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Apryl-Louise’s story

8th April 2016

Apryl-Louise Middleton, of Gloucester, was celebrating Halloween with friends when she first noticed onset symptoms of meningitis

Apryl-Louise’s story

Her symptoms quickly became worse and she left her friends to continue their festivities while she tried to sleep, hoping she would feel better the following day.

When she woke up the following morning her condition had deteriorated further and she called for her sister to help. She tells her story here.

“On the 31 October 2014, it was Halloween and I had woken up in the morning with no voice but I could eat and drink normally so I didn't think anything of it. October is cough and cold season so I thought I was just coming down with a cold as I had been feeling a little under the weather.

“I spent the day with my twin sister and two little nieces. I was out with friends in the evening and I began to feel really tired and unwell and the remains of my voice went completely.

“I went home early, leaving my friends to enjoy Halloween.

“Once I arrived home I felt awful and my head began to hurt. I was burning up so I took two paracetamol and went to bed to sleep off my bad head.

The worst pain I have ever felt

“I drifted off to sleep but was awoken in the early hours in severe pain. My body felt cold - my hands and feet especially - but I had been sweating and my hair was damp. My headache was increasingly getting worse but I managed to take some stronger pain killers. I thought I had a migraine as I do suffer with them so I went back to bed, but I couldn't settle as I was in so much pain.

“I woke up again after 8am on the Sunday morning and I was in the worst pain I have ever felt. I sleep with my mobile phone under my pillow and I phoned my twin sister, but when she answered my call I had no voice to speak to her with.

“My sister imminently drove around to my home and let herself in as she has a spare set of keys. She telephoned 111 to report my symptoms and they informed her that a call back would be arranged for 20 minutes time.

My symptoms got considerably worse

“Unfortunately the 111 service didn't phone back until an hour and a half later. During this time my headache was very severe and I couldn't move due to the pain. Once the 111 service called back and my sister reported my symptoms we were advised to visit the out-of-hours GP at our local hospital.

“My sister got me into her car and drove me to the hospital. There was another hour and half wait before I saw the doctor, after which I was taken straight to the A&E department.

“During these hours my symptoms had gotten considerably worse and I was in such pain that I lost consciousness. I felt so cold but I was sweating, my left eye had closed due to my headache and my whole body ached all over.

“I was pale, my face was swollen and I couldn't speak because I had no voice. The A&E doctor took a sample of my blood and administered fluids. I couldn't take opening my eyes to look at lights and I was crying with pain.

“The doctor tried to look into my left eye with a small eye torch but my eye bounced around like a ping-pong ball. The doctor tried to move my neck and it was impossible, it was also impossible to move the rest of my body. I had hardly any reflexes and my limbs were so stiff. I was confused and vomiting.

I live with the after-effects of meningitis every day

“I was taken for a CT scan and when I was brought back to the A&E department I was told I had bacteria in my blood. I was examined for a rash, but no rash was found.

“The doctor told me I had bacterial meningitis and I was admitted as an in-patient and treated with IV antibiotics, followed by a lumbar puncture.

“I was in hospital for a total of 11 days and I was informed by the doctors I was very lucky not to have developed septicaemia.

“Since being discharged from hospital I haven't been able to walk unaided. I have also suffered hearing loss and have problems with my memory and retaining information. I have suffered flash backs and live with the after-effects of meningitis every day.

“I have found Meningitis Now so helpful with regards to accessing different services and pieces of information and have really enjoyed raising money for them by taking in part in events.”