“I started getting symptoms whilst on the plane to Majorca for a holiday with my then boyfriend and his family.
I had a meal prior to the flight and thought it was just food poisoning. But half an hour into the flight I began shivering uncontrollably.
“I thought it was just the air conditioning but nobody else was shivering like I was. I managed to doze off and slept through the flight. We landed and, as we were checking in to the hotel, I had to run outside because I was sick.
“The next morning I woke up feeling absolutely fine. I was able to walk into the nearby town but I had to wear sunglasses as I had a headache. I went back to my hotel room and attempted to eat something. The food didn’t stay down long.
“I slept through until the next day. My head was in so much pain, like nothing I had ever experienced. The hotel doctor came to see me - he thought I had severe dehydration and phoned for a paramedic.
“Whilst I was waiting, I went to the bathroom and saw a rash all over my body. It looked like tiny blood vessels that had been broken. I just thought I had been straining too much whilst being ill. “The paramedic arrived and got me on to a stretcher. Whilst in the ambulance she noticed my rash and blue lighted me to A&E. My vomit was black, and I instantly knew something wasn’t right.
“Whilst in A&E, they put me through multiple MRI and CAT scans. I was in and out of consciousness. They put me under anesthetic to perform multiple lumbar punctures to relieve my brain from swelling further.
“My mum got the next available flight out to Majorca. My dad still hates to talk about this time as my parents were told they’d likely never see me alive again.
“I was in Palma hospital for several weeks. The staff were simply magnificent, I’ve never experienced anything like it. To this day I am so grateful for the paramedic for noticing my rash. I’m also so grateful I didn’t lose any limbs or have a much worse outcome.
“Once returning to the UK, the Spanish health authority phoned to check that I had got home and told me that I should hear from my GP soon. Palma hospital also left a set of instructions on what care I should be receive after such a brutal experience.
“Two weeks went by and I still hadn’t heard from my GP so I phoned up for an appointment. In that appointment the doctor told me that meningitis is only contractable through kissing. I found that very alarming. He also said that he couldn’t translate my Spanish hospital notes.
“Several months went by, I had no follow-up or information from the GP. I was struggling at school due to severe fatigue. My head teacher suggested I drop some GCSE options and go to school on a part-time basis. I wasn’t able to do much apart from sleep.
“I have had severe fatigue ever since I contracted meningitis in 2009, and not once did I receive any follow-up from my GP.
“With so many unexplained symptoms over the years, I plucked up the courage to pay for a private medical appointment, and was instantly diagnosed with ME. If the doctors had followed up with me after my meningitis experience, I wouldn’t have pushed myself for so long. If I had rested and recovered properly, I could be living a much healthier lifestyle right now.
“It has been twelve years since I got meningitis, and it took ten years to have my ME diagnosed. My one message to people is please, if you’re struggling with severe fatigue six months after meningitis contact your doctor as it isn’t normal at all!”