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Sheridan L's story

3rd February 2018

Fifty-nine-year-old fitness instructor Sheridan, from Kempston in Bedfordshire, became ill in December 2016 following a chest infection

Sheridan L's story

She had no other symptoms prior to collapsing at home and being rushed by ambulance to hospital. She tells her story here.

“On Sunday 18 December I had taught my normal classes at our local fitness club, where I am a fitness instructor. I taught circuits followed by Pilates. I then met a friend for coffee and to do some food shopping. I drove home and put the shopping away. After that I cannot remember anything until I woke up in hospital five days later.

“I was home alone. My daughter Amber was working in South Korea and my husband Carl was visiting his sick, elderly mother in Birmingham.

“I always rang my husband every morning at 8am while he was at his mother's home. I had not rung that morning. I had not turned up to work either.

No one answered

“Carl asked a friend to pop round to our house to check on me. He saw a light on in the bathroom and our car on the drive. No-one answered the door. My husband rang my eldest sister Carol who told him to phone the police, who broke into our house, using our neighbour’s ladder and found me in a coma in bed. Consequently the ambulance was called.

“I had a lumbar puncture and CT scan, still being in a coma.

“I was in hospital for 11 nights. I am so very lucky to be here. Thanks to my husband and his sixth sense I pulled through.

Never work or drive again

“I was left with terrible pain in my chest and upper back and the sight in my left eye was disorientated with double vision. I had no follow-up appointment at our local hospital and felt I had no support.

“I attended an opticians as soon as I could, who referred me to our local eye hospital. After various tests I was in a place where I thought I would never work or drive again - very scary. I had no idea when the pain in my back would stop. I could not walk for long as the pain was so excruciating in my back and chest. I did not know if and when my eye would ever go back to normal vision.

“I was frustrated. I went to see a neurologist privately. I had my answers. The back pain was nerve pain. Apparently, I could have a prism fitted for my glasses to enable my left eye to see better.

Pushed myself to do things

“I pushed myself to do things with difficulty. Being such an active person it was difficult to be so inactive.

“After 18 weeks I went back to work. I could drive again and my eyesight had gone back to normal. My back pain was a little better but still painful. Many thanks to our local eye hospital at Bedford Hospital.

“Thank you so much too to Meningitis Now for listening and giving me support. My acupuncture, very kindly funded by Meningitis Now, is helping my back pain and headaches.

“I never thought I would work again and neither did many other people.

Take nothing for granted

“We never take anything for granted now. Fortunately I have been able to go back to work, albeit downsizing my workload. I do need more help on a day-to-day basis with the knock-on effect of my upper back pain.

“On Christmas Eve 2017 I held a fundraising Fancy Dress circuit class and raised £227.98 for Meningitis Now. Many thanks to my class members for their generosity.

“Many thanks also go to the Accident and Emergency Department at Bedford South Wing hospital for saving my life.

“I hope my story inspires others never to give up hope and to keep yourselves mobile.”