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Lauren ML's story

12th June 2023

Lauren, from Kingswinford in the West Midlands, spent eight hours in A&E waiting to be treated for what transpired to be bacterial meningitis. She tells her story here

Lauren M-L's story

“It all started in August ‘22. The day before I realised something was really wrong, I felt quite run down and had a headache.

I put this down to being a bit dehydrated.

“I went about my day as normal. In the evening I went out with some friends, and I started to feel worse. I was boiling to the touch but shivering. I felt so cold, and still had a pounding headache. I called it a night and headed home.

“I woke up the next morning feeling the same but this time I just put it down to having a cold. Again, I went about my day. I visited the hairdresser where I suddenly felt faint. I was given water and a few biscuits and then headed home to rest.


“In the early hours of the next morning, I woke up extremely thirsty. I was constantly throwing up, my skin felt red raw. My body was so hot, but I was shivering. I tried to go back to sleep hoping I’d wake up feeling better. But when I woke up everything went downhill.

“I can only describe my headache as the worst pain I’d felt in my life, like someone was stabbing me in the head over and over. I developed a rash all over my legs and they had started to swell.

“I knew I had to try and get downstairs to take some painkillers, but I couldn’t stand. After struggling for an hour, I finally made it downstairs, having to bum shuffle all the way. I didn’t want to shout for help because my niece was sleeping.

“I finally stood up and stumbled into the living room where I fell onto the sofa. My partner’s parents could see something wasn’t right. They gave me some medication and something to eat and drink. I couldn’t eat very much, but I managed to gain some strength to get back to my mum’s house.


“I crawled up the stairs at my parent’s house and finally made it back into my bed. My parents were at work, so I rang my mum to tell her I didn’t feel well. My partner’s mum was texting and calling me to make sure I was okay. I then fell asleep for four hours.

“I woke up and my rash had gotten worse, my headache was also worse and I was really struggling to move. I called 111 and they said I needed to make my way to A&E and that I’d be seen straight away. My partner’s mum came to pick me up.

“When we got to the hospital, I was rushed to have my blood checked. I was in and out of consciousness and couldn’t hold a conversation. I was struggling to hold my head up. I felt as if I was dying.

Eight hours

“The doctors put me on an A&E ward where I laid for eight hours with no medication other than the painkillers I’d taken that morning. My mum and stepdad left work early to come straight to me.

“The doctors and consultants came in and out constantly. In the early hours of the next morning the doctor asked to feel my stomach. I immediately started screaming in pain as my body was so sore.

“They rushed me into rhesus. I was later told that there were six nurses, two doctors and one consultant in my room. I was on morphine and potassium, and I’d been tilted upside down on the bed. My fingers and toes were going numb.

“I was crying and mumbling, ‘Don’t let me die’. Soon after, I couldn’t speak any more. I couldn’t open my eyes and I stopped responding.


“I remember hearing my mum crying and asking if I was going to be okay. The doctors told her that they were going to do all they could, but that I was very poorly with bacterial meningitis and sepsis.

“I was later rushed into intensive care where I stayed for a week. I couldn’t move, turn over, hold a cup of water or even talk. I just slept.

“I had seven cannulas in my arms and one in my foot. My veins had begun shutting down, which was making it extremely difficult and painful to have the cannulas put in. I had eight bags of fluid flushed through my system.

“My family visited but it just felt like an out of body experience. I was there but I couldn’t respond.

Lost a stone

“Eventually I started to get better. I started talking again, then I could hold a cup, and finally I started to be able to move on my own. Eventually, I could sit up and wash myself without assistance. But I still wasn’t eating - I’d lost a stone in only four days.

“After a week in intensive care, I begged my mum to ask the doctors to let me try and walk a little. I took 20 steps from my bed to the door, and it totally wiped me out.

“The next day I was moved onto an adult ward, my catheter was taken out and I had a little bit more freedom back. After another couple of days finishing my medication, I was finally allowed to go home.


“I took the next four months off work as I wasn’t able to stand for longer than a few minutes - I had to even sit in the shower as I was so weak.

“Now, almost eight months on, I finally feel better!

“I’ve been putting videos on social media about my experience. Each video has a list of signs and symptoms of meningitis to look out for, so I’m really pleased about that.

“It’s been lovely to bring awareness to something so important and this is just the start.


"In August, to mark the year anniversary of having meningitis and sepsis, I will be running 10k. One year ago I couldn’t even take 20 steps and now I’ll be running 10k!

“Not everyone who has suffered from these infections has been so lucky to get this opportunity.

“I’m not just running for me, but for all the people who don’t get the opportunity to take steps again at all. It will be for anyone that has been affected.

“I will run for you! I will be your voice.”