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meningitis & septicaemia can kill in hours!

People who are faced with meningitis and septicaemia have to act fast to help save a life.

Fiona Yelland

Bacterial Meningitis at 15

Bacterial Meningitis

I have never exactly been a fan of hospitals - being in one could hardly be seen as a status symbol to flaunt in front of your friends. And yet, you always hear people’s tedious stories, when they tell you with a sort of glowing pride that they were in A&E for a whole 2 hours yesterday. I must say that I quite enjoyed being the one that could say ‘I’ve never been in hospital’.

For me this story starts on October 5th 2011, even though technically it started the day before. Unfortunately that day for me is a blur. October 5th is another story.

It wasn’t your usual early start. First off, I knew something was wrong. It wasn’t until later that I realised that when I woke up, I was not breathing - or at least not by myself. To have it explained to you that you’re in an intensive care unit because you almost died is not something you ever expect to hear. And to start the day by being taken off life support is hardly routine.But I was alive - I could process thoughts, I could talk, I recognised my mum and I knew my own name - just some of the things that nobody had expected. But still we were all wracked with confusion.

I had fainted at school. People faint all the time at school! But I was rushed to the Edinburgh Royal Infirmary and deteriorated quickly. Though it’s scary to lose a day of your life, I’m glad I don’t remember it. I would have to remember the pain of the lumbar puncture, and the screaming fits I had when I couldn’t recognise anyone in the room, including my parents.

Despite this, I made one of the quickest recoveries that I've heard of. Though I still had problems - headaches, nausea - I was able to walk, talk, and recognise everyone. I kept waiting for the moment that I would realise I'd forgotten how to do something- but that still hasn't happened!

I was then shifted out of intensive care, and into a regular ward. I recuperated over the rest of the week, and slowly felt entirely better! The fact that I had no side affects was a miracle.

However, I was not diagnosed until a week after my original admittance to hospital. They finally tracked it down to bacteria in a tooth, and linked this with the bacteria which had been present in my lumbar puncture. Of course, they'd never thought of meningitis, as I hadn't presented any of the 'normal' symptoms - rash, headache... So I guess that this proves that you can't always even rely on symptoms to tell you it's meningitis. I was incredibly lucky, and I know others aren't. This is why, since my recovery, I have worked hard to raise money for research projects for meningitis. I am determined to make the most of my life, especially seeing as I am entirely better.

And yes, getting meningitis through a tooth is unusual. It was a bit of an anomaly. But it does happen.
I just had luck, and people's prayers on my side.

FIONA YELLAND
NOVEMBER 2012

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