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Jean-Paul’s story

5th February 2015

In January last year Jean-Paul, 20, of Carmarthenshire, started feeling ill with a blinding headache, this developed into an aversion to bright lights, followed by vomiting and seizures

Jean-Paul’s story

His mother and girlfriend decided it was time to call an ambulance. Jean-Paul takes up the story.

“I went to university in the morning felling unwell. After university I went on to the gym, went for a haircut and then to see a few friends. It was after all this that I started to feel even worse than I had over the previous few months. I struggled to drive to work and sit behind the bar, driving home was a nightmare as it was dark and I couldn’t handle the bright lights.

When I got home, I went straight to bed, couldn’t face any food, and, as the night went on, I called my girlfriend to come down. Then the vomiting started and then the seizures. At this point, I didn’t know what was going on. I didn’t know who my mother and my girlfriend were; this is what they have told me about it."

Decision to call an ambulance

“They both made the decision to phone the ambulance, and when they explained my symptoms one arrived in under five minutes. With me having seizures I didn’t react to the first ambulance crew, so another crew turned up too.

They got me to one of the nearest hospitals, after the one I was meant to go to was full up. I was sent to Prince Phillip Hospital, in Llanelli, which is normally a 20 to 45 minute drive, depending on traffic. I was there in a few minutes and straight into resuscitation.

I was then sent into intensive care and put on a life support machine. When I was taken into hospital I was having multiple organ failure. Even though I was a smoker my lungs were the only ones not failing. During the four days I was on the life support machine, I was put through dialysis. When I was woken up from the coma I was still having the symptoms of meningitis".

Not sure where I was

“They tried to sedate me once again with stronger medicines, but my body was strong enough to fight the meningitis and the sedating medicine and wake up. At this point I was not sure where I was and what had happened. After two weeks of being in hospital I was finally allowed home.

I have an ongoing problem with getting tired, and a problem with one of my legs because of the illness. A family friend told me about Meningitis Now, who have since supported me with counselling. This has helped me deal with the impact the disease has had.”