Brachann's story

11th November 2014

Brachann Davies, from Cardiff, was at university when she started to experience flu-like symptoms such as aches and pains, an excruciating headache and sensitivity to light. After a few days and no sign of improvement, her worried parents took her to see her GP who immediately referred her to hospital

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Worried parents

I went for a run on the Tuesday, and that night I started to ache and I couldn't get warm for at least an hour and a half, even being under my quilt.  I just thought the reason for feeling achy was from my run as I hadn't exercised in a while.

The next morning when I woke up I still ached. My hands were also aching but I thought nothing of it, but when I got up I felt a bit sick and then fainted twice. I went back to bed thinking I just needed to rest.

Excruciating headache

By Wednesday night I felt a bit better, and I went to the shop to get some water thinking I was on the mend. That night I went to bed early as I could feel a headache coming on and thinking it would be gone by the morning. I was wrong.

It turned out to be the most painful headache I have ever experienced.  It felt like my whole brain and skull was hurting and thumping. I had trouble sleeping. In the middle of the night I woke up feeling sick, and it was only when I put the light on to be sick that I realised the light hurt my eyes. I had to use a dim lamp, but it didn’t stop my head thumping.

Straight to hospital

I woke up Thursday morning with the thumping headache still there. I had a stiff neck and I felt very disorientated. I tried to lie back in bed, but found it hard to sleep due to my headache. I had taken paracetamol but they didn't work.

All this happened whilst I was in my university halls of residence.  On Thursday evening my parents came to pick me up so I could see my GP in the morning.  During the drive home, I found it hard to get into the car due to the aches and pains, which were made worse when the car went over bumps.

That night I took some different pain killers which helped my headache, but not so it cleared.  I was sick again and Friday morning I went to my GP. He was very concerned and referred me to hospital within 30 minutes of seeing me.

Diagnosis confirmed

I went to hospital and had a head scan, chest scans and blood tests, which came back showing high levels of infection. This is when the doctors asked me what had happened during the days leading up to this and I explained.

They told me they would have to do a lumbar puncture, and have the fluid from my spine tested. I was then told I would be staying in overnight. The bacteria were too small to see from the spinal fluid, so the doctors had to grow it to see what it actually was, and it was only a few days later that I was told it was in fact bacterial meningitis.

Back to full strength

Although they had started to treat me from the day I was admitted, I was treated with antibiotics through a drip for seven days after my diagnosis. Luckily, I have made a full recovery, but I am in contact with Meningitis Now after hearing about them in my halls at university, and I know that if I do ever need help, that they will be there to support me.