“I woke up on a Sunday in November 2023 feeling unwell. I had flu-like symptoms, earache and a stiff neck. I went to bed at around 8.30pm still feeling generally ill with sickness and a headache.
“I woke in the night and was sick. I felt very unwell and then collapsed very suddenly into unconsciousness.
"My wife called an ambulance, and I was taken to John Radcliffe Hospital where I was treated with antibiotics.
“I became conscious again two days later - I vaguely recall trying to talk, mostly unsuccessfully.
“After leaving ICU, I was transferred to a specialist infectious diseases unit where I remained for two weeks.
“I was discharged and I spent two weeks at home convalescing. However, I was then readmitted to hospital with similar symptoms.
“I spent a further three nights in hospital under an ENT specialist while they undertook CT and MRI scans, blood tests, hearing tests and a lumbar puncture. The results showed indicators of pneumococcal meningitis.
“Since returning home my mobility, speech, sight, and hearing issues (though not tinnitus) have improved but my balance has continued to be a concern and I sleep quite a bit during the day.
“The strong antibiotics I received at the hospital have substantially changed my sense of taste and smell - everything tastes metallic, and I feel nauseous when eating.
“Unfortunately, I have had to cancel family meet ups and holidays due to ongoing dizziness, and I’m not currently able to drive. My general improvement seems to have plateaued which is the cause of much frustration.
“Bad days tend to follow better ones. I am making myself walk and I practice Pilates most days for 30 mins which seems to help. I have lost 11 kilos - mostly muscle mass - but have begun to regain some of this - about 2 kilos.
“I had a very helpful call with the Meningitis Now Helpline – the nurse that I spoke to was fantastic.”