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Denise M's story

15th February 2024

73-year-old Denise initially believed she had COVID-19 or food poisoning, but the GP diagnosed her as having viral meningitis and she was rushed to hospital. Four months later Denise is still recovering from the after-effects of the disease. She recounts her experience here.

Denise M blog frame

“I am grateful to have survived, thanks to the brilliant and dedicated doctors, nurses and my family."

“Assuming COVID or food poisoning, we only called the GP two days after symptoms started. He diagnosed me on the telephone and called an ambulance.

“The doctors in the hospital were extremely concerned about my condition. I was given IV antibiotics and IV antivirals.

“As I previously had spinal fusion surgery, I needed a specialist scan lumbar puncture and so waited four days before I was diagnosed with Herpes 1 Viral and the AB treatment stopped.

Hallucinations through closed eyes

“I remained critically ill with complications, kidney failure, liver failure and chaotic blood readings daily.  24/7 extreme head pain.

“I remained in hospital for another four weeks on IV antivirals. I experienced hallucinations through closed eyelids, hearing loss and extreme sensitivity to noise. I had nausea and retching despite anti-nausea medication, vision disturbances and vertigo with loss of co-ordination in my arms and legs.

“I was sent home with an apparatus to assist walking, toileting and showering.

Battle depression daily 

“However no further advice or expectations, no follow-up appointments, tests or information was given.

“I do not recognise or understand this woman in my body and I battle depression daily. Now to my horror, my hair is falling out in handfuls, I have brain fog and confusion, and I’m stuttering/losing words.

“I’ve requested the GP order in-depth blood tests as I feel faint, dizzy, nauseous, unbalanced with a loss of appetite.

Grateful to have survived

“I’ve been home for ten weeks and due to the care and dedication of my 76-year-old husband I am seemingly making some progress, although overall there has been little to no improvement.

"I cannot walk without my hubby alongside me to help me balance and prevent me from falling. My energy levels have deteriorated but the brain fog is a little better.

“I am grateful to have survived, thanks to the brilliant and dedicated doctors, nurses and my family.

“My daughter gave me the link to Meningitis Now’s website and I’m hoping to gain some confidence and knowledge on this horrific event.  I am grateful for this wonderful and caring facility.”


If you've experienced viral meningitis, our nurse-led Helpline is here to provide emotional support, answer your questions and explain more about the support that Meningitis Now can provide. Find out more here.