Forty-year-old Stacy from Crawley in West Sussex fell ill in November 2018. She had a range of flu-like symptoms but when she started falling in and out of consciousness she was rushed straight to hospital. Thankfully Stacy pulled through but the disease still has a big impact on her, as she recounts here
“I’d just turned 40 in the November and fell unwell with what I thought was flu, aching limbs, going cold and hot and the worst headache – I can’t even describe it!
“I put myself to bed and woke with a rash and what my husband described as green vomit. I then fell in and out of consciousness, so my husband filled me in on what happened…
“Arriving in A&E I was taken straight to resus, where doctors thought I’d had a bleed on the brain. I had two CAT scans and an MRI as soon as I was admitted because they were looking for a stroke, but everything came back clear at that point.
Could be meningitis
“After a scan a consultant agreed he thought it could be meningitis and I was taken to intensive care. My blood wasn’t clotting so I was unable to have a lumbar puncture for three days. I was initially treated with antivirals and antibiotics to treat both types of meningitis.
“A lumbar puncture eventually confirmed bacterial meningitis and I was treated immediately. My husband and children were also treated.
“I remember my speech, trying to talk but the words coming out confused like I was drunk! My vision was dark and blurry and the headache for some time afterwards was so intense. I still suffer now with migraines, fatigue and aching limbs.
“If it wasn’t for my husband and the doctors acting as quickly as they did I wouldn’t have been so lucky.
Knew very little
“What concerns me is the doctors admitted they knew very little about meningitis in my age group. They had to look up symptoms and treatment.
“I have spent a further week back in hospital since having meningitis as they thought it had returned, but scans confirmed I had a slight lesion on the brain, possibly from the original meningitis.
“I had SASH at home after leaving hospital. They were amazing, along with both meningitis charities. Just having someone to talk to at Meningitis Now when the doctors didn’t have answers, when I was scared or in pain afterwards was really helpful to me.
“It’s had a huge impact on me. I get scared every time I get a headache or my limbs hurt and, because I was self-employed, I had to have nine months unpaid and I lost my business.”