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Kieran C's story

24th January 2017

Nineteen-year-old Kieran, from Glasgow, fell ill with bacterial meningitis seven years ago. Extensive physio helped his recovery but his confidence had taken a knock and he suffered anxiety about returning to school. But he needn’t have worried – everyone was really nice about it. Kieran tells his story here

Kieran C's story

“Well, it all began really quickly and very oddly. All I can remember from the night that I was rushed to hospital was going to bed.

“Suddenly I felt like I was in a dream, (which later turned out to not be a dream and in fact real) but anyway, I remember feeling really confused. I started walking into walls and slouching all around the house. My memory of it was very brief but my mum later told me she thought I was winding her up.

“Believe it or not but I do also remember seeing a very bright light at the top of my stairs. I felt so eager to walk towards the light but I was being dragged back by my mum who was trying to get me dressed. After my mum realised that something was very wrong she phoned the ambulance. They arrived and rushed me to Easterhouse Health Centre, where I remember seeing another really bright circle of light at the top of the stairs.

Woke from a coma

“Suddenly I woke from a three-day coma in a hospital bed, with hundreds of tubes all injected into my body. I later found out that there were roughly 30 doctors surrounding me as I entered the hospital. When I woke I wasn't in any kind of panic. I never once asked what happened to me; it was like my unconscious mind already knew but I couldn't quite put it together.

“During my four weeks stay at the hospital I had lost all sense of my legs. I physically couldn't stand. I trained with a physio for weeks, which helped me gain access to my legs again. I also struggled with breathing. Every day I had to take these breathing exercises, which hurt really badly. I recovered slowly but surely.

Thankfully I recovered fully

“I was told that most survivors of meningitis tend to have their limbs cut off, which preyed on the back of my mind 24/7. I would always think about how I would live if I had no arms or legs. Luckily and thankfully I recovered fully, without any limbs being amputated or any other unfortunate injuries.

“For me the only thing I really lost was confidence. As a result of being absent from school and seeing friends for three to four months, I really started to feel nervous and a lot of anxiety when going back to school. I had missed so much, everyone would be asking so many questions and I just felt I couldn't handle it. It was a scary road to walk down but I did it and got through it.

“Everyone was nice about it because they actually received a letter from my school explaining what happened to me and what happens to meningitis patients. I wasn't aware of this until someone at my school mentioned it. Which of course made me feel terrified, knowing that everyone knew what had happened, I felt like they'd look at me differently and I'd be treated weirdly but no, I wasn't at all treated differently. Of course I struggled at the start to fit in again but I managed it.

Forever grateful

“I know I had the worst type of meningitis and I was so lucky to not have any extreme outcomes; I'll be forever grateful for that. I was just wanted to share my story and hope it can inspire other meningitis survivors to recover their life back. Keep strong and work through it. Meningitis was a terrible experience but it was a huge wake up call for me and made me the person I am today.”