Michael B's story

12th June 2019

It was thanks to his persistence that Michael was taken to hospital where he was diagnosed with meningitis after he fell ill in 2015

Michael Bell

Now Michael, from Halifax in West Yorkshire, is undertaking a mammoth 12-day coast-to-coast walk on 1st-13th August to help raise money and awareness for the disease that nearly killed him. Michael tells us his story as part of our Adults get it Too campaign.

“In June 2015, I had recently moved up from St Albans to Yorkshire to move in with my partner. We had recently returned from a holiday and a few days later I felt incredibly unwell. Saturday was a trip to the hospital as I felt very tired and had sensitivity to light. I was sent home with the diagnosis of 'Labyrinthitis' and told to rest."

“Sunday morning came around and I couldn't move, I couldn't see properly and my head was spinning. I had my girlfriend ring for an ambulance and even then I had to convince the woman on the phone to send one to me. Twenty minutes later I was in an ambulance and it was then that everyone seemed to realise it was fairly serious."

“When I arrived at the hospital I was rushed to a ward where I was put on a drip and prepared for numerous tests. I can only just remember the whole ordeal that day, but I'll never forget when I had spinal fluid removed as it was the worst pain I've ever felt in my life."

“I wound up in the infectious diseases ward with a code 'red' so I couldn't leave the room. I had numerous visits from doctors and specialists trying to diagnosis the type of meningitis I had contracted. After bloods/ultrasounds/MRI I was informed that as it was still a possibility of viral OR bacterial meningitis, they had given me a high dose of medication suited for both outcomes when I arrived in hospital -so it was unclear what It was. I was in hospital for a total of 14 days and unfortunately will never know what strain of meningitis I had contracted, as my results were lost in transit from the laboratory in London."

“I still maintain that If I hadn't been so persistent on that Sunday for an ambulance to be sent out I probably wouldn't be here to tell this story. It taught me to listen to my body and ignore the social fear of 'wasting people's time' when you are in dire need."

“Four years on and I can still feel the side effects of my experience. The sporadic lethargy and inability to be as strong/fit as I was still endures to this day, but I am determined to make a full recovery. This is one of the reasons I am challenging myself to do the Wainwright's Coast to Coast walk, to prove to myself and all other Meningitis survivors that with the right determination you can overcome your limits.”

You can support Michael on his epic walk via his Virgin Giving page.

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