almost depressed because of my inability of function at a more normal pace. I would weep at the end of the day waiting for my husband to come home. I continued to improve each day, and by the first of the year, I began to wean off the medication I had been taking for the headaches.

It is now April, my doctor has told me that all my blood work is "normal" again, and I should come back in a year! I still experience shaky hands when I attempt to write, etc. and my short term memory is less and less affected. If I have a busy day or two, I can expect a couple of days of fatigue after. My doctor told me I will probably continue to improve for the next 6-9 months. I continue to take medication to prevent headache and depression. It is time to see my neurologist for a follow up regarding this.

I am very grateful for the care I got during this illness. I hope someone is encouraged by my recovery. It was so helpful to me to read what others have experienced.

7 Replies

  • I had VM exactly a year ago and am a 51 year old woman. It hit me as hard as it did you. I suffered from headaches after it. I would have a number 8 headache about every 3 weeks, then a 6 every 4 weeks and it gradually reduced to # 2 heads that were manageable.

    I worked out that doing too much, thinking too much, feeling too much (emotion) or drinking too little (water) brought them on so I resolved to reduce all kinds of stress.

    I is 12 months on and my energy is the best it has been in a year...still not normal...but sooo much better.

    I exercise now which i could not do for 10 months as that would bring on a headache.

    VM has served to make me more laid back and less stressed.

    My Doctors all expected me to be OK within 2 weeks but that was ridiculous...just read this blog. That helped to have folks who had suffered telling me that it will be about 12 months. Otherwise I would have been terribly frustrated.

    Take care of yourself. Reduce your stress and keep hydrated.


  • itsall so familiar, I too had VM at 59 and it has been a slow road to recovery. I think I may be about 90% there by now, but still watch my fatigue levels. Especially promblematic are loud noises for long periods of time (I carry earplugs everywhere) lots of company without a break, and ot spending enough time alone to walk outside which I find the most healing thing. Yes, I do think it changes you forever, maybe it was time to slow down and not live life at 100miles an hour and this did the trick! Reducing stresses from all sources is definitely the cure, that might mean certain people to avoid even (energy vampires I call them)... so take care of yourself, you can then help others once you are well yourself.

  • Dear Ana and Canada, thanks for your comments. I agree that over exertion and stress (emotional and physical) are big triggers to fatigue, confusion and shaky fine motor movement, and headache. . I am not a lazy person, nor a recluse; but this experience with meningitis has me acting like one some times! It's reassuring to know that I'm not alone. I just so glad that I'm not trying to hold a job - it would not be possible. Take care.

  • I had viral meningities back this past summer, I was 42. I was out from work for six months. I have been back to work as a cashier since about Nov 20. I am working full time but when I get home I am so.tired. My legs swoll and I gain 20 pounds. I am.on five medications, this past weekend I had a bad headache again and it really scared me.

  • Dear singlemomof2, you really have your hands full with working a full time job and caring for two children, much less trying to recover from this awful illness. I'm sorry. The headaches are horrible. My doctor has me on Nortriptyline as a preventative for the headaches. It was originally intended for depression, but they found it works well to prevent most migraines. I am doing very well with it. Take care, and I hope you can get a bit more rest.

  • I wonder if I'm only person in ????United States of America???? ?? I adore everyone's words here... Anyway this website has brought me to tears of gratitude and not being alone on more than one occasion. I had Viral meningitis possibly longer prior to diagnosis but it was worst last Saturday April 20? 2013.

    It's now the following friday. I'm wearing sunglasses in bed. I'm tired. I went through the worst without hospital or Doctor?? in fact once I got to Doctor?? the worst was over and they were amazed I was okay. Very high fever and urgent care 2 weeks prior to diagnosis said I had a horrific viral infection , just to rest. NO concern for stiff painful muscles. It turned out I dealt with it all at home with partner and daughter, then once Doctor?? saw me in ER (emergency room) they said I had had VM for a while and cat scan showing it was waning.

    I never spent night in hospital. I chugged ??water and barely walked to toilet to pee because of pain, but I did it. I got percocet Sunday and have been alternating that and Motrin since. I'm emotional, exhausted, weak scared... Supportive family helps, I'm 42 and my Mom totally negated it like it was a flu. She has issues with me being sick as it is, ?when? I was a kid I acted more like HER Mom etc. so she can't?? handle me sick.

  • Dear lolaforbes, how is your head? Is your doctor monitoring you? Do you have a follow up appointment? If not, maybe you could find a doctor who will oversee your recovery. I saw mine each week for a couple and then monthly. She helped me with medication for headache and monitored my bloodwork, etc. Then the "rest" was up to me at home. And, I sure did need a a lot of rest for weeks. Hopefully your loved ones will come to understand this. I urge you to find a doctor who will help. And, yes I'm in the USA. Take care.

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