Katy D's story

8th June 2019

Thirty-six-year-old Katy, from Immingham in Lincolnshire, was suffering from severe headaches, but when she found herself unable to speak and with a loss of feeling in her arm her mother took her straight to A and E

Katy D viral meningitis case study

Tests ruled out bacterial meningitis but doctors confirmed viral. Weeks later Katy has made a good recovery but has been left with after-effects, as she relates here.

“After suffering what felt like a clamp round my head when I got up from my chair for about two weeks, I went to the doctors. Everything checked out okay and I was sent home, but I was booked in for a ECG five days later."

“By this time I was getting really bad headaches and started to feel like I was in a bubble. It was like my ears had popped and I was feeling unsteady when walking."

“The ECG was all okay, and although I asked to see a doctor there wasn’t an appointment for another four days."

Feel really weird

“On my way home I called at a supermarket to get some stronger painkillers. Once back in my car I started to feel really weird. I managed to text my mum and she came to meet me."

“By the time she got to me I couldn’t speak and had also lost the use of my right arm. When she realised I couldn’t speak she took me straight to A&E and I was taken straight in to be assessed."

“After about 30 minutes they decided to send me to another hospital where the stroke unit was. Yes, they suspected a stroke, which was quite scary. I was put in an ambulance and blue lighted there straight away."

“By this time I was in absolute agony but as they still weren’t sure what it was I was unable to have any painkillers."

Not a stroke

“When they decided it wasn’t a stroke I was then taken back to the first hospital (after four hours) and admitted."

“I remember being taken for a MRI that night but the pressure in my head was making it hard to lie flat, plus I couldn’t speak to tell anyone this. As I was in pain I was taken to a ward."

“The next day I still couldn’t speak but was starting to get the feeling back in my arm. That afternoon I was taken for another MRI. It seemed to take forever... this too came back as okay."

“So, the next day I was then taken for a lumbar puncture. Nearly straight away the doctor said he was 90% sure it was meningitis. He just needed to wait for the tests to confirm. By this time I was on antibiotics by drip every five hours."

Confirmed it was viral

“After four days there weren’t any test results back which could have suggested bacterial meningitis, so they confirmed it was viral."

“Due to the severe symptoms which I first had I was kept on antibiotics for 14 days. After this they still thought it may have been a stroke, so more bloods were taken and another MRI - this also came back okay. I also had eye tests and was asked to go back in six weeks’ time as the test results weren’t very good."

“So, after 17 days in hospital, I was released. I still suffered painful headaches and had two months off work in total. Six weeks to the day my eyes seemed to be back to normal but now I always wear glasses when driving and working on the computer."

“The nurses were brilliant in the hospital and so was my mum, who stayed with me for the first 48 hours, trying to sleep in a chair!"

“I still get tired quicker than before and suffer with aches in my back due to the lumbar puncture.”

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