Cold and shaking
It was a normal evening and I’d just finished a course with the Prince’s Trust. On the evening of 13th December 2013 we all went out for our end of course celebrations. I was in a great mood and felt really happy as the year had been quite hard in finding jobs and my confidence had suffered. It was just normal really and I didn’t party too hard.
I woke up the next day feeling a bit rough but put it down to drinking a bit and being awake for a long time. I carried on the day just chilling out but in the evening I was shaking quite badly and felt really cold. I woke my mum up and luckily it had stopped. We decided on Sunday morning to go to the walk in centre.
We had to wait a long time and when I was seen by the doctor he put it down to having a viral infection. My mother and I then went home as we felt that maybe it was just that.
Waking up in hospital
For the next three days I don’t know what happened. All I remember was waking up in the intensive care unit at my local hospital. I’d been sedated for three days and, as my parents told me, collapsed on the 15th with bacterial meningitis.
It was very touch and go and as it was on the top of my brain, they were unsure of what life affecting issues I’d have to deal with. I was in shock but happy to see my family on the 18th of December when I woke up in the afternoon. I kept asking if I could go home as I still didn’t understand what was going on.
For the next few days I was slowly learning about what was going on and how serious it was. They found out that it was severe, but treatable, and that I was responding well to the medicine. I received many cards and messages from my friends and that really made me feel so happy. I believe that all the love and kind words did help in a small way.
I was moved to a normal ward after this and it was scary as you see that everyone wants to get out and better. I struck up a friendship with a young guy opposite me and we just talked about life and how precious it is. An old man was next to us in the ward and he had been in hospital for three months, he wasn’t responding well and he had to be taken back down to the intensive care unit. It’s when you see that happen in front of your eyes, you realise that small things do matter.
The best present ever
The nurses and doctors were really helpful and made the most of their help and advice. As I was lying down all day my legs had become very weak, so my first walk was very strange, it felt painful and I was very tired. I kept on trying though and wanted to go home as it was nearly Christmas. Because I kept pushing I was discharged on Christmas Day and it was the best present ever.
I knew it would be a long time before I was back to my old self but at least I could spend the day with my family who were always by my side. I don’t like to ramble and am going to keep it as short as I can. After this, for the next two months I was in recovery. I went from struggling to walk up my staircase to running around in my local park. I changed my diet to a healthier one and have spent time catching up with friends and family. I’m fully fit and the doctor gave me the all clear as my blood platelets were very high due to trauma. I know that some days I will feel down but I just think back and know that I’ve been through a lot.
I would say to people to live and just enjoy every day as much as you can, I’m very lucky and fortunate that I made a full recovery and am back to living life. I am a very healthy person and even when I got this I always cleaned my hands. Definitely research more about meningitis as it can happen to anyone.
People need to know that it can be beaten, although everyone's experience will be different. Always believe and have hope.