Hannah K's story

1st May 2021

Twenty-eight-year-old Hannah, from Lymm in Cheshire, developed a severe headache, dizziness and vertigo as well as sickness, sensitivity to light and neck pain. She was collapsing when walking and could not speak without slurring

Hannah K viral meningitis case study

When she got to hospital a lumbar puncture confirmed she’d contracted viral meningitis. Thankfully she’s making a good recovery, as she tells us here.

“In April 2021, I started with a severe headache, which I just put down to stress, dehydration and being in the sun a lot of the day.

“After not being able to move out of bed for over 48 hours due to the pain of my headache and severe dizziness, which caused a lot of sickness, I felt completely helpless. 

“We called 111, who advised me to go to hospital or a walk-in centre, but due to the sickness and sensitivity to light, I could not get myself down the stairs, dressed or in a car. 

Sounds like meningitis

“I then called my GP, who said it sounds like meningitis and that she would call me an ambulance immediately. I was struggling to walk due to the dizziness and continued to be sick for some hours after attending hospital.

“Once in hospital, I was in trolley triage for eight hours and had a CT head scan, which cleared my brain from a stroke and any blood clots. I finally had some pain relief at 6pm and was then advised that I needed a lumbar puncture due to my inability to walk and because I had never suffered headaches this severe before.

In hospital for seven days

“The lumbar puncture confirmed that I had viral meningitis, so I had to be admitted to a ward. I had to stay in hospital for seven days, have an MRI scan of my brain due to my slurring (which luckily came back okay), and I received some antiviral medication for five days and Oramorph. A neurologist visited me and did lots of tests and told me that I did not need to be on antibiotics as I was not carrying the typical HSV.

“I had a blood test after this, and my CRP was extremely high (inflammation in my blood) and my liver was failing to function properly. Due to this, the doctors sent me for a chest x-ray, which came back normal.

Rest, sleep and pain relief

“After plenty of rest, sleep and pain relief I finally began to get over my symptoms after around 14 days. 

“I am still recovering from my illness now, suffering with brain fog and fatigue, but I’m feeling 95 per cent recovered now. 

“It truly was one of the scariest experiences of my life, and I cannot thank the NHS enough for helping me, particularly through the Covid-19 pandemic, when I couldn’t have any family or friends visit me whilst I was in hospital.

“I am much closer to my friends and family now as it really changed my perspective on life.”

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