I contracted meningococcal meningitis in January 2007 and I was 19 and coming to the end of my first year of nurse training at John Moores uni in Liverpool.
feeling fine and went to put flowers on my grandad’s grave (first anniversary) and went to see my other grandad because it was his birthday.
was in a friend’s house and felt cold, couldn’t stop shivering and felt awful. Had to drive home.
whilst travelling home I had to pull over and was vomiting aggressively out of my car and this caused me to wet myself.
arrived home, had shower, told my mum what happened and went to bed.
mum rang me to wake me up to go to uni but I felt too sick. I remember walking to the bathroom and holding onto the wall (like walking like an old woman) every joint hurting, finding it hard to walk and move.
mum came home from work, came into my room to check on me but I was still worn out and felt ill.
got out of bed and went to lie on the couch. Really couldn’t walk and move properly and was cold. Had put housecoat on.
offered something to eat and I couldn't eat it (which is very unusual for me).
remember it was after Waterloo Road
and my mum told me to get to bed. I couldn’t stand up, my legs couldn’t take my weight. My mum rang the out of hours doctor and a nurse was on the phone. I remember my mum saying yes to every question. Putting on the light and I was squinting and it was hurting my eyes, and then they asked if I had a rash. My dad helped me remove my housecoat and I had a rash on my arms. My dad got a glass and pressed it against my skin, the spots did not vanish and I remember thinking "I’m in trouble". The nurse offered me an ambulance but my dad said it will be quicker if they took me themselves.
on the way to the hospital, was throwing up into a bucket.
arrived at A&E. Fast tracked through triage, bp 80/44. Throwing up violently again, a nurse told me to stop forcing it and I shouted at her saying I wasn’t.
Then all I remember was being put into a side room, doctors coming in and out. I was in and out of consciousness. I remember opening my eyes and seeing my dad crying but to this day he doesn't know I saw him. My mum and dad told me that in the early hours of the morning the doctors were saying that I had swelling of the brain, if we do a lumbar puncture this will increase the pressure, it’s up to Beth if she pulls through. If I had gone to bed in my house I would have died.
My parents contacted family members in the early hours of the morning just in case anything happened. I remember feeling cold hands on my face and opening my eyes and it was my grandad crying and I remember saying to him: "what you crying for you soft get?" and I remember other relatives coming into me.
I remember going for a CT scan and trying to stand to move from one bed to another and I couldn’t do it. They had to transfer me using a pat slide. I also remember pleading with a nurse not to insert a catheter. After that they tried to insert an arterial line in my wrist, I just remember screaming and crying and having two student nurses standing over me and trying to calm me down (the arterial line failed) and I always remember the doctor inserting a femoral central line. Again I remember screaming. Then I was transferred to CCU.
I remember the doctor from A&E talking to the doctor from CCU overhead me, saying I might scream I've got a low pain threshold. Then the CCU doctor inserted an arterial line in my wrist.
I remember being in CCU with my parents, relatives and friends coming to see me. I was in CCU for three days. I was then transferred to a normal general ward for seven days. I was so bored on the ward because my head was so sore and my eyes were also sore and sensitive to light. And I did not have good experiences on the ward. (I now know the ward has been shut down).
I have now been left with migraines, a shadow in the centre my right eye (shaped like a fish head), have to wear glasses when I drive, watch telly and when I have a migraine.
I started my second year in uni a month later but two months later I was put back a year due to my illness. I went a little depressed and this affected uni.
I restarted my second year in April 2008 and I have now just recently qualified as an adult nurse in may 2010. =D
I would like to thank my mum and dad for their quick thinking, they saved my life. And I do realise I am so lucky, and the after effects could have been worse, well worse.
I do still get upset about it every now and again, and it still upsets my mum and dad very deeply but, like I said, I am so lucky to be here. My mum and I give money every month and will continue to support the Foundation.