Jo's story

14th March 2018

Jo Haslam from Bury, Lancashire, contracted Meningococcal meningitis in January


Jo, a Curriculum manager in Health & Social Care and Animal Care, shares her story.

I had had cold and flu like symptoms on and off for three weeks prior to admission to hospital. I was generally feeling unwell, but unable to pin point the exact symptoms. I woke on 7th January with a severe ache in my lower back, a fever, and a headache that wouldn't go with tablets.

I rang 111 and talked through my symptoms (and pre-existing chronic medical issues), and they said they would dispatch an ambulance – but there was a four to six hour wait. 

Eventually an out of hours nurse contacted me and asked me to make my way to the out of hours doctor at the local hospital. By this time I was feeling very unwell, unable to stand bright lights and struggling to sit upright. The receptionist allowed me to lie down whilst waiting to see the doctor.

My temperature had soared to 39.2 and I had problems with unstable blood pressure. The doctor was very worried and contacted the A&E majors department to get me admitted. They started testing me for sepsis and took various blood tests. One of the cultures came back positive for meningitis.

What I found most scary was that I'd caught this in the first place. Then, there was the added shock of having to speak to Public Health England about who I'd been in contact with - whilst still trying to come to terms with it all. 

I also had an allergic reaction to the original medication, and suffered from anaphylaxis, which was the last straw. I found it very difficult to deal with it all, and didn't realise the severity of it until weeks after.

Luckily I received the correct treatment and am now fully recovered with no after effects to date. I now have a heightened awareness of this disease, and want to help raise awareness so other people don’t have to suffer like I did.

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