Looking back now getting the hospital to acknowledge that there was something wrong and to do more than send me off with painkillers was the easy part. Like so many others, I didn’t know how serious viral meningitis was. I always thought of it as the little brother to the better documented devastating illness bacterial meningitis. How wrong I was.
I was left with a range of symptoms including daily headaches; ranging in intensity; limb pains; blurred vision; dizziness; a cloudy head (I could not process a lot of what was going on around me and found it hard to follow conversation); extreme fatigue; loss of balance; and disturbed sleep.
I was referred to a neurologist, who told me: ‘I’ve never come across this before but I’m sure you will get better … NOT helpful.
This was when I went to Meningitis Now for help, support and guidance – which they gave. I was advised to apply for the new complementary therapy study that Meningitis Now was doing, working with people who have viral meningitis in the last two years and experiencing more than one symptom.
I applied and chose cranial osteopathy. Why not, I thought.
I started my treatment almost on the anniversary of coming down with viral meningitis. The treatment itself is very non-invasive; your body is moved and manipulated in a very slight and gentle way.
I would say that in the first four weeks I could feel slight changes but nothing major, and the process left me very tired for the rest of the day.
Something had changed
Then, after one session, I left steadier on my feet. From the moment I got up I knew that something had changed. After that it just got better and better, my sinuses cleared, the days when I had headaches became less than the days that I didn’t. The intensity of the headaches decreased. Before, when I had one, I would have to sleep – now I function.
I stopped feeling dizzy and my cloudy head disappeared. I found I was able to concentrate on conversations and follow the lessons at college. My relationships with friends and family improved and I was able to complete all of my college work on a weekly basis.
I now hardly ever take painkillers whereas before cranial osteopathy I took them daily.
It’s a shame that the one thing that has helped me is not available on the NHS. It shouldn’t be complementary; it should be necessary.