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Amanda D's story

25th January 2023

36-year-old Amanda’s festive season was derailed by a diagnosis of viral meningitis. After suffering with a terrible headache, sickness and light aversion Amanda knew something was wrong. She tells us about her experience

Amanda D's story

“As I write this I am still in recovery from viral meningitis, the type that’s said to not be so bad.

Well, it definitely felt bad and at one point I think I could have just died, but it was Christmas! (This was a thought I remembered having while in hospital, all wired up.)

“Anyway, before I got ill I was very busy with work and after work I'd do friends’ nails, as I'm also a nail technician. It was a busy time, I was getting tired and assumed it was my work load and family responsibilities, as well as being a keen runner. I went for a run Tuesday evening after a full work day, I slept well but woke with a terrible headache. Somehow I still got to work the next day and did my clients after, but that night I had to crawl into bed and ask my husband to do bed time for our daughter.

Barely open eyes

“Thursday came and I could barely open my eyes due to the pain from the light, everything was so bright. I began to be sick, not even water would stay down. I felt dreadful. My husband had already gone to work so I had to ask my four-year-old girl to call her nanny! She was a super star and followed instruction exactly telling nanny, "Mummy's sick".

“Linda, my mother-in-law, came over and rang 111 for advice. By this point I couldn't speak and just managed a mere thumbs up or down to questions but it was taking my last ounce of energy. To my surprise they sent an ambulance straight away. I thought I had a very bad stomach bug, so I wasn't expecting to see an ambulance arrive within five minutes! Linda stayed to look after Zoe, my daughter, and my husband made it home in time to come with me to hospital.

“I cannot fault the paramedics, I felt safe once they were with me. They cannulated me and gave me meds straight away. As soon as I got to hospital, I had a bed waiting in A&E. They set up more meds and fluids. I was in and out of sleep a lot by then and I can't remember much but I do remember the terrible pain in my head and neck and not being able to open my eyes or speak.

“My blood pressure kept dropping dangerously low. The doctors tilted the bed so my head was down and legs slightly raised to help the blood pressure rise. I remember it being a slow process just to get it to rise a little bit and being in this position just caused my head and neck more pain. I thought at this point I might die, I could easily just sleep and let it be over, but not now, not at Christmas!

Christmas dinner

I also had a CT scan and then after that I was sent to a medics ward where I had my own room. Doctors and nurses saw to me on a regular basis, topping up my meds and fluids, helping me get to the loo and wash. I could barely eat a thing and had to sleep a lot.

“On Christmas day all the patients got a little gift and a lovely Christmas dinner with Christmas pudding, I just wish I could have enjoyed it more! One Christmas present I won't forget is having to have a lumbar puncture, which confirmed meningitis - it was a little uncomfortable for me.

“I was sent home Christmas evening. Everyone was so happy, but I still felt dreadful and after 24 hours I ended up back in A&E via ambulance with the same symptoms. The doctors and nurses fixed me up quickly and after a little while I was home again.

“I was afraid to come home but so far I’ve made progress, although slow. I’ve taken each day as it comes. I’ve had to sleep a lot and keep on top of meds.

“Today, a month later, I managed a shower instead of a bath and a little walk, these things have zapped me of all of my energy and I’ve slept all day. I can't wait to get back to normal, working, running, being more attentive to my family. I still feel stiffness in my neck and headaches but it's definitely getting better. I’m also eating a little better but I do have to be careful what I eat and drink as my body seems to refuse different things now and my diet is quite plain at the moment.

“I know I'm on the mend and things will return to normal. I can't thank my family, friends, doctors, nurses and the paramedics enough! And I’m glad I found Meningitis Now as I don't feel so alone in this. I’ve been able to relate to other stories."