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Joanne J's story

16th December 2019

Joanne Jeffries from Congleton in Cheshire was glad she called NHS Direct when she did because once they heard her talk they called an ambulance

Joanne J's story

Joanne, then 29, told us what happened when she contracted meningitis in May 2009.

“I was working in a high-stress job and had just returned from holiday when I started feeling ill - headache, sore throat and chills. I remember my boss being quite unsympathetic as I wanted to leave early and there was some complaint about me only just having returned from holiday and I was after time off."

“I left work feeling dreadful and vowed to call the doctor the following morning - went home and was quite grouchy with my partner (now husband) as he was asking me questions and I couldn’t think straight to answer. He went to bed thinking I was mad at him and I started feeling really, really weird. Something told me to call NHS Direct and I’m glad I did as they, on hearing me talk, called an ambulance. I vaguely remember I shouted to my husband I was going to get looked at but neglected to mention I was off in an ambulance!"

Symptoms remained

“At hospital they scanned me almost immediately and the scan showed quite a bit of swelling, they immediately started me on antibiotics. After tests were done, they told me it was meningitis. Luckily it was caught soon and after some time in hospital and almost a month off work I was able to return. Symptoms remained however, which included chronic migraines and memory fog."

“I had another bout of meningitis a number of years later and still feel I suffer the after-effects. However, I’ve changed my lifestyle, moved to a lower stress job and have sought help with the migraines. I’m now on daily medication but I do feel meningitis has changed me a lot as a person."

"Other after-effects include that my memory is still rubbish but I have coping techniques. I have blind spots in my vision that were not there before the meningitis. I am being treated for migraines successfully and now live a relatively normal life!”