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Nicola G’s story

6th July 2017

Nicola, from Romford in Essex, had an excruciating headache that nothing would touch and knew something was seriously wrong. An ambulance was called and hospital doctors swiftly diagnosed viral meningitis. The 33-year-old mum tells her story here

Nicola G’s story

“I woke up on Mothers’ Day with a terrible headache, thinking it was the start of a migraine.

But this was different, the pain wouldn't go, no matter the pain relief I took!

“I tried to play it down as my children Ellie and Riley were trying to spoil me as it was Mothers’ Day but I just couldn't move from my bed. I went to bed early that night and woke at 5am with the worst pain I have ever felt in my head. I instantly knew something was wrong and my husband Dale called for an ambulance.

“By the time the ambulance had arrived the pain was unbearable. I collapsed in my mum’s arms and then started being violently sick once I came around. My neck was stiff and I had pain going down my back.

Pain was unbearable

“My husband and mum had to carry me to the ambulance with scarves around my eyes as the light was making my eyes hurt and the head pain was so unbearable. Once in hospital I was so dehydrated the doctors had problems getting a drip into me as they couldn’t get a vein. Eventually they did and started treating me for bacterial meningitis.

“The hospital was very quick in sending me for a CT scan. They treated me with antibiotics and also sent me for eye scans and blood cultures. We soon knew it wasn't bacterial but strongly suspected viral meningitis.

Pointing to viral meningitis

“By then I was so poorly the doctors said they didn't want to put me through a lumbar puncture as there was no cure for viral meningitis and they could tell from some of my results that everything was pointing to it being viral meningitis.

“I was in hospital for a week. I have never been so ill! It took me a good six months before I started to feel fully well again, still suffering from neck aches. It was the most frightening experience. The only thing I didn't have was the rash, which I knew would have meant bacterial meningitis.

Wonderful care and support

“I feel so lucky to have had such wonderful care from the nurses and doctors at the hospital and my family and friends were amazing with their love and support. Always go with your gut instinct. For me, I know the signs of meningitis so I had a feeling I knew what was happening but if you don't, please familiarise yourself with the symptoms because this can happen to anyone. Know the signs; it could save yours or a loved one’s life!

“Having meningitis has made me realise how lucky I am as it could have been so much worse. My husband had to take over my role for a good month while I recovered and it has made him appreciate me and everything I do for him and our children.”